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Robbie Keane concedes a free kick for a foul on Aleksandar Kolarov. Direct free kick taken by Joe Hart.
Richard Dunne concedes a free kick for a foul on Joe Hart. (Aston Villa) makes a substitution, with Nathan Baker coming on for Richard Dunne. Joe Hart restarts play with the free kick.
Micah Richards on for David Silva.
Corner taken by Darren Bent from the right by-line, Darren Bent takes a shot. Save made by Joe Hart.
Nigel De Jong fouled by Charles N'Zogbia, the ref awards a free kick. Charles N'Zogbia receives a caution for unsporting behaviour. Edin Dzeko comes on in place of Sergio Aguero. Joleon Lescott takes the free kick.
Corner from the right by-line taken by Stiliyan Petrov, Carlos Cuellar has a header from inside the six-yard box and clears the crossbar.
Charles N'Zogbia takes a shot. Joleon Lescott gets a block in.
Effort from 25 yards by Gary Gardner. James Milner gets a block in.
Samir Nasri comes on in place of Adam Johnson.
James Milner produces a cross, clearance made by Carlos Cuellar.
Charles N'Zogbia challenges Nigel De Jong unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Joe Hart.
The assistant referee signals for offside against Sergio Aguero. Shay Given takes the indirect free kick.
Outswinging corner taken left-footed by Charles N'Zogbia from the left by-line, Richard Dunne takes a shot. Comfortable save by Joe Hart.
Effort on goal by Stiliyan Petrov from 25 yards. Joleon Lescott gets a block in.
Centre by Gary Gardner, Vincent Kompany manages to make a clearance.
Darren Bent gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Nigel De Jong. Nigel De Jong restarts play with the free kick.
Stephen Ireland is brought on as a substitute for Marc Albrighton.
Adam Johnson concedes a free kick for a foul on Richard Dunne. Direct free kick taken by Richard Dunne.
Effort on goal by Gary Gardner from 18 yards. Save by Joe Hart.
Charles N'Zogbia crosses the ball, clearance by Joleon Lescott.
Nigel De Jong fouled by Charles N'Zogbia, the ref awards a free kick. Joe Hart takes the direct free kick.
Charles N'Zogbia comes on in place of Emile Heskey.
Aleksandar Kolarov produces a cross, clearance made by Carlos Cuellar.
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on James Milner by Richard Dunne. Richard Dunne receives a caution. James Milner takes the direct free kick.
Sergio Aguero has an effort at goal from just inside the box that misses to the left of the target.
Shot from 6 yards from David Silva. Shay Given makes a fantastic save.
Joleon Lescott finds the net with a goal from inside the six-yard box low into the middle of the goal. Aston Villa 0-1 Man City.Gareth Barry provided the assist for the goal.
Inswinging corner taken right-footed by James Milner from the left by-line.
Stiliyan Petrov concedes a free kick for a foul on David Silva. Caution for Stiliyan Petrov. David Silva crosses the ball in from the free kick, James Collins makes a clearance.
Effort from deep inside the area by Aleksandar Kolarov misses to the right of the target.
Nigel De Jong has an effort at goal. James Collins gets a block in.
Corner taken right-footed by James Milner from the left by-line, Carlos Cuellar makes a clearance.
Shot from 20 yards by Pablo Zabaleta. Shay Given makes a comfortable save.
Free kick awarded for a foul by Stiliyan Petrov on Sergio Aguero. Direct free kick taken by Aleksandar Kolarov.
Darren Bent gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Pablo Zabaleta. David Silva delivers the ball, Joleon Lescott produces a headed effort from deep inside the six-yard box which goes wide of the right-hand upright.
Stiliyan Petrov challenges David Silva unfairly and gives away a free kick. Vincent Kompany takes the free kick.
Corner taken right-footed by Stiliyan Petrov, clearance by Gareth Barry.
Vincent Kompany concedes a free kick for a foul on Robbie Keane. Stiliyan Petrov takes the free kick.
James Milner takes the inswinging corner, save by Shay Given.
Corner taken by James Milner, Vincent Kompany takes a shot. Richard Dunne makes a clearance.
The offside flag is raised against Sergio Aguero. Indirect free kick taken by Shay Given.
A cross is delivered by Aleksandar Kolarov, clearance made by Alan Hutton.
Pablo Zabaleta produces a cross, Emile Heskey manages to make a clearance.
Outswinging corner taken by Stiliyan Petrov from the right by-line, Richard Dunne has a header from inside the six-yard box and clears the crossbar.
Carlos Cuellar produces a cross, clearance made by Joleon Lescott.
Effort on goal by Sergio Aguero from just inside the penalty area goes over the target.
Gary Gardner gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Gareth Barry. Aleksandar Kolarov fires a strike on goal direct from the free kick.
Shot by Sergio Aguero. Alan Hutton manages to make a clearance.
The ball is sent over by Aleksandar Kolarov, clearance made by Gary Gardner.
Sergio Aguero produces a right-footed shot from the edge of the box and misses to the right of the goal.
Corner taken right-footed by James Milner, clearance by Stiliyan Petrov.
Aleksandar Kolarov has a drilled shot. Emile Heskey gets a block in.
Effort from outside the box by Adam Johnson hits the post.
James Milner takes a inswinging corner from the left by-line played to the near post.
The ball is crossed by James Milner, Carlos Cuellar gets a block in.
Short corner taken by James Milner from the left by-line.
Centre by Sergio Aguero.
Unfair challenge on Stiliyan Petrov by Gareth Barry results in a free kick. Shay Given restarts play with the free kick.
Foul by Darren Bent on Aleksandar Kolarov, free kick awarded. Joleon Lescott takes the free kick.
Gareth Barry has an effort at goal from 20 yards. Save made by Shay Given.
Foul by Darren Bent on Vincent Kompany, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Joe Hart.
David Silva takes a shot from 18 yards. Shay Given makes a save.
Free kick awarded for a foul by Nigel De Jong on Emile Heskey. Centre by Stiliyan Petrov, Richard Dunne takes a shot. Joe Hart makes a comfortable save.
Emile Heskey challenges Aleksandar Kolarov unfairly and gives away a free kick. Joleon Lescott restarts play with the free kick.
Centre by Robbie Keane, comfortable save by Joe Hart.
Free kick awarded for a foul by Pablo Zabaleta on Marc Albrighton. Free kick taken by Richard Dunne.
The assistant referee flags for offside against Darren Bent. Joleon Lescott takes the free kick.
The ball is swung over by Aleksandar Kolarov, comfortable save by Shay Given.
Shot by Sergio Aguero. Save made by Shay Given.
Dunne defends McLeish
Defender Richard Dunne has pleaded for Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish to be given time to make his mark at the midlands club, insisting: "You can't bring success overnight."
A section of Villa fans are proposing a demonstration against McLeish ahead of Sunday's Barclays Premier League clash with Manchester City.
But statistics show McLeish's record after 23 league games at Villa is better than that of Martin O'Neill, who steered the club to three successive top six-finishes, and Gerard Houllier.
The former Birmingham boss has also had to contend with having limited money at his disposal for new signings and having to reduce the wage bill.
Dunne said: "Alex McLeish is desperate for this club to do well. Realistically for us to be challenging in the top 10 is sensible until the manager can settle the team down and make it grow.
"You can't bring success overnight. You need to give the manager time. He needs enough time to put his stamp on the team and build a squad and team to challenge.
"He's a good man. He's here all day, every day, doing absolutely everything he can to try and get things right.
"He talks to every player and wants their feedback to see what we can do to improve things and make things better. He's the same as the players. He's trying 100 per cent.
"Not everything we do is going to be correct but it's not for the want of trying."
Former City player Dunne insists the players have a healthy respect for McLeish.
He said: "He treats us with great respect and treats men like men. He's also an honest guy.
"If you're doing well you'll get a pat on the back and, if you're not, you'll get told. I think we all need that.
"He's not afraid to stand up and tell people things. It creates men and it makes you want to be stand up and be counted.
"He has a fierce will to win too. He loves winning and hates losing. He has that winning mentality, 100%."
McLeish believes Villa striker Darren Bent will get a fair crack of the whip from Harry Redknapp if he becomes the next England boss.
Bent was offloaded from Tottenham by Redknapp and, after one missed chance by the player, joked that his wife Sandra could have scored it
McLeish said: "I've not spoken to Darren about it. I can understand his concern but Harry will look at all possibilities and see Darren's record is pretty good.
"He may pick Sandra first! Seriously, I think Benty will have as good a chance as anyone if he keeps scoring goals, and he has been scoring recently.
"He missed a few last week but again he was in the right positions. He had three or four shots at goal, a good ratio away from home in one game."
Bent's strike partner, Gabriel Agbonlahor, is likely to be missing against City as he struggles to overcome back and hamstring problems.
McLeish said: "He is still a little bit tight in the hamstring area. We believe it is a nerve touching the disc. We are trying to rectify that.
"We know that Gabby would be very willing to play the game but, when he says that he is struggling a bit, you know that it is a genuine complaint."
City boss Roberto Mancini does not expect the protest by Villa fans to weaken his side's opponents.
Whatever their dissatisfaction, Mancini believes the mood will have changed by kick-off and does not think the Villa players will be unsettled.
When asked if City could capitalise on any uncertainty, Mancini said: "We would hope to but I don't know this.
"It won't change our opinion, it will still be a difficult game.
"They lost their last game against Newcastle and so we will need to play a good game if we want to win against Aston Villa.
"When the game starts their supporters will support their team, always."
Mancini also intends to ignore the performances of City's title rivals to concentrate solely on his own team's displays.
Mancini, who claimed he "didn't see" United's 3-3 draw at Chelsea last week, said: "We can't think about the other teams. We can lose our strength by thinking about the other teams."
City are boosted by the return of captain Vincent Kompany from a knee injury while Samir Nasri is also fit after a groin problem.
Striker Mario Balotelli is again missing as he completes a four-match ban for a stamp on Tottenham's Scott Parker.
Mancini expects to have midfield inspiration Yaya Toure and his brother Kolo, the defender, back from the African Nations Cup for next Thursday's Europa League trip to Porto.
City move back to summit
Manchester City returned to the top of the Barclays Premier League with a rare away win of late, beating a floundering Aston Villa side 1-0.
City went into the match at Villa Park on the back of just one win in their previous six matches on the road, and after seeing rivals United depose them at the summit with their 2-1 win over Liverpool at Old Trafford.
With the pressure on Roberto Mancini's side, Joleon Lescott's 63rd-minute hook shot was enough to see the Eastlands club home, leaving Villa without a home win since November 5.
That is a run of five defeats and two draws, the kind of form that will have Villa nervously looking over their shoulders at the seven-point gap to the relegation zone.
It also further increases the pressure on manager Alex McLeish, who was the subject of a planned protest before kick-off.
It was a low-key affair attended by around 100 or so fans, with more looking on, mainly with amusement.
There were a few banners such as 'Had Your Chance McLeish Out' and a few chants along the lines of 'You'll be sacked in the morning'.
The first half was instantly forgettable from a Villa perspective as McLeish's side mustered one half chance, that a looping header from Richard Dunne in meeting a Stiliyan Petrov free-kick that was comfortably collected by goalkeeper Joe Hart.
Opposite number Shay Given was by far the busier, but even then he was barely extended to any great degree, despite City's dominance.
Appreciably, where Villa did shine was in defence, with central pairing James Collins and Dunne particularly solid in meeting head on the attacking firepower City possess, notably via Sergio Aguero and David Silva.
As early as the third minute the duo signalled their intent, with Silva knocking a tame Collins clearance into the path of Aguero for an edge-of-the-area shot collected by Given at the second attempt.
fGiven followed that up with a stop from former Villa star Gareth Barry whose shot took a slight deflection off Silva, but was not enough to send him in the wrong direction.
The only time Given was beaten in the first half was when Adam Johnson cracked in a low left-foot shot that ricocheted out of play off the left-hand post.
It proved to be the highlight of a relatively insipid half as Villa lacked any creative spark, and whilst City obviously had the edge, it was not as cutting as has previously proven to be.
Whatever McLeish's words at half-time, they inspired, but all too briefly.
Although Villa enjoyed more sustained possession for the opening few minutes than at any time in the first period, they failed to do anything with it.
Instead, it was City who again carved out the first chance of the period, with Silva teeing up Pablo Zabaleta for a rocket of an angled shot from 16 yards, but again with Given firmly behind the ball.
Pressure, however, soon began to mount and it finally told in the 63rd minute, with centre-back Lescott scoring his third goal of the season.
It was a goal created in claret and blue as James Milner's inswinging corner to the far post was met by a knock back from Barry into the danger area of the six-yard box for Lescott to delightfully hook home.
It was not until a male streaker appeared in the 75th minute that Villa livened up, twice coming close to an equaliser in the dying moments.
Initially Carlos Cuellaer planted a free header over the bar in meeting a Petrov corner before Hart pulled off a brilliant save to thwart Darren Bent from close range.
But it was too little too late from a Villa perspective as City ultimately returned to winning ways on the road.
"Who will win the PL title this season - 2013/14?"
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