[Editor’s Note] Every match, Liam - our young writer - selects a ‘man of the match’ - win, lose or draw. Today his selection is Frederic Guilbert. Thanks Liam.
Three was the magic number at the Etihad as Manchester City beat Aston Villa 3-0 with goals from Raheem Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne and Ilkay Gündogan. The Villa faithful should be proud of their team’s performance against the reigning Premier League champions with the majority of the boys in green and black tirelessly preventing the Citizens from increasing their goal tally as well as creating chances.
Throughout the first 45 minutes Dean Smith’s side remained resolute in their battle against Pep Guardiola’s attack especially Villa’s defence who were consistently tenacious and alert however after a brilliant first half performance, Raheem Sterling put the home side in the lead early in the second. After Tyrone Mings’ unsuccessfully attempted to head the ball away, the ball dropped to the artful attacker who placed the ball through Heaton’s legs and into the goal. David Silva then made it 2-0 19 minutes later after latching onto a powerful low cross before Gündogan’s scissor kick in the 70th minute secured Man City all three points.
Don’t be fooled by the national press, Manchester City didn’t have it all their own way with Villa for the majority of the game defending superbly with England International Tyrone Mings producing a magnificent goal line clearance to prevent the Citizens from increasing their lead. One Villan who performed brilliantly and stopped an inform Sterling from scoring more goals against his side was my Man of the Match Frederic Guilbert.
The Frenchman’s consistent focus and determination to put his body on the line for the Villans was much appreciated by the the clubs’ fans watching all over the world. As well as being defensively solid, Guilbert offers lots offensively with his intricate crosses and lightning speed being sporadically needed across the 90 minutes. To think that he could have played for Villa in the a Championship is unbelievable with the full back clearly demonstrating over the last few games that he belongs in Premier League and not in England’s second division.
As fans of Aston Villa we have been on a roller coaster journey of emotions over the past 12 months with the club sitting in 16th place in the Championship this time last year. To be in the position we are now compared to then is insane and in order to continue to thrive as a football club positivity needs to be the predominant emotion.