City go back to the top
Manchester City returned to the top of the Barclays Premier League with a 1-0 win over a floundering Aston Villa side whose nightmare home form shows no sign of easing.
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 yesterday following their 2-1 win over Liverpool at Old Trafford.
With the pressure on Roberto Mancini's side, Joleon Lescott's 63rd-minute header was enough to see the Eastlands club home, leaving Villa without a home win since November 5.
The first half was instantly forgettable from a Villa perspective as Alex McLeish's side mustered one half-chance, that a looping header from Richard Dunne that was comfortably collected by goalkeeper Joe Hart.
The only time opposite number Shay 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.
City pressure, however, soon began to mount after the break 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 Gareth Barry into the danger area of the six-yard box for Lescott to delightfully hook home.
It was not until late on that Villa livened up, twice coming close to an equaliser in the dying moments.
Initially Carlos Cuellar planted a free header over the bar in meeting a Stiliyan Petrov corner before Hart pulled off a brilliant save to thwart Darren Bent from close range.