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James Milner

Sunday October 16, 2011Manchester City 4 - 1 Aston Villa

By Rhonda Richards | In Match Reports - Home Games

Manchester City marched to the top of the Premier League as they cruised to a 4-1 win over Aston Villa.

A cagey opening 10 minutes saw both sides happy to keep hold of possession and bed themselves into the game, with Micah and his fellow defenders keeping a tight backline.

The finest of the early chances fell to Gabriel Agbonlahor who shrugged Joleon Lescott off the ball and raced clear, only for Joe Hart to make a fine save.

To counter, Micah released Yaya Toure down the right and his cutback found Mario Balotelli, and even after a James Milner flick the Italian’s shot still went wide.

A fine tackle by Micah turned defence into attack with City increasingly dominant, and moments later the lively Balotelli worked a yard of space and curled in a shot that forced Shay Given into an excellent parry.

However, the young forward wasn’t going to be denied moments later. A flick on by Micah saw the Italian international aim an overhead kick beyond Given and into the back of the net to make it 1-0 to the hosts.

A Stephen Warnock piledriver was straight down Hart’s throat as Villa tried to find a leveller, though they went in at half-time a goal behind and struggling to work an opening.

If Alex McLeish was hoping for an early break for his side, he was to be sorely disappointed as City doubled their advantage. A slip by Warnock allowed Adam Johnson to fire home first time to make it 2-0 and put daylight between the two teams.

And with the visitors reeling, City added a third as captain Vincent Kompany climbed highest to head home from the corner – originally awarded following another save by Given from Balotelli’s shot – as the home side began to accelerate.

Micah’s afternoon was curtailed as he took a whack to the head and headed straight to the treatment room, and just moments later Villa pulled a goal back.

Warnock it was who grabbed it to make amends for his earlier error, latching on to the loose ball at the far post and blasting home to make it 3-1 and give his side a glimmer of hope.

However, City acted swiftly. Gareth Barry – against the side he formerly captained – it was that charged forward, eventually picking out another former Villa man in the shape of Milner, and the midfielder’s well-placed effort beat Given to restore City’s three-goal advantage and make it 4-1.

David Silva and Kompany both went close as the game threatened to turn into a drubbing, before the final whistle went to signal a happy journey home for the City faithful.

Man City: Hart, Richards, Lescott, Kompany, Clichy, De Jong, Barry, Johnson, Y Toure, Milner, Balotelli. Subs: Pantilimon, K Toure, Kolarov, Hargreaves, Silva, Nasri, Dzeko.

Aston Villa: Given, Hutton, Dunne, Clark, Warnock, Ireland, Petrov, Agbonlahor, Heskey, Bent, Delph. Subs: Guzan, N’Zogbia, Albrighton, Cuellar, Bannan, Weimann, Herd.