Player ratings: Aston Villa v City

Given – Needed to be on his toes from the off when a Agbonlahor flick nearly sneaked in. Otherwise the Irishman had surprisingly little to do. 6

Zabaleta – Did an excellent job in keeping Ashley Young quiet. The recalled Argentine international was decent in possession without really threatening the Villa defence. 7

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Verdict: Aston Villa 1 City 1

We feared Villa’s strength at set-pieces, just as we knew the law of ex-players scoring, and so it proved with Richard Dunne bagging the first goal. Yet the character and quality of this City side saw Craig Bellamy crash in an equaliser in a game that bore all the hallmarks of full-blooded English football.

The pace of the game, and energy expended by both sides was typical of how Mark Hughes and Martin O’Neill like to see their sides play. This was never a cagey affair, even if clear cut chances were few and far between.

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