Manchester City will have to put the champagne back on the ice after Aston Villa’s 3-1 loss to Manchester United on Sunday afternoon.
Despite the loss to Chelsea on Saturday night, the Citizens could have been crowned Premier League champions if Villa had managed to secure an unlikely victory.
It seemed on the cards after Bertrand Traore gave the hosts the advantage at Villa Park with a sensational finish, only for Bruno Fernandes, Mason Greenwood and then Edinson Cavani to get three valuable points for United.
If United can beat Leicester and Liverpool, City will have the chance to win the title against Newcastle United on Friday at St James Park.
While Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will surely feel like the Premier League is doomed, they still have those huge games against teams vying for European glory and can effectively kill the dreams of the Reds’ Champions League with a victory on Thursday. at Old Trafford.
For Villa, the sooner Jack Grealish returns, the better. Without their talismanic captain, the hosts seemed devoid of ideas on offense and it looks like the middle table is a reflection of their second season in the top flight.
It all started so well when Bertrand Traore gave Villa the lead in the first half after a big pressing from John McGinn in United’s half saw a turnover in possession. Douglas Luiz gathered and showed great composure to slide the ball into Traore.
Back to goal, the former Ajax striker managed to get past Victor Lindelof’s weak challenge to shoot an unstoppable finish in the top corner after Dean Henderson’s desperate plunge.
Had the result remained as it is, it would have meant rivals City would have been crowned champions again – much like in 2018, when a loss to West Bromwich Albion at Old Trafford gave Pep Guardiola’s men the title.
Without a doubt, the tide turned when Luiz unnecessarily knocked Paul Pogba into the box, with Fernandes stepping in to score. The Portugal international now has 27 goals for the club in all competitions, the most by a Premier League club midfielder in a single campaign since Frank Lampard for Chelsea in 2009-10.
Villa has looked somewhat on the ropes at this point, with the expanding Red Devils looking to strengthen their advantage.
It came when Mason Greenwood expertly rolled Tyrone Mings and shot past Emiliano Martinez’s dive to the near post to score his 16e Premier League goal for the club.
Now that means he’s the most marked teenager in United’s Premier League history, overtaking Wayne Rooney in the process.
The job was far from over for United, who saw Harry Maguire limp, with Aaron Wan-Bissaka performing a fantastic recovery tackle to deny Ollie Watkins after Keinan Davies disinterested the England forward.
However, the points came when Cavani came off the bench to show his predatory instincts again, nodding past Martinez to score his eighth goal in his last games.
The drama didn’t end there as Dean Smith’s afternoon went from bad to worse when Watkins received a second yellow card for diving after Dean Henderson accused the attacker in the box, but the The referee determined that there was no contact and showed him a second yellow. .
Solskajer will sweat Maguire’s fitness ahead of the games against Leicester and Liverpool, with the United captain playing every minute of the previous 71 Premier League games since his debut in August 2019.
Still, attention will turn to the blue half of the city as they move closer to another title.