DAILY MAIL 🔵 THE NOTEBOOK: Rodri has best ever tally and no banner-gate repeat – Shango Media

DAILY MAIL 🔵 THE NOTEBOOK: Rodri has best ever tally and no banner-gate repeat

  • Manchester City kept up the pressure on title rivals Arsenal and Liverpool
  • Phil Foden struck a stunning hat-trick in commanding win over Aston Villa
  • Have a day off, Pep! Guardiola’s lecture to Grealish on the Etihad pitch was unnecessary, says Ian Ladyman – It’s All Kicking Off 

Phil Foden scored a brilliant hat-trick as Manchester City kept the pressure on in the Premier League title race with a 4-1 win over Champions League-chasing Aston Villa.

A day after defending his star striker against criticism from Roy Keane, Pep Guardiola left Erling Haaland on the bench alongside Kevin De Bruyne, clearing the stage for Foden to grab the spotlight with an outstanding performance and his second hat-trick of the campaign.

After Jhon Duran cancelled out Rodri’s opener, the 23-year-old put City back in front with a free-kick late in the first half before two excellent strikes settled it just after the hour mark, taking Foden to 21 City goals for the season.

Pep Guardiola’s side remain third, a point behind leaders Arsenal and level with Liverpool – who host Sheffield United on Thursday – after their first win over a top-five side this term.

Mail Sport’s Nathan Salt takes a look at some of the things you may have missed.

A banner criticising Man City over season ticket prices was confiscated at the Etihad

City play hardball over banner-gate

Banner-gate was a hot topic again as fans descended en masse to the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday night.

A banner by the 1894 Group criticising the club over season ticket prices – which read ‘Record profits but record prices, stop exploiting our loyalty’ – was confiscated prior to the weekend’s stalemate against Arsenal.

Many of those involved had assumed that while confiscated ahead of the Arsenal match it would be fine to unfurl here against Villa – not to be.

Some fans had accreditation, which gives them early access to set up, taken off them on Sunday as a result of the banner row and it wasn’t back in place in time for the visit of Villa.

Fans certainly are not happy… but as for when the banner will be back inside the Etihad, that’s a mystery.

Worth the wait 

What a night for young Tim Iroegbunham.

The 20-year-old midfielder was given a huge show of faith from his manager as he was handed only his second Premier League start… away to Manchester City.

Not since a 2-0 win at Villa Park over Norwich City in April 2022 has he had the nod from the off. 

A long time coming.

Aston Villa goalkeeper Robin Olsen was thrust into action because Emiliano Martinez was ill

Olsen back in action

221 – That’s the number of days since Robin Olsen last started a Premier League match.

He was not expecting to be playing any part tonight, and even more so when Emiliano Martinez was named in the starting line-up.

But illness got the better of Martinez prior to the warm-up and the Swede was given his orders to get ready to go into the starting XI.

Fair play, he may have conceded four but this was a commendable display given so long on the sidelines.

Pep is still talk of the town

It felt fitting that in a week where a Netflix documentary about City’s Treble-winning season launched, a Pep Guardiola team talk – which the series largely works around – was mocked up for the cover of the matchday programme.

The six part series showed the good, the bad and the ugly of those talks – many of which were key en route to the Treble – and the programme worked a treat as a conversation starter on approach to the ground.

The hush seats

A handful of fans in the posh corporate seats next to the press box got a ticking off from City staff when they wildly celebrated Jhon Duran’s equaliser.

About 12 people leapt from their plush seats and leapt into the air, with plenty of back-slapping and hugs, only for a nearby steward to have a quiet – but firm – word that there was to be no repeat. 

Thankfully City’s players ensured there would be no round two.

Man City midfielder Rodri took his tally to eight goals by opening the scoring against Villa

Rodri strikes again 

Rodri, who made it 1-0 here, has now scored eight goals for Manchester City across all competitions this season. 

That’s his most in a single campaign in his club career.

He’s shown he knows how to leather it – paging a Champions League final winner versus Inter Milan highlight – and he thrashed goal No 8 in to set City on their way against Villa.

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