By Rhonda Richards | In Match Reports - Home Games
Manchester City moved to the top of the Premier League monetarily as they demolished Aston Villa at the City of Manchester, cruising to a 4-0 win courtesy of a Mario Balotelli hat-trick.
Micah lined up on the right-side of City’s defence, whilst Balotelli led the attack for Roberto Mancini’s men, whilst Villa looked to end a poor run of results which has piled the pressure on manager Gerard Houllier.
The hosts have become accustomed to bright starts and they were quickly out of the blocks again, pushing forward and testing the Villa defence with some probing runs.
And with seven minutes on the clock, Balotelli was brought down by Eric Lichaj and the Italian calmly stepped up to convert the spot-kick and make it 1-0.
Yaya Toure had a shot desperately blocked before City doubled their advantage. Joleon Lescott connected with the corner and, though the effort was cleared by the Villa defenders on the line, the officials judged that the ball had beaten them.
A sickening clash of heads between Micah and Stephen Warnock saw both men writhing in agony, but they recovered in time to see Balotelli grab his second and City’s third.
David Silva’s shot was parried by Brad Friedel and the young striker was on hand to finish, and as the players left the field for half-time Houllier and his staff must have wondered what they could do to arrest the slide.
With ten minutes of the second-half gone, and after City had marshalled their opponents superbly in the opening exchanges, the home side were awarded another penalty.
Adam Johnson was brought down in the box and the ball was handed to Balotelli for him to complete his hat-trick, once again stepping up confidently and sending Friedel the wrong way.
Substitute Fabian Delph fired in one of the few decent shots from the visitors, testing Joe Hart’s palms, and the England stopper had to be in fine form to deny Lichaj minutes later.
City defended in stellar fashion to see out the remainder of the game, securing the three points which sent them above rivals Manchester United at the top of the game.
City: Hart, Richards, Kompany, Lescott, Zabaleta, Vieira, De Jong, Yaya Toure, Adam Johnson, Balotelli, Sliva. Subs: Given, Bridge, Milner, Boateng, Barry, Jo, Tevez
Villa: Friedel, Lichaj, Collins, Cuellar, Warnock, Albrighton, Reo-Coker, Petrov, Downing, Bannan, Agbonlahor. Subs: Guzan, Pires, Delfouneso, Delph, Clark, Hogg, Herd