First place favorites Manchester City seemingly duffed this weekend when they tied last place Aston Villa.
But the truth is there are a multitude of reasons the Citizens shouldn’t hit the panic button, here are three.
Villa Didn’t Play to Win
It’s been lamented on before for stifling the sport, but Aston Villa did not come into the match at their home stadium looking to be victorious. The fact is they didn’t record one shot on goal. Manchester City out-shot their opponents 8-3 making 28 crosses to Villa’s 9.
Playing against one attacking man in front of ten defenders is difficult for any offense. City only managed three shots on net, but again when the final third is so congested with defenders there isn’t much to work with. There are a variety of reasons for Villa to do this, but one is the most obvious.
Villa’s First Match Under a New Manager
Six days into his new tenure at Aston Villa Remi Garde didn’t have much time to install anything other than a barricade defense.
One telling sign of Remi Garde’s tactics were the fact that he made six substitutions after the first half. It’s evidence that his strategy wasn’t more than fresh legs and stalwart defending.
Garde spoke about his tactics after the match,
“Nobody expected we were going to score two or three goals.”
“The difference between the two teams before was huge and making sure we were well organised defensively was my priority.”
Villa Needed One
Aston Villa has had a season resembling someone falling off of a mountain. Their only win on the season was the first week against Bournemouth and it has only been down hill from there.
Mix the edge that team’s who get kicked around for weeks get along with some stand out performances defensively from goalie Brad Guzan, and you can see how City expecting two or three easy goals added more fuel to the Villa fire.
Not All is Lost
Things as it stands could be worse. The Gunners could’ve taken the top spot rather than tied it if they had managed to beat the Spurs.
As it stands there is no clear front-runner to the EPL and every week is another chance for an upset, which is good news for fans.
It will be interesting to see if Remi Garde mounts any kind of offense against Everton this weekend of if he simply aims for another tie.
Manchester City will certainly have some fire when they face Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool this weekend.