City failed to register a shot on target in the first half but Erling Haaland opened the scoring after half-time as City looked sharper and hungrier.
Villa looked to have sealed a shock victory when Philippe Coutinho netted late on but the Brazilian’s effort was chalked off for offside.
The goal did not count as referee Simon Hooper had already blown his whistle for offside in the build-up. However, replays showed that the Brazilian had come from an onside position before picking up the ball, with the Man City defender’s foot playing him on.
Should VAR have been allowed to award Villa a goal?
That led to questions as to why the video assistant referee didn’t get involved and award the goal. But a rule in how the technology is used means that it cannot intervene if the referee has already stopped play.
Speaking on Match of the Day, former Premier League striker Alan Shearer explained: “Steven (Gerrard) mentioned it didn’t he? I mean, it’s not offside, VAR couldn’t intervene because the ref blew his whistle before Coutinho actually hit his shot.
“There you can see the assistant flag, the whistle blows, the City players stop, it takes a deflection. But he’s not offside, look.
“We saw the law where referees let it go on and go on and go on and then flag. But because the referee blew his whistle, that’s why VAR couldn’t intervene. But you’re right, the Man City players do stop and Ederson may have got a hand to it, but you can understand Steven Gerrard’s frustration.”
Speaking after the game, Gerrard outlined his frustration with the situation. “I’m not sure on the Coutinho goal because we might have had a second,” he said .
“I’ve seen a legitimate goal but obviously I am going to be biased. The referee did the same at the other end when Ezri Konsa challenged the goalkeeper.
“Why did he not wait… Why not wait and then check or let other people check whether it’s a foul? He was straight on the whistle and that is twice over the 90 minutes.”
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