West Brom v City Barclays Premier League match report - Manchester City FC

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Season2013/14
Away
  • West Bromwich Albion

    West Brom 2

    Pantilimon OG 85mins, Anichebe 90+4 mins

  • Manchester City

    City 3

    Aguero 8mins, Toure 23mins & 73mins (pen)

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  • 04 December 2013 22:10
  • Posted by @markbooth_mcfc

Steel, intensity and attacking verve are compliments normally paid to City for performances at the Etihad Stadium this season.

Not so tonight, as the Blues produced a rousing showing without the comforts of home to win away for just the second time in the Barclays Premier League this season.  

First-half goals from Sergio Aguero and Yaya Toure sent them on their way, before Toure added another from the penalty spot with 15 minutes to go.

A Costel Pantilimon own goal with five minutes left and a Victor Anicheibe strike in the 94th minute denied City the clean sheet their performance deserved and added an element of gloss to the scoreline that flattered the home side.

With more than a third of the Blues’ campaign now in the rear-view mirror and only a win at West Ham to show for six trips away from the Etihad Stadium, the pertinent question going into this trip to The Hawthorns remained as follows…

Were City’s away afflictions some anomalous aberration or endemic of some terminal malady?

Fans and pundits alike shared the hunch that this meeting with Steve Clarke’s men, coupled with the upcoming trip to St Mary’s, would provide something approaching a definitive diagnosis.

Aleks and Martin

Manuel Pellegrini has maintained throughout this mystifying run on the road that his team have executed his gameplans to his satisfaction away from home but he would have been boosted by his skipper’s return to fitness.

Since Vincent Kompany limped out of October’s 3-1 win over Everton nearly two months ago to the day, City have lost two out of three away Premier League matches by a single goal.

The Belgian has played in under a third of the 2013/14 programme to date and Pellegrini opted to partner him with Martin Demichelis in defence for the very first time in one of three changes to the team that beat Swansea on Sunday afternoon.

Pellegrini

Edin Dzeko boasts an enviable record against the Baggies, having scored all three of City’s goals against them last season and perhaps for that reason, he was preferred to Alvaro Negredo in the attack, with Aleksandar Kolarov coming in for Gael Clichy at left-back.

As for the opposition, who were answering to their own charges of chronic inconsistency - they were able to name in-form striker Shane Long in the line-up alongside Saido Berahino who committed his future to the Midlands outfit earlier this week.

An early James Milner sending off prevented the Blues from making a fluent start in this fixture last season but this time, heavy traffic meant that both teams arrived to the game late and kick-off was pushed back by 15 minutes.

"When the match finally did get under way, City wasted no time in heaping pressure upon the Baggies’ goal."

...West Brom v City match report...

Aguero fired a warning shot after five minutes, arriving onto Dzeko’s cushioned chest from a Yaya Toure cross, but his snap shot flew narrowly the wrong side of Boaz Myhill’s far post.

The reprieve for the home side only lasted until the eighth minute when the Blues scored a team goal of the very highest quality.

Arab

A devastating interchange involving Toure, Navas and Dzeko broke down the West Brom resistance and gave Pablo Zabaleta the chance to pull back a cross from the by-line to his Argentine compatriot Aguero who trashed the ball past Myhill into the roof of the net.

"It was beguiling, incisive football that took Aguero onto 17 goals - the exact number of strikes he tallied in the entire 2012/13 season."

...West Brom v City match report...

Aguero fluffed a presentable opportunity to make it two after more excellent hold-up play from Dzeko and the hosts had a speculative long-range effort courtesy of Berrahino that had Pantilimon scrambling across goal but the Blues finally did extend their advantage after 23 minutes through Yaya Toure.

The Ivorian put the clinical finishing touch on another intricate one-touch passing move, opening up his right foot and guiding Kolarov’s cross from the left wing into the far corner.

team

Squint your eyes and still, The Hawthorns bares no aesthetic resemblance to the Etihad Stadium, but you could have been fooled at times during the first 45 minutes given the imperious supremacy of the team in sky Blue.

However, City have dropped six points from winning positions so far this season which is only one less than the number they squandered in the whole of the last campaign.

"It looked as though Pellegrini had emphasised this point in his half-time briefing as his side picked up where they left off in the second half, with Aguero again going close with an ambitious, dipping strike from 25 yards on 50 minutes."

...West Brom v City match report...

While there were less fireworks from the away side in the second period, their effortless dominance and intensity of their pressing in unfamiliar surroundings was equally as pleasing to the eye for supporters more used to frayed nerves and wasted opportunities on the road this season.

With 20 minutes left, Pellegrini gave Aguero a rest and brought Milner on to add an extra body to the midfield to attempt to preserve a fifth clean sheet in seven games but when Claudio Yacob tripped Kolarov just inside the penalty area five minutes later, Toure had the chance to further extend the Blues' lead.

The newly-crowned BBC African Footballer of the Year made no mistake, sending Myhill the wrong way to grab his second of the game and his ninth of the season in all competitions.

yaya

There was time left for the Baggies to improve the complexion of the scoreline late on when Kolarov turned a cross into the body of Pantilimon for an unfortunate own goal with six minutes to play before Anichebe fired home his first West Brom goal in the final minute of additional time.

It was too little, too late to influence the result but would still have given Pellegrini's men something to chew over on the way back up the M6.

The long trip to high-flying Southampton is coming up next on Saturday.

Win there in similarly stylish fashion and City’s title charge may take some stopping…

Match details

Wednesday 04 December 2013, 8:15PM

The Hawthorns Att:22,943
Barclays Premier League

Referee:
Chris Foy

Teams

West Brom:

Myhill, Reid, McAuley, Olsson, Ridgewell, Yacob, Brunt, Amalfitano, Morrison (Vydra 64mins), Berahino, Long (Anichebe 64mins)

Unused subs:
L Daniels, Gera, Lugano, Popov, Sessegnon.

Bookings:
Olsson 87mins

Manchester City:

Pantilimon, Zabaleta, Kompany (c), Demichelis, Kolarov, Fernandinho, Yaya Toure (Rodwell 87mins), Navas, Nasri (Garcia 75mins), Aguero (Milner 68mins), Dzeko

Unused subs:
Hart, Richards, Lescott, Negredo

Bookings:
Pantilimon 83mins

All times are taken from a live feed and are approximate at time of publishing.

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