Manchester City produced a triumphant performance in response to the Premier League’s allegations, as they convincingly defeated Aston Villa 3-1, narrowing the gap to Arsenal at the top of the league to just three points.
Rodri, Ilkay Gundogan, and Riyad Mahrez all scored goals in the first half, putting the match beyond doubt and allowing City to bounce back after their loss to Tottenham Hotspur last weekend.
The home crowd at the Etihad Stadium was in a combative mood, expressing their support for club owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan through a series of satirical chants, despite the club being charged with over 100 allegations of financial misconduct.
The players of Manchester City demonstrated that they were unaffected by the ongoing events off the pitch, securing the win before halftime. The team took only four minutes to score the opening goal, with Rodri heading in a corner from Riyad Mahrez.
The lead was further solidified in the 39th minute when Erling Haaland received a pass from Kevin de Bruyne and, despite being forced wide, displayed exceptional vision in setting up Gundogan for a well-placed shot.
Villa’s task became almost impossible when Mahrez successfully converted a penalty in stoppage time of the first half, following a foul on former Villa player Jack Grealish by Jacob Ramsey.
Despite Ollie Watkins scoring his third consecutive league goal to bring Villa closer, and substitute Jhon Duran hitting the post, City never appeared to be in any genuine risk of losing points.
Champions Manchester City have 48 points from 22 games, just three points behind leaders Arsenal who have played one game fewer. The team has the opportunity to move to the top of the league if they win against Arsenal on Wednesday.
Although the performance against Villa was not outstanding, City still managed to get the job done, considering the heavy distraction of the serious allegations against the club, owned by Abu Dhabi.
This result sets the stage for a highly anticipated match against Arsenal on Wednesday. However, the team may have cause for concern, as Haaland had to be substituted at halftime due to an injury.