Match Analysis: Aston Villa 0-1 Manchester City

Man City striker Carlos Tevez opens the scoring against Aston Villa on March 4, 2013
© PA Photos
Sports Mole picks the bones out of Manchester City's slender win at Aston Villa.

Manchester City closed the gap to Manchester United back to 12 points thanks to a slender victory at Aston Villa this evening.

Carlos Tevez, who was starting in place of the injured Sergio Aguero, scored the winner just before half time after good work from Edin Dzeko.

Here, Sports Mole goes over a vital win for the champions if they are to have any hope of retaining their title.

Match statistics:

Shots 10
On target 5
Possession 45%
Corners 6
Fouls 10

Shots 20
On target 12
Possession 55%
Corners 5
Fouls 14

Was the result fair?

Just about, yes. Villa began well and managed to restrict City in the opening quarter of the game. However, the visitors came into the game towards the end of the first half and absolutely battered Villa before Tevez's goal. City continued to dominate after the break with Villa ending in the ascendency but they could never breach the City defence.

Villa's performance

They were competent on the ball but Christian Benteke's excellent effort needs more help from behind. The Villa defence is so inexperienced and it was a horrible error from Ciaran Clark that allowed Dzeko to steal the ball and race through on goal before laying in Tevez to finish.

City's performance

Roberto Mancini's side wouldn't have gone into the match with much enthusiasm and started almost knowing that they were expected to win. It was a sluggish beginning but Dzeko's introduction seemed to give them focus and they moved up through the gears as the first half came to an end, which resulted in the goal. They continued to dominate into the second half but did start to drop and almost succumbed to Villa pressure at the end.

Sports Mole's man of the match

Edin Dzeko: The Bosnian came into the game earlier than expected when Jack Rodwell suffered an injury and he gave City a focal point in attack and was excellent at linking up play. He made the right decision not to shoot and instead feed Tevez for the goal and his decision-making was strong throughout.

Biggest gaffe

Has to go to Clark for his sloppiness on the ball to allow Dzeko to steal it and set up the winner.

Referee performance

Mike Dean controlled the game efficiently and perhaps only made one blunder in not awarding Villa a penalty when Matija Nastisic seemed to obstruct Benteke.

What next?

Villa: Next up for Lambert's side is a trip to fellow strugglers Reading on Saturday afternoon.

City: City, meanwhile, host Championship side Barnsley in an FA Cup quarter-final on Saturday evening.

City's Carlos Tevez celebrates his goal against Aston Villa on March 4, 2013
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