Carlos Tevez scored the only goal of the game late in the first half as City heaped more misery on Villa who remain 18th on the table and in danger of being relegated for the first time since 1987.
Villa were the dominant side early on with danger man Christian Benteke seeing a header cleared off the line by Tevez but City soon kicked into gear and forced a number of saves from Brad Guzan late in the half.
On the stroke of half-time, substitute Edin Dzeko (who replaced the injured Jack Rodwell) managed to dispossess Villa defender Ciaran Clark before squaring for Tevez who rounded Guzan to slot home his ninth of the league campaign.
The Argentine almost had a second but Matthew Lowton was on hand to clear his effort off the line before City had a goal disallowed when Dzeko tucked home after Guzan had tipped Yaya Toure's attempt onto the post.
Nevertheless, the result stood at 1-0 to City as they try to bridge the gap with tearaway leaders United whilst Villa get set for a relegation battle they are not all too familiar with.
Villa Park, Birmingham - 33,217