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Manchester City see off Aston Villa to keep pressure on title rivals

Manchester City made it six wins from six Premier League games after defeating Aston Villa.
Manchester City made it six wins from six Premier League games after defeating Aston Villa.
Modified 22 Jan 2021

The fluctuating nature of this year's Premier League title race was highlighted when three teams were table-toppers at various points in the last 48 hours. While Manchester United started the week as leaders, Manchester City and Leicester City briefly overtook the Red Devils at the top of the table.

Leicester were top of the table for 24 hours after beating Chelsea on Tuesday before Pep Guardiola’s side took over when they also defeated Aston Villa on Tuesday. Manchester City’s position as league leaders barely lasted two hours as Manchester United reclaimed the top spot after a hard-fought victory over Fulham on Wednesday.

Three weeks ago, almost everyone had ruled Manchester City out of the title race following the team's mixed start to the season. However, the Cityzens have played themselves back into contention in recent weeks.

On Wednesday, they dug deep to record a 2-0 win against Aston Villa, thanks to goals from Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gundogan. The win means that Guardiola’s side are still within touching distance of their title rivals.

They are currently a point behind leaders Manchester United, level on points with Leicester, and four points ahead of defending champions Liverpool. City also have a game in hand. Should they win this fixture, they will move top of the Premier League table.

Manchester City playing like champions

Guardiola’s side has now won each of their last six Premier League games. Unlike the City teams of old, the current side is built on defensive solidity. They are very difficult to break down, culminating in a series of clean sheets. The team also does not rely on a single player for goals. These are signs of potential champions.

“The most important thing to me, rather than the six victories in a row, is we are back since the Newcastle game playing the way we need to play to be champions,” Guardiola said following the win against Aston Villa, as quoted by
“Everyone wants to be champion, but you have to show you deserve it. We controlled many aspects of the game. We had the right tempo and conceded fewer chances. We have to be more clinical in the final third, but we will improve," noted Guardiola.

The Premier League title race is getting keener with each passing week, but Manchester City have proven that they will be in it right till the end.

Published 22 Jan 2021, 17:59 IST
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