City sneak past Villa
City move up to second
By Peter Fraser. Last Updated: 16/09/07 8:07pm
Johnson: City winner
Manchester City moved up to second in the Premier League with a 1-0 win over Aston Villa.
A 48th minute Michael Johnson strike was enough for City manager Sven Goran Eriksson to see his side arrest a run of two straight defeats.
Both sides had found the first half hard going with chances on goal coming at a premium.
Villa fought hard in a frenetic match but were unable to create one real clear chance as City maintained their 100 per cent home record this season.
It was Villa manager Martin O'Neil who saw his side threaten first after six minutes when John Carew got away from Javier Garrido down the right and cut inside, but his shot was blocked by Vedran Corluka.
However, the Croat then went close for City three minutes later when his powerful right-foot shot drifted just wide.
Gareth Barry had started well for Villa and his high hanging cross from the left was fumbled by Kasper Schmeichel, who looked nervy through out, but the chance fell to Olof Mellberg who squandered his effort.
City, though, then began to dominate and Darius Vassell came close with a glancing header from a Martin Petrov free-kick in the 17th minute.
Johnson should have scored for City two minutes later when he charged down a Martin Laursen clearance and was released into the box by Elano, but Scott Carson came out well to block the attack.
Brazil midfielder Elano, who was City's influential force, then cleared the danger at the other end after Carew had headed Barry's corner goalwards.
City then took the lead three minutes after the interval when Johnson and Elano exchanged passes in central midfield before the 19-year-old jinked past Laursen, burst into the box and prodded past Carson while fending off three Villa defenders.
There was a scare within four minutes though as Bouma's left-wing cross was met by Carew ahead of his marker, but he wasted the chance with a disappointing header.
Emile Mpenza then sliced a shot wide after a forward burst by Petrov, but Villa were not out of it and Corluka's alertness prevented a goal at the other end as he slid in to clear with Gabriel Agbonlahor poised.
Sun Jihai came on for Vassell in the 65th minute while a minute later Shaun Maloney replaced Carew for the visitors as the rain began to teem down in trademark Manchester fashion.
Luke Moore had a goal disallowed for pushing with 17 minutes to go as the luck again favoured City.
Martin O'Neill tried a late shake-up with Stiliyan Petrov replacing Nigel Reo-Coker and Craig Gardner coming on for Bouma, while the excellent Elano was replaced by Michael Ball as City looked to hold on.
However, Johnson could have added a second after another break from deep but Gardner blocked his shot.
Substitute Rolando Bianchi almost added a breakaway second but his effort was cleared off the line by Barry as 1-0 proved to be enough for City.
|Manchester City||Team Statistics||Aston Villa|
|0||1st Half Goals||0|
|4||Shots on Target||1|
|5||Shots off Target||9|
Barclays Premier League
|12||West Ham United||34||37|
|16||West Bromwich Albion||33||33|