Aston Villa leapfrog Manchester City in table with huge win


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Aston Villa stunned Manchester City with a fully-deserved 1-0 win on Wednesday thanks to a deflected shot from Leon Bailey, leaving the reigning Premier League champions in an unfamiliar fourth position and six points off the top.

Unai Emery's Villa, enjoying their best season for years, oozed with confidence and dominated the game throughout, leapfrogging City to third in the table.

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After squandering a hatful of chances, Villa's winner came in the 74th minute when Bailey took the ball just past the halfway line, ran at City's defence and unleashed a shot that hit Ruben Dias' foot to beat goalkeeper Ederson.

Minutes later, Douglas Luiz struck the post for the hosts, who could have won by a larger margin in a surprisingly one-sided game, to the noisy delight of the majority at Villa Park.

"It was a great game, great night for the fans, great night for Aston Villa," said Bailey. "To get the win and to be the one that scored the goal is a magnificent feeling."

The result left Pep Guardiola's Manchester City on 30 points after 15 games -- six points behind leaders Arsenal -- and without a win in their last four Premier League matches.

Aston Villa players celebrate after scoring a goal against Manchester City in the the Premier League.
Aston Villa players celebrate after scoring a goal against Manchester City in the the Premier League.
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Aston Villa moved up to third on 32 points, two behind Liverpool and four behind Arsenal, after their 14th consecutive home Premier League victory.

Such was their dominance that Villa's 13 first-half shots were the most ever faced by a Pep Guardiola team in the first half of a match in his 535 games managing in Europe's big five leagues.

With City's usually comfortable defence looking rattled and sloppy, Villa poured forward from the off, Bailey and then Pau Torres forcing Éderson into two early terrific saves.

Ollie Watkins also saw a shot tipped over, while Luiz had a goal disallowed as the ball had just gone out of play, and John McGinn missed when through on goal with only Ederson to beat.

City's best moment came, inevitably, from prolific striker Erling Haaland, but Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martínez was equal to the challenge, producing a fantastic double save to stop his shot then a header seconds after.

"Today Aston Villa played better and we struggled, especially in the first half," acknowledged Guardiola.

"The challenge now is going to Luton and trying to win the game," he added, referring to City's next fixture on Sunday. "As a manager, I have to find the way to lift them again and find the way to win games. Now we're struggling a bit."