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Highlights: Manchester City 3-1 Aston Villa

In a week in which the club desperately needed a win on and off the field, Guardiola's men delivered a statement win against Aston Villa and closed the gap at the top of the table.

City started the game at a solid pace with plenty of creativity - a factor that has been absent from the team's post-World Cup campaign. From the first minute, the Etihad Stadium rang out for Pep Guardiola and the club, as fans looked to the team for an appropriate response to the latest controversy.

Jack Grealish's quick corner met Rodri's hard-hitting header for City's first goal of the night. Rodri found space through Villa's defense and moved close to the corner to head it past Emiliano Martinez, who was too overwhelmed to react.
While De Bruyne's cunning move came to nothing, it was important because it showed that De Bruyne appeared to be back to his best. The Belgian has often raised his game in the second half of the season, something that has been evident over the past few years. That means a lot for City's upcoming games in February.

Erling Haaland received a long ball shortly after, forcing Villa's defender and goalkeeper out of position. The Norwegian ignored his shot chances and played the ball to Ilkay Gundogan in the middle. Martinez had committed himself to the City striker, which allowed Gundogan to bury the ball in the net.

The final ten minutes of the game tested City's defense.Ederson made an important save as Aston Villa managed to mount multiple attacks in the short space of time. Rodri and Bernardo Silva joined the back four to stop Villa's attempt to score a second and held their ground until the final whistle.

Guardiola held a fiery press conference on Friday in light of the recent allegations against City. The Catalan will be delighted to see his side deliver on their words with a strong performance on the pitch, offering a glimpse of City's ruthless side.

The defending champions will now prepare to face Arsenal later in the week. City are now just three points behind Arsenal and a win over the league leaders will move them to the top of the table.

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