Premier League 2021-22: Manchester City 3-2 Aston Villa: 3 Factors which stood out in the match

Kevin De Bruyne registered an all-important assist
Kevin De Bruyne registered an all-important assist
Subhadeep Roy

Manchester City beat Aston Villa 3-2 in a thrilling finale to the Premier League at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday to win their fourth league title in five years. This is also the eighth time the Sky Blues have been crowned the English champions.

🏆 Your 2021/22 #PL CHAMPIONS: @ManCity 🏆

Aston Villa went up by a couple of goals from Matty Cash and Philippe Coutinho in the 37th and 69th minutes, respectively. However, City bounced back to score three goals in five minutes to secure an incredible win. Ilkay Gundogan scored a brace and Rodri scored the other.

The Cityzens finished with 93 points from 38 matches and remained a point ahead of second-placed Liverpool. Jurgen Klopp’s side beat Wolves 2-1 at Anfield, but it was not enough in the end as Pep Guardiola won his 10th domestic league title as a manager.

On that note, let’s take a look at the three factors which stood out in the match:

#1 Manchester City attacked a lot through the left in the initial phases

Manchester City fans celebrating after their team's win
Manchester City fans celebrating after their team's win

Manchester City started the match with their customary 4-3-3 formation with Phil Foden, Gabriel Jesus, and Riyad Mahrez starting as the front three. City started launching attacks at the Aston Villa goal from the get-go and most of them were through the left flank and inside-left channel for the first 20-25 minutes.

Joao Cancelo, who started as the left-back, kept overlapping tirelessly and also succeeded in sending some crosses from the left. He had a great battle with Cash, Aston Villa’s right-back.

However, Foden and Jesus were not very impressive initially as Manchester City struggled to test Robin Olsen, the Aston Villa goalkeeper. The best chance that the Cityzens had in the first quarter was when the Swedish goalkeeper made a faulty clearance that was blocked by Jesus.

However, the rebound went wide as Aston Villa survived a scare. Manchester City had around 70% ball possession during the initial 20 minutes or so, but could not find the elusive goal.

#2 Aston Villa started launching counter-attacks and scored the opening goal

Phillipe Coutinho in action for Aston Villa
Phillipe Coutinho in action for Aston Villa

For the initial half an hour or so, Aston Villa adopted an ultra-defensive approach. Their only chance came when Coutinho went near a cross from the right flank, but failed to connect with his head. Meanwhile, Manchester City started to attack more through the right flank as the first half progressed.

John Stones, who started as a right-back, started making more overlapping runs and Mahrez also became more active through the inside-right channel. De Bruyne came to his own after an indifferent start and made some marauding runs at the Aston Villa goal with the ball at his feet.

He made one such darting run before playing the ball to Jesus, whose pass found Foden inside the Villa penalty box. However, Foden’s shot missed the goal by a whisker.

Aston Villa came out of their shell after the half-hour mark and launched quite a few counter-attacks. Some of the long balls played to Ollie Watkins had veteran Fernandinho, who started as a centre-back, in trouble as he struggled to deal with the former’s speed.

One such quick counter-attack saw the ball played to the left flank and Lucas Digne sent in a good cross into the Manchester City penalty box. Cash made perfect contact to find the net for the 4th time this season.

Manchester City tried to shrug off the reversal with De Bruyne earning a corner with one of his runs soon after. However, they could not breach Aston Villa’s defense and the first half ended with Villa holding on to a one-goal lead.

#3 Substitutes did the trick for City as they went on to register a memorable win

Ilkay Gundogan proved to be an outstanding substitution in the second half
Ilkay Gundogan proved to be an outstanding substitution in the second half

Guardiola took off Fernandinho and replaced him with Oleksandr Zinchenko at the start of the second half. Stones switched to the centre-back’s position and Cancelo started playing as the right-back.

The Portuguese full-back was once again the primary creative outlet for City in the initial phases of the second half with his overlapping runs.

Guardiola then introduced Raheem Sterling in place of Mahrez. The impact was soon to be felt as Sterling made some runs through the inside-right channel and combined well with Cancelo.

Bernardo Silva, who contributed very little offensively, was also replaced by Gundogan. Meanwhile, Aston Villa kept playing long balls at the Manchester City defense from inside their own half and the latter looked wobbly on almost every such occasion.

One such long ball was met by Watkins with his head and the ball went to Coutinho. The Brazilian forward then dodged past Aymeric Laporte to score with a right-footed shot. City were taken aback, but a dream spell was to start for them soon.

Gundogan kept making his probing runs into the opposition penalty box and succeeded in reducing the deficit from Sterling’s cross from the right. Zinchenko then cut in from the left flank to deliver a pass to Rodri, whose shot from just outside the box beat Olsen at his near post.

City’s title win was sealed moments later when De Bruyne took advantage of a faulty clearance from Tyrone Mings and played a perfect pass to Gundogan inside the Villa penalty box.

The 31-year old German midfielder made no mistake in tapping in to score his 10th goal of the season and thereby, securing yet another league title for the Cityzens.

Premier League Champions 21/22!!! 🏆💙

Where does Mane rank in Paul Merson's 5 greatest Liverpool signings of the Klopp era? Click here

Edited by Akshay Saraswat


Quick Links:

More from Sportskeeda
Fetching more content...