Elano drives Villa into the wall

Manchester City 2 Aston Villa 0

Martin O'Neill is never one to panic, but his internal emotions must be in complete turmoil at the moment following another desperate disappointment for Aston Villa at Eastlands last night. Goals in each half from Elano and Shaun Wright-Phillips were more than enough to secure Manchester City's fifth straight home Premier League victory and leave O'Neill fighting his increasing frustrations.

Villa were lacklustre, to say the least, and have almost forgotten what winning feels like. This was their sixth game without such a sensation and O'Neill said: "It can't be nerves because we have never been in this position before. We didn't do well enough in the first half. But it's exciting for the players.

"There are 10 games to go and they haven't been in this situation ever. We need to press on. The players are genuinely excited about it and why not? It's something we should really have a go at. We just need to get out on the field and win some matches. We will be going away for two days and it will be a chance for the players to rest up a bit. We have got tough matches coming up, but if that doesn't excite them then they shouldn't be playing. I'm looking forward to the break from games because we can get ready again and make a charge for it. It would be a shame to give it all up without a fight."

Villa appear to have crashed head first into a brick wall and only time will tell if the injuries currently being inflicted on them prove fatal. O'Neill is desperate for his side to break into the coveted company of the top four teams in the Premier League but on recent evidence there is still much progress to be made. City, so consistently unpredictable, dominated the game from start to finish despite having to cope without the twin threat of Craig Bellamy and Robinho, who were suffering from knee and ankle injuries respectively. Recalled to the starting line-up as a result was Felipe Caicedo, the Ecuador international.

Villa enjoyed a spell of pressure midway through the second half but the fact remains that Shay Given was forced to make one save, albeit a very impressive one to keep out Gareth Barry's dipping volley from Gabriel Agbonlahor's cross in the 71st minute.

Inspired by Elano and Wright-Phillips, the home side took the lead on 24 minutes when the latter was tripped from behind by James Milner. The subsequent penalty was confidently dispatched by Elano.

City's advantage remained until the final minute of normal time when Wright-Phillips made it 2-0 with a calm finish past Brad Friedel, for whom it was difficult not to feel sorry, considering he had been the only Villa player to emerge with any credit from an otherwise muted display from the visitors. This was not the response O'Neill will have been looking for considering Villa's capitulation against Stoke City last weekend when they conceded two goals in the last two minutes and dropped two valuable points.

City, on the other hand, can look forward with confidence to what remains of the campaign if this is anything to go by. This was their ninth victory on home soil and enough to lift them to eighth place in the table.

It was the perfect tonic to the news that Bellamy will be out for at least a month with a knee injury and City manager, Mark Hughes, said: "We were terrific throughout. We started the game well and continued that through to the end. Aston Villa had a brief spell of pressure after half-time but I can only remember Shay having one real genuine save to make."

Goals: Elano pen (24) 1-0; Wright-Phillips (89) 2-0.

Manchester City (4-1-4-1): Given; Zabaleta, Onuoha, Dunne, Bridge; De Jong (Fernandes, 47); Wright-Phillips, Kompany, Elano (Bojinov, 83), Ireland; Caicedo (Evans, 74). Substitutes not used: Hart (gk), Vassell, Garrido, Berti.

Aston Villa (4-4-2): Friedel; Cuellar (Gardner, 88), Knight, Davies (Carew, h-t), L Young; Milner, Petrov, Barry, A Young; Agbonlahor, Heskey. Substitutes not used: Guzan (gk), Harewood, Delfouneso, Reo-Coker, Shorey.

Referee: C Foy (Merseyside).

Booked: Manchester City Caicedo; Aston Villa Milner, Barry.

Man of the match: Wright-Phillips.

Attendance: 40,137.

Life and Style
tech

Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts

News
A Brazilian wandering spider
news

World's most lethal spider found under a bunch of bananas

Life and Style
gaming

I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title

News
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
tech

Company decides to go for simply scary after criticising other sites for 'creepy and targeted' advertising

Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in the win over QPR
footballInternet reacts to miss shocker for Liverpool striker
News
news

Footage shot by a passerby shows moment an ill man was carried out of his burning home

Voices
Sol Campbell near his home in Chelsea
voices
News
i100
News
Kimi the fox cub
newsBurberry under fire from animal rights group - and their star, Kimi
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

Terry Venables column

Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

Michael Calvin's Inside Word

Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past