Aston Villa 1 Manchester City 1

Last updated : 22 December 2007 By Footymad Previewer
Manchester City maintained their impressive record against Aston Villa with their sixth draw in their last 12 games at Villa Park.

But they were fortunate not to suffer only their second defeat in those 12 visits as they were saved by the woodwork when big John Carew smashed a blockbuster of a shot against the post.

City, winners of their last nine home games, were given a great start with Rolando Bianchi scoring after only 11 minutes and appeared to be on course for a long overdue away success.

But they were forced to share the spoils when Carew notched his first-half equaliser in a very open game which gave Villa hope of regaining their winning form.

In the end a draw, the first at Villa Park this season, was a fitting result although Aston Villa were disappointed that they had been unable to carve out their first win in four matches.

It is, however, Manchester City's away form which continues to frustrate everyone. After winning at West Ham on the opening day of the season they have failed to pick up maximum points from any of their subsequent away games.

There was certainly plenty of optimism when Bianchi notched his fifth goal of the season in only the eleventh minute.

It was the fourth successive home game in which Villa found themselves in this position and for a spell it appeared as if City would take the Midlands club to the cleaners.

There was a lot of space on City's left which was exploited by Martin Petrov and Elano. It was therefore hardly a surprise when City prised open Villa's defence with a swiftly executed move.

Elano found Petrov on the left and his low cross was turned into the net from close range by Bianchi when the Italian watched his shot slip under the body of Scott Carson.

To their credit Villa bounced back in commendable style with Ashley Young, operating on the right, tormented the City defence with his silky skill.

But it was the direct play which paid off for Villa with Carew, in particular, showing the kind of determination on the ball which has surprisingly been lacking for a long time.

The result was a fine solo goal for Villa's equaliser. Although Richard Dunne was in attendance along with three other City defenders, the Villa striker bore down to score his fourth goal of the season with a low angled shot.

Carew certainly enjoyed the freedom accorded him by City's slack defence and brought the crowd to its feet with another shot on the run which hammered against the post.

Only a goal-line clearance by Elano prevented Gabby Agbonlahor getting on the scoresheet in the first half but this proved to be the last real goal opportunity.

The second half fell below the standard of the first period with neither goalkeeper put under any real pressure.