5 Things We Learned From Aston Villa 0 - 0 Manchester City

Remi Wants To Make Villa Sexy

One look at Aston Villa’s teamsheet told you all you need to know about how Remi Garde is going to set up the Midlands outfit. Out went Rudy Gestede and Jordan Ayew was handed the striking berth, while he brought back the more creative influence of Carles Gil

It’s a bold move by the Frenchman but it is one that was fully expected. A disciple of Arsene Wenger, he is going to want to see the ball on the floor more than in the air. It’s an interesting approach to avoiding relegation and one that Roberto Martinez stuck with for many years at Wigan.

It remains to be seen how successful a style this will be, and if Villa can stick to it all season, but there were definite improvements in the quality on the ball and it is a case of how quickly the players can embrace their new manager’s desires. On this evidence they’ve already bought in to Garde’s ethos.


City Suffer From Champions League Hangovers

Now, this may seem a little harsh, they didn’t lose the game after all. However, the north-west club were far from convincing and started the game extremely slowly.

There was just one change from the team that were excellent in victoy over Sevlla in midweek and that showed. The team were lethargic and created very little, a stark contrast to their showing in Spain.

This is not a new thing. After their four Champions League games this term City have registered just one Premier League victory, and that needs to be addressed if they advance deeper into Europe’s top club competition.


Strikerless City Is A Worry

Wilfried Bony was just settling in to his role as Manchester City’s centre-forward. The Ivorian scored again in midweek and was finally looking at home in a sky blue shirt. Then he pulled up and his hamstring looked shot.

With Sergio Aguero already out, losing Bony is not ideal for the two-time champions. The Argentinian is reportedly not far from fitness and the international break could be City’s saviour.

It was interesting that Pellegrini left young Iheanacho on the bench, instead opting to use the likes of De Bruyne and Sterling as makeshift strikers. The Chilean clearly does not trust the teenager to lead the City line for a sustained period and with the injury prone Aguero and a hamstrung Bony, that is a real concern.  


Navas Can Has Finally Found His End Product

The nippy winger has divided opinion up until this season. He appeared to be the ‘typical’ wide man, he had all the ability and the pace but, ultimately his end product was never quite good enough. He was a Spanish Aaron Lennon but with piercing blue eyes.

However, this term the Spaniard has responded to the additions of Sterling and De Bruyne superbly. He offers constant option out wide and his pace on the break, paired with Sterling on the opposing flank, is impossible to shackle. From the moment he came on fro Bony he troubled Jordan Amavi.

It is his delivery that has been the major development in his game. The former Sevilla flyer now looks likely to find a City man every time he ventures down the touchline. He already has two assists to his name this term and that should have been four if Sterling and De Bruyne had not wasted chances. He looked set to be a fringe player but he has given Pellegrini food for thought.


Stong Foundations Can Be Villa’s Catalyst

The former Manchester City man was handed the captain’s armband by former boss Tim Sherwood and that may be a decision that proves fruitful for Villa. The one time England international was superb alongside Ciaran Clark and that should mean that Joleon Lescott has to get used to the bench.

Both centre-halves looked excellent and dealt with everything thrown at them. If Garde can build a strong foundation then it will be much easier for him to implement his positive style and Richards and Clark will be key to that being a success.