And then Phil Foden took things into his own hands.

Foden’s hat-trick made the headlines and yet there was more to his sensational performance than that.

Even more impressive than the goals was how Foden worked out Villa’s tactical flaws to solve this match.

By full-time it looked like a simple 4-1 victory for Man City, but this was not routine.

Despite injuries, suspensions, and rested players that left nine of Villa’s first XI missing, the visitors were dangerous on the break thanks to a smart game plan that could have worked for Unai Emery – had it not been for Foden’s brilliance.

Emery’s 4-4-2 involves a clever tweak in midfield
As we might have anticipated, Villa sat deep in a 4-4-2 formation that focused on squeezing space in the middle of the pitch, slowing Man City down and waiting for chances to counter-attack.

But this wasn’t quite as simple as Arsenal’s method three days earlier.

Concerned by how Pep Guardiola’s No 8s tend to dictate things, two Villa players were instructed to drop into the back four whenever the ball was on their side of the pitch.

On Villa’s right, Tim Iroegbunam was told to step back to follow Bernardo Silva and provide support against Jack Grealish.

Guardiola’s use of width causes Villa problems
For the first hour it mostly worked, although Man City still created several good chances because Guardiola had learnt from the Arsenal match.