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Barclays Premier League

Etihad Stadium (ATT 47,019) 15th October 2011 - Kick off 15:00 Ref: A Taylor

Man City Manchester City vs Aston Villa A Villa

Man City 4

M Balotelli (28)
A Johnson (47)
V Kompany (52)
J Milner (71)


A Villa 1

S Warnock (65)

Ruthless City vanquish Villa

Mancini's men back on top with four-star display

By Rob Parrish - Follow me on Twitter @skysportsrobp.   Last Updated: 15/10/11 5:59pm

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Manchester City roared back to the top of the Premier League table as they ended Aston Villa's unbeaten start to the season in emphatic fashion at the Etihad Stadium.

Man of the match: Adam Johnson. Scored one and had a hand in all three of City's other goals as the winger proved a constant menace to the Villa defence. Goal of the match: James Milner's fourth was a sweet curling strike from outside the box which left Shay Given with no chance. The former Villa midfielder then refused to celebrate against his former club. Moment of the match: City had been struggling to find their rhythm in the opening stages of the game, but were kick-started into life by Mario Balotelli's neat overhead kick which opened the scoring. Talking points: Can City maintain their Premier League title charge and get their UEFA Champions League campaign up and running this week? How will Villa respond to their first defeat of the season?

With the Carlos Tevez saga rumbling on in the background, City proved how comfortably they can cope without last season's captain and top scorer, with four different names on target.

City took the lead in the 28th minute when Adam Johnson's corner from the left was inadvertently flicked on by a Villa head, with Micah Richards chesting it down into the path of Mario Balotelli, who executed a neat overhead kick from eight yards out.

Any hopes Villa had of getting back into the game after the break were immediately extinguished when Stephen Warnock's slip saw the excellent Johnson slide the ball beyond Shay Given from the edge of the box.

More weak defending from the visitors allowed Vincent Kompany to head in a third from another Johnson corner in the 52nd minute, before Warnock pulled one back with the home side down to 10 men with Micah Richards being treated for a head injury.

But soon the hosts were back to full strength and three goals to the good again, with Johnson tormenting the visitors before finding Gareth Barry, who set up fellow former Villa man James Milner to curl home a superb effort from 20 yards, although he refused to celebrate out of respect for his old team.

Stern challenges

And while City and Mancini can celebrate being top of the table, they know the days ahead provide stern challenges, with Villarreal in the UEFA Champions League, before the small matter of next weekend's Manchester derby.

Alex McLeish's men, who included former City favourites Richard Dunne, Given and Stephen Ireland in a line-up showing two changes, arrived at the Etihad Stadium without an away win this season but it did not show as they made a confident opening.

Gabriel Agbonlahor robbed Joleon Lescott but failed to make the most of a one-on-one with Joe Hart and Warnock failed with the follow-up as City struggled to settle.

But Balotelli then decided to wake them up, hitting tamely wide before going closer when his 25-yard curler reared up in front of Given and forced the Irishman to turn it behind.

Balotelli's frustrations at his close shave had drawn some considerable goading from the Villa fans housed behind Given's goal, but he was soon able to silence them.

Johnson's 28th-minute corner hit an unsuspecting Richards and fell perfectly for Balotelli, who produced a razor-sharp bicycle kick to leave Given flat-footed and take his tally of goals against Villa to five in three outings.

City were unable to score again before the break but did so two minutes after it when Warnock slipped as he tracked Yaya Toure's pass, leaving Johnson with a one-on-one that he did not waste.


It was Johnson's second goal in as many games and City thought they had a claim for a penalty a minute later when Balotelli took a tumble while navigating traffic in the area.

Referee Anthony Taylor was unmoved, but City were soon able to score a third without any help from the officials as Kompany, making his 100th start for the club, rose to nod in Johnson's corner with 52 minutes gone.

City's afternoon was slightly soured when Richards was forced off with a head injury just after the hour and, while he was doing so, Villa pulled a goal back as Warnock stormed on to Agbonlahor's cross - taking advantage of Richards' absence - to score.

It only provided momentary solace for Villa, though, who fell three behind again with 20 minutes remaining.

Nigel de Jong's long pass played in Johnson and, after some trickery from the winger, the ball was moved on via Barry to Milner who found the top corner from the edge of the box against his former club.

David Silva, on for Toure, then went close after more impressive work from Balotelli, before Owen Hargreaves came on for his first taste of Premier League action since an injury-halted seven minutes for Manchester United last November, immediately launching himself into two tackles as if to prove his fitness.

Manchester CityTeam StatisticsAston Villa
11st Half Goals0
8Shots on Target4
4Shots off Target3
2Blocked Shots3
1Yellow Cards1
0Red Cards0
87.8Passing Success76.5
83.3Tackles Success90
47.4Territorial Advantage52.6
664Total Passes361

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Barclays Premier League

Barclays Premier League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Chelsea 35 83
2 Manchester City 35 70
3 Arsenal 34 70
4 Manchester United 35 65
5 Liverpool 35 61
6 Tottenham Hotspur 35 58
7 Southampton 35 57
8 Swansea City 35 53
9 West Ham United 35 47
10 Stoke City 35 47
11 Everton 35 44
12 Crystal Palace 35 42
13 West Bromwich Albion 35 40
14 Aston Villa 35 35
15 Newcastle United 35 35
16 Leicester City 35 34
17 Hull City 35 34
18 Sunderland 34 33
19 Queens Park Rangers 35 27
20 Burnley 35 26