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'Everyone had to look at themselves' - Man City seek title race statement to banish nightmare memories

When Gary Neville said he had never seen a team limit Manchester City as much as Arsenal did on Sunday, he must have forgotten about Aston Villa.

Pep Guardiola's side were fearing the worst when they headed down the M6 in early December without Rodri, Kevin De Bruyne, Jack Grealish, and Jeremy Doku. But what took place at Villa Park still took everybody by surprise. City were battered and bested like they have rarely been in eight years under their manager, managing just two shots - the lowest any Guardiola side has ever had - and yielding 22 to the rampant visitors; a 1-0 defeat was fortunate for the away side.

The result confirmed that City were in for their most competitive title challenge yet with more teams than ever capable of beating the big teams. Aston Villa would end that week by beating Arsenal to ram home that point.

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And it also pointed to a faltering City team who looked a shadow of the side that had swept the Treble. There had been positives to take from the three successive draws against Chelsea, Liverpool and Spurs that had come before, but their fourth winless game was their worst of the lot by a distance.

"It's my duty, my job to find a way to come back the situation because over many years together we were able to find a way to play games - sometimes playing good, sometimes not but always we found a way to do it - and now we are struggling," said Guardiola. "We have to change the dynamic, winning as soon as possible against Luton and Crystal Palace to continue to be there.

"I have to think about it. The dynamic changes by winning games but to win games

Read more on manchestereveningnews.co.uk