LONDON (REUTERS) - Bottom-dwellers Aston Villa stopped the rot by holding Premier League leaders Manchester City to a 0-0 draw in new manager Remi Garde's first match in charge on Sunday.
After seven consecutive league defeats, and one point from the last 30 on offer, had plunged Villa into crisis and cost Tim Sherwood his job, the former European champions produced a gritty display to frustrate City.
Villa keeper Brad Guzan produced a remarkable save with his head after halftime to keep out Raheem Sterling and Kevin de Bruyne missed a sitter for the visitors who dominated possession without being able to find a way through.
The closest City came to taking the points was in stoppage time when Fernando's thumping header shook the crossbar but Villa hung on for a well-earned draw.
City have 26 points from 12 matches and will be knocked off top spot if Arsenal (25) beat Tottenham Hotspur later in the north London derby at their Emirates Stadium.
Villa remain marooned at the bottom with five points from 12 games after their worst ever start to a top-flight season.
Liverpool host Crystal Palace in the day's other fixture.