City were victorious against West Brom at The Etihad this Saturday. All eyes fall on the red side of Manchester now.
With Arsenal and West Ham drawing earlier today in a thrilling 3-3 draw, it was imperative that City took the opportunity against West Brom and grabbed all three points. With West Ham faltering, that meant that City’s fourth place position would look a lot more comfortable with a City win—and with Arsenal tripping up it meant that those romantics can still dream of the Premier League title. If there’s any of those romantics left. The Blues ran out 2-1 winners in the end, so let’s keep a close eye on what happens tomorrow when Tottenham and Manchester United come head to head. A draw would make City’s weekend look a successful one.
Stephane Sessegnon (5 mins)
Sergio Agüero (17 mins)
Samir Nasri (65 mins)
If this game was a song…
Drake – Back to Back
It’s happened! The last time City won two games in a row in England, Bruce Forsyth was a toddler. Well, it was just last October—but it’s been a long time! Finally, it’s happened again and City record back-to-back wins. Maybe City can go on to Meek waves now.
5th minute: GOAL. James McClean’s cross floated over to Stephane Sessegnon who caught Joe Hart off-guard and beat him at his near post with a thunderbolt of a shot. The fans weren’t happy, however, as the referee blocked play in the lead-up that resulted in City losing the ball.
17th minute: PENALTY. The Kolarov-Nasri link-up play looked impressive today, and this time Aleks Kolarov was brought down after some great work by Samir Nasri.
18th minute: GOAL Agüero beat Ben Foster to the keeper’s left.
20th minute: SUBSTITUTION. Salomon Rondon off. Craig Gardner on.
22nd minute: Kolarov’s shot from 30 yards wasn’t too far away from a goal after a deflection.
56th minute: WBA PENALTY CLAIM. The crowd went wild after Eliaquim Mangala clumsily bundled into a West Brom attacker. Not in a month of Sundays.
59th minute: SUBSTITUTIONS: Kevin de Bruyne on for Wilfried Bony—who was met with a frosty fan reception after a poor game. Yaya Toure on for Fabian Delph.
65th minute: GOAL! On his return to football after seven months, Nasri scored! De Bruyne played through Jesus Navas into the box, who squared it to Agüero. Two bites at the cherry later, and Nasri blasts the ball through Foster’s legs.
70th minute: Saido Berahino came very close after some neat play beats the defence. The Englishman had a few opportunities that came close in the game, that could have made it very different.
83rd minute: Gardner brought Hart to life with a great safe, after his 30 yard free kick.
94th minute: the last kick of the game came from Chris Brunt who volleyed the ball and ran off celebrating. Wide.
Stat of the Game
Offsides: City 3-1 West Brom
Now, usually this is the most boring statistic in the world, but this game it was not. Being a referee is a high pressure job and decisions are so difficult with the pace that the game is played at, so it would be wrong to ever throw abuse at a linesman… but today there was some border-line hilarious decisions. There were three terrible offside decisions by miles. This statistic may seem like nothing to write home about, but for those who were at the match and are now reading this report, don’t worry—you weren’t going crazy—the decisions were miles off.
West Brom have recently beat Manchester United and Everton, and have even managed to claw out a draw against Leicester City at the King Power Stadium—they are not to be underestimated. And, they proved that straight from the start, as they scored a fantastic goal from Stephen Sessegnon. Many sides that are positioned in the league around West Brom would turn up to City and sit ten men behind the ball, quite happy to defend anything that comes their way, and nab one on the counter-attack in the last ten minutes.
However, West Brom still brought their A-game and quite often it was City playing on the counter attack. Hard-working and high on energy, the West Brom players can hold their heads high after this typical Tony Pulis performance. Aged 104 this weekend, Darren Fletcher still managed to put in another excellent performance for The Baggies. Long have the days gone where the West Brom captain was playing Champions League football, but he can obviously still do a job in the Premier League!
Grinding it out
City’s problem this season has been a strange one. They have either won a game by quite a few goals, or lost/drawn it, so no wonder Pellegrini has struggled to find out what the source of the problem is. With that in mind, the fans will welcome this win against West Brom, as it is one where City have come out on top in a close clash, and shown character to grind out the result. The fight was obviously there, and that’s exactly what City will need if they aren’t going to slip out of the Champions League qualification spots this season.
City had to bring on the big guns, Kevin de Bruyne and Yaya Toure, to get the job done in the end, after the fitness of Fabian Delph got the better of him by the end of the game, and Wilfried Bony was having a nightmare. However, if you thought this match was cagey, then you wait for midweek when PSG come to town—the French will not be surrendering easily this time.
Quote of the Presser
“I was very impressed he played 90 minutes with so many months without playing. He’s [Nasri] a very important player.” – Manuel Pellegrini
Man of the match
He’s back—and he’s back with a bang! For the whole 90 mintues Nasri was running the show down the left wing, and drifting into the centre to create room for Kolarov. His combination play with Kolarov worked well throughout the whole game, as most attacks went through these two down the left. Nasri’s speed and eye for a pass has been missed by the team. Watching the Frenchman off the ball is just as much a joy as watching him play on the ball, as you can see him creating room for others to run into, planning his passes ahead, and dictating the play. David Silva may be Merlin, but Samir Nasri is very much Dumbledore on his day! Nasri played a part in both goals; scoring one and slotting the ball through to Kolarov that saw him take a tumble for the penalty. He also came close a few times, including deep into the second half when he found himself in the box and almost curled one into the top corner. With Nasri not available for Champions League matches he will be imperative for the last few games and push for a top four spot. Massive shoutout to the Frenchman’s hairdresser too—very 1990s Take That.