Aston Villa came from behind to claim a famous 3-2 victory at home to Manchester City on Saturday in the Premier League. The hosts twice trailed but stunned City with second-half goals from Karim El Ahmadi, Leandro Bacuna and Andreas Weimann.
The win was Villa's second in as many weeks, following a 1-0 decision at Norwich City last week. City, meanwhile, squandered the momentum built in last week's 4-1 win over rivals Manchester United in the Manchester derby.
City dominated possession 67 percent to 33 percent and out-shot Villa 21-8. In truth, the visitors should have been out of sight by half-time, but Villa managed to score with three of their four shots on goal, all of which came in the second half.
Yaya Toure put the visitors ahead after a dominant first-half display, finishing from the middle of the box with a low shot from a corner. Villa keeper Brad Guzan will have regrets after letting the shot slip through his legs.
It was City's ninth corner of the opening half, which the visitors dominated thoroughly. But for all that domination, Villa equalized five minutes into the second half, with their first shot on target.
In the 51st minute, Bacuna took possession along the edge of the box on the right side and slipped the ball through to El Ahmadi. Replays showed El Ahmadi to be marginally offside, but the Moroccan held his nerve and finished coolly past Joe Hart at the far post.
Villa's joy lasted only minutes, though, as City retook the lead through Edin Dzeko in the 56th minute. Samir Nasri played in a corner from the left, and Dzeko redirected the ball into the net with his back to give City a 2-1 advantage.
The visitors maintained the pressure, as Alvaro Negredo forced Guzan into a save and Dzeko looped a free header over the bar. But Villa equalized again in the 73rd minute through Bacuna's brilliantly curled free kick.
Two minutes later, Villa took a stunning lead.
There seemed to be no danger when Guzan punted out of his own half, but City's center-backs—Vincent Kompany and Matija Nastasic—allowed the ball to drop. Weimann raced into possession and took a single touch to poke past the onrushing Hart for the winner.
Paul Lambert on Villa's winning goal: "That's brilliant vision from Brad Guzan - that's not a long-ball." #avfc— Mat Kendrick (@MatKendrick) September 28, 2013
City piled on the pressure in the final 15 minutes—plus five minutes of stoppage time—but Villa's defense held firm.
The result lifted Aston Villa into ninth place with nine points through six matches. City fell to fifth with 10 points.
Joe Hart, Manchester City: D
Hart is far from the only Manchester City player who deserves blame. Kompany and Nastasic were also at fault on Weimann's winner, but Hart was beaten by the simplest of touches.
Beyond that crucial incident, Hart was beaten two other times. Villa's first goal owed more than a bit to offside, and the second was a free kick.
Overall, it was a damaging performance for a keeper who has dealt with his share of criticism recently.
Andi Weimann, Aston Villa: B-
Weimann will receive plaudits for his match-winner, but besides the goal, he hardly influenced the match.
Before being substituted in the 80th minute, Weimann recorded just 18 touches—though, admittedly, that had plenty to do with a lack of service.
That said, Weimann needed only one touch to secure a famous win for Villa. In his line of work, that makes him almost worth his weight in gold.
Aston Villa overall: B
This will go down as a memorable win, but it was far from a memorable performance. Simply put, Villa were outplayed. With a better product in the final third, and perhaps a bit more discipline and concentration, City could have been well ahead by half-time.
But they weren't, and Villa deserve credit for staying within touching distance of their more illustrious opponents. This performance was certainly greater than the sum of its parts, and for their hard work, Villa now have a second win over a marquee Premier League opponent this season.
What's more, this was Villa's first league victory at Villa Park this season. Paul Lambert's men have seemed to play better away from home, perhaps due to pressure, but this result will go a long way to fixing that.
Manchester City overall: C
City, meanwhile, have been poor away from home. Despite playing well Saturday, the trend of disappointing results away from the Etihad continued. This match was theirs for the taking. Instead, City let victory slip away and now face a Champions League date with mighty Bayern Munich, in four days' time, without any of the momentum built up over the past week.
At times this season, Manuel Pellegrini's team have played brilliant football. That was the case last week against Manchester United, and for large parts of Saturday's match, City were clearly the better side.
But on this day, City failed to turn their superiority into points. Will that come to haunt them later on in the title race?
"Today we did all we could to win the game, we played well and then in five minutes, we lost it,” Pellegrini told MCFC.co.uk. “It’s incredible the way we lost this game."
Manchester City host Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League group stage on Wednesday. Up next in the Premier League is a home match against Everton next Saturday.
Aston Villa visit Hull next Saturday in the Premier League.
(Statistics via WhoScored)