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    Manchester City’s Premier League title chase takes hit as Aston Villa make statement

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    The Premier League title race is getting another shake up after a late Leon Bailey goal lifted Aston Villa over Manchester City in a 1-0 victory at Villa Park on Wednesday. Improving by the day, Villa dominated the match but it seemed like that they may have ended up settling for a draw as their shots just weren’t hitting the target until Bailey’s excellent solo run led to the eventual winning goal.

    With Aston Villa’s performance, it was clear that Pep Guardiola’s words about the title race before the match struck home. 

    “My feeling today is we’re going to win the Premier League,” Guardiola said during prematch availability. “If we play at the levels that we showed against Liverpool and Tottenham, we’re going to do it again – knowing that it is not easy.”

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    Manchester City were unable to reach those levels in this match as Rodri and Jack Grealish were suspended and Jeremy Doku missed due to injury but even those can’t explain a performance where City only took three shots putting two on target while allowing Aston Villa to rattle off 22 shots. Their rise under Unai Emery has been swift as Villa have been one of the best home teams in the Premier League this season and find themselves in third place as City have now dropped to fourth. 

    Winning all seven of their home matches while scoring 25 goals and only allowing five, Villa Park has certainly become a fortress and this form is temporarily putting Villa into the title race ahead of hosting Arsenal on Saturday. That’s a game that could have quite a few fireworks as now only four points separate them. 

    While City can never be ruled out of the title race, especially with Kevin De Bruyne’s return looming, Guardiola’s men will need to pick up their form sooner than later as they’ve now gone winless in four consecutive matches. The schedule will get a little softer for City in the short term facing Luton Town, Crystal Palace and Brentford, but dropping more points could see the title race turn in Arsenal’s favor while Liverpool are looming waiting to strike if the Gunners drop points.

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