Manchester City shine with a 3-0 win over West Brom
Manchester City started off their 2015/16 Premier League campaign with a comfortable 3-0 win against West Bromwich Albion in what was a completely City-dominated game at the Hawthorns. The Sky Blues were helped by two goals from Yaya Toure and a solid header from captain Vincent Kompany on a Monday night as they went to the top of the league after the first round of matches in the Barclays Premier League.
West Brom came into the game knowing that their last victory against Man City on their own turf came back in December 2008, when a late Roman Bednar goal sank the Citizens, then coached by Mark Hughes. But the Baggies beat Chelsea at the Hawthorns late last season and would have loved to kick off the new campaign with a similar result.
But it was not in the script on a Monday night where City looked at something approaching their absolute best. The former champions dominated the possession with 69% in their favour, and created 19 chances in a match which can be called their own.
For City, January transfer window recruit, Wilfried Bony, started upfront along with debutant Raheem Sterling, accompanied by David Silva, Jesus Navas, Yaya Toure, and Fernandinho in midfield. Pellegrini rested Aguero and his Argentine teammates Demichelis and Zabaleta, coming on the back of Copa America in Chile. Sagna filled in for Zabaleta whereas Mangala was picked to start at the back.
For Albion, new striker Rickie Lambert started the game in attack with Saido Berahino. McClean, captain Fletcher, Morrison and Gardner made up the midfield for the Baggies. James Chester started in defense making his debut for his new club.
The game started off on a good note for City as they maintained possession for the first 20 minutes and looked quite comfortable keeping the ball. City’s fluent passing and little or no pressing from West Bromwich players meant that there was difficulty for the home side to get possession. It resulted in City breaking the deadlock with a fairly fortuitous goal.
Navas cut the ball back to Toure at edge of the box and the Ivorian mishit a shot towards the far corner. It rolled along the deck but seemingly took a nick off Silva and then Dawson before trickling into the net beyond a flat-footed Myhill.
The Citizens continued to pile the pressure on the Baggies as there was almost another goal for City at 20 minutes when Sterling initiated a one-two with Silva on the left-hand side of the box and the Spaniard’s return pass sent him to the byline. He fired it into the centre where West Brom failed to deal with it. The ball eventually fell to Bony but his sliding strike was deflected away from goal.
Minutes later, beautiful passing and a one-two with Wilfried Bony, was met with a precisely placed curler by Yaya Toure, giving City a lead by two goals. West Brom defenders failed to press the ball and Toure had enough time and space to place the ball in the back of the net behind West Brom’s stopper, Myhill, and give himself his fifth goal in the last three games at the Hawthorns.
At 27 minutes, West Bromwich were given a chance with a free kick within 25 yards from goal, but new striker Rickie Lambert could only strike the ball above the crossbar and Joe Hart. Close to the half-hour mark, Morrison made a promising run down the right but a disappointing cross only managed to hit the goal’s side netting.
City got into the game well and looked sharp with Navas, Silva, Toure and Sterling all linking up well with each other to create chance after chance for the Citizens whereas the Baggies only piled up pressure on themselves with misplaced passes and untimely challenges which led to captain Darren Fletcher getting a yellow card for his challenge on David Silva as the half reached the 40 minute mark.
Sterling passed up a fantastic chance to score a debut goal after being set free behind the West Brom defence. He produced a poor shot which was close enough to Myhill for the keeper to block. Approaching halftime, the hosts attacked and had a goal correctly ruled out for an offside decision against Saido Berahino, who looked the best of West Brom’s players as he again produced a marvellous cross down the right which was met by Rickie Lambert at the far post but he could only deflect it for a goal kick.
Seconds later, Berahino whipped a cracking ball in from the right wing but it bounced up at too difficult of a height for McClean to do anything with it. Another chance was created for the visitors moments later, though, with Kolarov having a shot deflected over after a surging run from left-back ending the first half.
Manchester City led at half time, thanks to two goals from Toure in a completely dominant half of football. It had been a difficult first half for the Baggies as they were unable to contain the positivity of Pellegrini’s men. A change of shape had helped but they needed to vastly improve after the interval to avoid this turning into a rout.
At the restart, Tony Pulis made one change in his team with Claudio Yacob coming on for James McClean. But it didn’t make a difference as it became hard to begrudge City the lead. West Brom had vastly improved since the restart but the individual quality in the Citizens’ ranks saw them through. The hosts started the second half on a good note but did not manage to convert chances as Fernandinho was booked for City.
David Silva tormented the West Brom defense with his flair eventually assisting Vincent Kompany’s solid header goal from the left corner. Craig Gardner, Claudio Yacob and James Chester were all shown yellow in the second half as City continued to dominate possession giving little away to the hosts.
With half an hour to go, Pellegrini decided to bring on Sergio Aguero in place of Bony. Aguero looked his usual self and created a few chances for himself which were blocked. For the Baggies, Lambert’s debut also came to an end when he was taken off as Pulis brought on Victor Anichebe, who lifted his side after coming on but it wasn’t enough for the hosts as they finished the game three goals down.
For West Brom, it was always difficult to beat a City side with the quality they possess, but they will take positives from the game where their new players settled into the line-up as well as their goalkeeper looked impressive at the back even though he let in three goals. They also have new signing, Soloman Rondon to look forward to. Whereas Manchester City went top of the league and will look to keep the momentum going when they face Chelsea at the Etihad this weekend.