On the same night that Liverpool kept a clean sheet in a 2-0 win at Sheffield United, City fell to defeat for the third time this season at Villa Park.
The scoreboard may have only read 1-0 in favour of Unai Emery’s side, but the stats spoke volumes of their dominance – with 22 shots to City’s two across the 90 minutes.
That is the joint-most shots a Guardiola team has faced, as per Opta – and incredibly, City did not have a shot on target after the 11th minute.
It was Leon Bailey’s deflected strike in the 74th minute that sunk City and had Guardiola saying “the better team won,” and that “better team” have now leapfrogged them into third place.
Liverpool are now four points ahead of City after 15 games and have two more than Villa, and all three clubs sit behind current leaders Arsenal.
Second place and more than a game’s advantage over City is not what Reds would have expected, it is why taking points off them at the Etihad was so crucial.
Nine points dropped across their last four Premier League games is a very rare sight – in fact, the last time was in 2017 – so we’re used to them picking up one win after another – and that will still be the fear.
Luton up next for Guardiola’s side will open the door for a return back to winning ways, but by the time they kick off on Sunday, Liverpool could be seven points ahead after facing Crystal Palace in the early Saturday kickoff.
Arsenal‘s trip to Villa on Saturday will be one to watch, with four points currently separating the two teams in first and third respectively.
It makes the festive fixtures tasty as Liverpool will host the Gunners on December 23, and who knows, maybe we could be fighting for top spot on Christmas!