(Adds quotes on Tevez)
By Mark Meadows
LONDON Feb 12 Joleon Lescott's
62nd-minute goal and a brilliant late save by goalkeeper Joe
Hart sent Manchester City back to the top of the Premier League
with a tense 1-0 win at Aston Villa on Sunday.
Manchester United's 2-1 win over Liverpool on Saturday had
put City under pressure and after they had dominated the first
hour's play Lescott eased their nerves when he hooked in former
Villa midfielder Gareth Barry's far-post header from a corner.
Adam Johnson also hit a post in the first half for City
while Villa threatened little until the final stages when Carlos
Cuellar headed over and Hart made a superb point-blank save from
The England number one's stop, as much as Lescott's goal,
could be a moment City fans look back on with glee come May if
they get their hands on a first English league title since 1968.
City top the table with 60 points from 25 games, two ahead
of United while toothless Villa are looking anxiously over their
shoulders down in 15th.
"It's always difficult playing second throughout the
weekend," man-of-the-match Barry told Sky Sports.
"(United) obviously put a bit of pressure on, any away game
in the Premier League is really tough. But to come to Villa Park
is a massive three points for us, we are delighted today.
"We've got to back ourselves now although they are a club
who have won many championships recently. We are a team full of
experience and have players that have won championships
elsewhere. We know what it is all about."
Mancini, whose side went into a league game not as leaders
for the first time since October, was thrilled.
"This evening was a difficult game, we knew this before the
game but I think the guys played fantastic football," he said.
Mancini's side lacked a bit of a cutting edge with Sergio
Aguero wasteful, David Silva showing his tricks but failing to
finish and Edin Dzeko on the bench despite Mario Balotelli's
Carlos Tevez could be making a surprise return to City after
a January move fell through and Mancini softened his opposition
to a player who refused to warm up as a substitute in a game in
Asked if the striker could make a comeback if he apologises,
Mancini said: "My reaction is always the same, Carlos knows the
situation. It's possible yes. Carlos is a Manchester City
The Argentine's reintegration could be a key point in the
season but England defender Lescott, a boyhood Villa fan, made
his mark by scoring his fifth goal against the Birmingham side
to make City's dominance pay having earlier headed wide.
Lescott was watched by caretaker England coach Stuart
Pearce, who dashed down the motorway having earlier witnessed
West Bromwich Albion maul Wolverhampton Wanderers 5-1 away.
Nigerian striker Peter Odemwingie scored a hat-trick as West
Brom moved further away from danger and left their beleaguered
local rivals inside the drop zone.
Roy Hodgson's side continued their strong away form to jump
eight points clear of 18th-placed Wolves, who endured a fourth
straight home defeat to put manager Mick McCarthy under
increased pressure as the boos rang out at fulltime.
Odemwingie's deflected effort put West Brom ahead before
Steven Fletcher's superb turn-and-shot on the stroke of halftime
brought the hosts level.
Jonas Olsson's shot slipped through Wayne Hennessey's hands
to give the visitors the lead and West Brom then ran riot with
Odemwingie's second and third coming either side of former
Wolves man Keith Andrews netting on his debut.
(Writing by Mark Meadows; Editing by Editing by Ed Osmond; To
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