Tim Sherwood's resilient side fought back from 2-0 down to level the scores at the Etihad Stadium but a late Fernandinho goal saw them succumb to a 3-2 defeat.
Brad Guzan 4/10 – Horrendous miskick within the first three minutes of the match to allow Sergio Aguero to open the scoring, while he put himself in a poor position for Fernandinho’s late winner. The calls for Given to start are getting louder.
Leandro Bacuna 7/10 – Excellent going forward again, providing Benteke with a number of prime chances with some fantastic balls from the right flank. Defence seems to be improving too.
Jores Okore 7/10 – Flawless in the air, much like compatriot and former Villa skipper Martin Laursen, while also making a number of crucial clearances. Looked a bit shakier than Clark and Baker at times but Sherwood should feel comfortable with him at the back for the run-in.
Ron Vlaar 7/10 – Had a few struggles dealing with Aguero but that’s not surprising. Was otherwise a strong presence at the heart of the Villa defence and even helped Sanchez make it 2-2 after putting Joe Hart under pressure.
Kieran Richardson 5.5/10 – Has been improving since the QPR horror show but still looks like the defence’s weak link. Main blunder was wimping out of the wall to allow Kolarov’s 66th-minute free-kick to seep through into Guzan’s net. With Cissokho now back in the squad, he might not have his place for much longer.
Carlos Sanchez 6/10 – A tad wasteful in possession, as has been a regular occurrence of late, but shielded the back four well and bagged his first Villa goal in the 85th-minute to level the scores.
Ashley Westwood 6.5/10 – Kept things ticking over in midfielder with his passing and positioning, before being sacrificed for N’Zogbia after going 2-0 down.
Tom Cleverley 7.5/10 – Further underlined his revival under Sherwood, looking excellent on the ball and full of running. Wasted a prime chance in the first-half from Grealish’s pass but made up for it after the break with his first goal since December 2013.
Jack Grealish 7/10 – Another fine performance from the teenage attacker, who troubled the opposition defence throughout with his direct running, passing and movement. Needs to start becoming more selfish, though, and take chances for himself.
Fabian Delph 7/10 – The Villa skipper didn’t have the end product on the evening but it wasn’t through lack of effort, as he was always looking to make things happen in the final third.
Christian Benteke 7/10 – A strong presence up top as usual, posing Eliaquim Mangala and Martin Demichelis some real problems over the course of the 90 minutes. Couldn’t continue his scoring run but should feel aggrieved at being flagged offside in the closing stages when through on goal.
Charles N’Zogbia (Westwood 67) 6/10 – Added a clear attacking spark with his arrival but, in contrast to Grealish, seems to want to do too much himself at times.
Matthew Lowton (Bacuna 86) 6/10 – Replaced Bacuna as Villa looked to hold on to the point.