Joe Hart’s Late Save Keeps City 2pts Ahead of United

Manchester City were 1-0 winners at Villa Park on Sunday to retake top spot over Manchester United to end the Premier League weekend.

The visitors came into this game with just 2 wins in their last 9 games in all competitions and 1 point behind their local rivals who beat Liverpool 2-1 on Saturday.

Joleon Lescott’s goal midway through the second half was the only difference on the scoresheet in a game that Manchester City were in complete control of until the final minutes.

Richard Dunne had been the only Aston Villa player to force saves out of the England number 1 until the 90th minute when a swivelling Darren Bent produced a quick reaction save from Joe Hart. Carlos Cuellar later headed over a golden chance from 6 yards out. All of these efforts from corners.

Joe Hart has been between the sticks every minute for Manchester City in the Premier League this season, conceding just 19 goals in his 25 matches. The one-time Stuart Pearce signing has kept 11 clean sheets in that time and been forced into 71 saves. Of all the goalkeepers to have played in the Premier League this season, only Anders Lindegaard (180) averages more minutes on the pitch between conceding goals.

Manchester City completed twice as many passes as their 15th placed opponents today but never really tested Shay Given in the Aston Villa goal other than Lescott’s effort. Of the 6 attempts Sergio Aguero had on goal, only 2 produced saves from the former City goalkeeper. Both relatively simple.

David Silva was once again the most creative player on the field. The Spaniard created 6 opportunities for team mates, all of which failed to end up in the back of the net.

After this evening’s African Cup of Nations final between Zambia and Ivory Coast, Yaya and Kolo Toure will be on their way back to Manchester.

Manchester City travel to Porto on Thursday for their Europa League encounter before hosting the Portuguese side 6 days later. Roberto Mancini’s side do not have another game domestically until they host Blackburn Rovers on Saturday 25 February.

Statistics provided by Opta Sports