Carlos Tévez scored on the stroke of half-time to move Manchester City FC back to within 12 points of the Premier League summit courtesy of a 1-0 victory at Aston Villa FC.
The visitors were slow to examine the defensive scars incurred by Paul Lambert's team along a sequence of 12 Premier League games without a clean sheet. Indeed, it was the home side who showed early sparkle as Christian Benteke's firm header from Ashley Westwood's corner was blocked on the line.
City's response was swift, however. Spain schemer David Silva skewered the hosts' defence to free Pablo Zabaleta, who slapped a shot against a post. Villa had been warned but they were powerless to take action. Soon after, Edin Džeko, a replacement for the injured Jack Rodwell, pick-pocketed Ciaran Clark and teed up Tévez, who skipped round Brad Guzan and slotted in.
Both teams traded blows after the restart. Gabriel Agbonlahor headed over from Andreas Weimann's delicious cross, before Matthew Lowton flashed a thunderous strike wide. City – who rattled the woodwork again through Yaya Touré – came back stronger and held their nerve to leave Villa third from bottom.
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|Last updated: 14/03/2013 17:36 CET|
|Aston Villa||0-1||Man. City|
|1||Manchester United FC||28||71|
|2||Manchester City FC||28||59|
|3||Tottenham Hotspur FC||28||54|
|8||Swansea City AFC||28||40|
|9||West Bromwich Albion FC||28||40|
|11||Stoke City FC||28||33|
|12||West Ham United FC||28||33|
|13||Norwich City FC||28||32|
|15||Newcastle United FC||28||30|
|17||Wigan Athletic FC||28||24|
|18||Aston Villa FC||28||24|
|20||Queens Park Rangers FC||28||20|