On the stroke of half-time, Ruben Dias' magnificent shot was taken away from him as Bernardo Silva produced a goal of the season candidate. Manchester City went into the interval with a two-goal advantage due to two spectacular goals from the two Portugal internationals. Within half-an-hour, City's first-half dominance was rewarded when Raheem Sterling's cut-back found the Portugal defender. After striking it first-time with his left foot, the centre-back saw it nestle in the back of the net beneath Emi Martinez.
Bernardo Silva thundered a shot into the top corner after an excellent counter-attack. It was only the second goal surrendered by Villa under new manager Steven Gerrard, who was looking to maintain his perfect record against the Premier League winners. The Blues' injury troubles were exposed prior to kick-off, as John Stones, Kyle Walker, and Ilkay Gundogan were all out, joining Kevin de Bruyne, who is expected to return following a fight with coronavirus.
Grealish's ability to keep the ball in possession and slow it down was more important to Guardiola, as it took the sting out of any late Villa impetus, ensuring City hung on for another key three points. While he will have many magical moments in a City shirt, he was just a small component of a collective machine that pushed in the same way to overcome pre-match constraints and display the enthusiasm and quality that would be required in the title race.
Pep Guardiola's team had made a fiery start as Steven Gerrard's players stumbled out of the blocks. For the whole of the first half, the hosts' defense battled to contain Raheem Sterling's inventiveness and trickery, as the Englishman, who has improved his form in his past three appearances, was a handful. Dias may not have scored a better goal for City this season, but his first goal cemented supporters' opinion that he is the finest defender in the world. Silva scored a fantastic shot to put the Blues ahead 2-0 after a swift counter-attack.
Guardiola is well aware that there will be many more difficult tests ahead, with Chelsea and Liverpool both scooping up three crucial points away from home on a bountiful night of league football. His players demonstrated once again that they would not be found wanting in effort between now and May.
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