The sheer brilliance of the goal prompted Pep Guardiola to burst out laughing.
And you know it must be something really special to provoke that sort of reaction from the Manchester City boss.
Bernardo Silva’s breakaway goal was magnificent, it was breathtaking and it sent out a clear message of intent from the reigning champions.
It is hard to imagine you will see a better goal from City this season, Silva is in the form of his life and, at times, their football was just a joy to watch.
Silva’s goal overshadowed Jack Grealish’s return to Villa Park and he has kept City’s £100m record signing in the shade for much of this season.
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Grealish was only a late substitute, his introduction was met with more boos than cheers and yet he showed real class after the final whistle by walking round the pitch to clap the fans who then appreciated the gesture.
Villa fans appear to have moved on and their new boss Steven Gerrard did suffer his first defeat since taking charge but will take a lot from his team’s gutsy performance.
Ollie Watkins hauled Villa back into the contest at the start of the second half, they refused to give up and substitute Carney Chukwuemeka nearly grabbed a late equaliser but City keeper Ederson denied him with a super save.
Watkins was superb, took the charge to City and the visitors’ reaction at the final whistle told its own story as they celebrated with a mix of relief and jubilation.
It was a precious, important win to keep City second, a point behind leaders Chelsea and they will not face many more difficult away trips while Villa will be grateful they do not have to face Guardiola’s men every week.
City toyed with Villa early on and they deserved their lead when Ruben Dias put them after 27th minute. Raheem Sterling broke down the left, pulled back a low cross to Dias and his shot took a deflection off Leon Bailey which took the ball past Martinez.
Bailey’s night got worse as he limped off soon afterwards and was replaced by Ashley Young. And then it got even worse for Villa.
Silva’s goal deserves to be shown over and over again as a wonderful example of the genius of Guardiola. One moment Riyad Mahrez was playing head tennis with Fernandinho on the edge of his own box, the next they were breaking forward at lightning speed.
Fernandino’s pass released Gabriel Jesus down the right wing and you could see Silva racing forward on the opposite side. Silva did not break stride, he met Jesus’s inch perfect cross clean on the volley and it flew into the net.
It looked ominous for Villa. Better teams have buckled. But they came back barely and Watkins scored two minutes after the restart as he fired home Douglas Luiz’s corner at the near post.
It was a more even contest in the second half, Villa pushed and Chukwuemeka went close while Grealish’s late introduction was the sideshow. Ultimately, City deserved to hang on… but only just.Internet Explorer Channel Network