Manchester City cannot afford to miss their star striker for much longer, the international break comes at a good time for Manuel Pellegrini and other things we learned from Aston Villa 0 Manchester City 0.

By Editor Wayne Veysey

City need Aguero for Liverpool showdown

How Manuel Pellegrini needs the Premier League’s most potent striker fit for 21 November. That is the date of City’s next fixture, when they host improving Liverpool. City are far from a one-man team. In Aguero’s six-match absence with a hamstring injury, they have been victorious on four occasions and drawn twice, today and in the Manchester derby. With Wilfried Bony possibly sidelined for three weeks with the hamstring injury he sustained against Villa, the need to have Aguero back in 13 days’ time is paramount. Chances went begging today as both Raheem Sterling and Kevin de Bruyne missed from close range. Aguero would have buried them.

De Bruyne can be a superstar

Forget the hashed second-half finish from close range when his choice of a clever flick rather than a simple side-foot prod was misguided. The Belgian is settling in well to Premier League life. It may not have worked out for him at Chelsea, but he is a sky blue-chip performer whose touch, technique and vision is out of the very top drawer. City fans will be frustrated by today’s lethargic team display but recognise they have a potential superstar on their hands, His name was the first sung by the visiting supporters in the first half and some of his play, such as the magnificent first-half cross on the run, was exquisite.

Absent friend: Sergio Aguero has been sorely missed over the last month

Absent friend: Sergio Aguero has been sorely missed over the last month

The international break is good timing for City

City strikers suffering hamstring problems is not a new phenomenon. With Bony limping out of the action after just 24 minutes, the visitors were forced to win this tricky assignment without an established striker.  Even a team of City’s resources are diminished by the absence of their two senior front men and it was noticeable how terrific first-half deliveries into the box from Alexander Kolarov and De Bruyne were not seized upon. Rookie Kelechi Iheanacho might have scored two goals against Crystal Palace this season but he was ignored when Bony was subbed as Pellegrini preferred to deploy Raheem Sterling up front. The fortnight-long international break has come at an opportune time.

Delph is despised by Villa fans

If we did not know it already then confirmation came with the reaction of the Villa faithful when Fabian Delph came on as a second-half substitute. Thunderous jeers rang out around the stadium, accompanied by insulting chants. Delph made what might be considered to have been a sensible career decision but his U-turn days after pledging his future to Villa will not be forgotten by the Holte End.

Old boy: Micah Richards performed superbly against his former club

Old boy: Micah Richards performed superbly against his former club

Richards shines against former club

Micah Richards spent a decade at City before he was offloaded after a lengthy spell deputising for Pablo Zabaleta. He was highly motivated for this clash against his former team and responded with a superbly resilient display. Deployed in his preferred centre-back position, he made a string of important interceptions and clearances. City could not find a way through, and a large part of that was down to Richards’ performance.