WEST BROM 2, MANCHESTER CITY 3
Goals by Sergio Aguero and Yaya Toure wrapped up only Manchester City’s second away win in the league this season as the Blues welcomed back their captain, Vincent Kompany, from a long absence due to a thigh injury.
City manager Manuel Pellegrini demanded an improvement in away form to cement a push for first or second place by the New Year and got it as City comfortably beat West Brom at the Hawthorns to keep pace with Arsenal and Chelsea in the first of a pair of away games.
City started late due to heavy traffic in the Midlands, but they were certainly not late out of the blocks, monopolising possession early on and scoring after just nine minutes through Sergio Aguero. The Argentine striker had already had an early sight of goal when Yaya Toure’s pass was chested on by Edin Dzeko into Aguero’s path only for him to pull his shot wide.
It was pretty much all one way traffic for City in the first half and Aguero made no mistake in the ninth minute though after Dzeko found Pablo Zabaleta down the right and his cut back made it easy for Aguero to open the scoring unchallenged. The in-form striker now has 17 goals for the season and is understandably a target for Real Madrid in January.
City were no one-man team, though, and ensured that the lead was no fluke by laying waste to the Baggies’ defence with a comprehensive team goal started by Aguero which went via Samir Nasri and Aleksandar Kolarov before the Serbian squared the ball on for Toure to sidefoot past Boaz Myhill to make it 2-0 after just 24 minutes.
West Brom survived the rest of the first half without conceding further as City proved to be wasteful but improved in the second half despite City remaining confident with the assurance of Kompany at the back. His fellow City defender, Aleksandar Kolarov, had an interesting second half though. The left back could have given away a penalty after bringing down Shane Long shortly after the restart before he earned one for City after drawing a foul from Claudio Yacob which Toure converted in the 74th minute.
City were 3-0 up and cruising but their hosts gave their home fans something to cheer and set up a nail biting finish in the final few minutes of the game.
Matej Vydra’s cross was cleared by Kolarov but went in off Costel Pantilimon with five minutes to go as West Brom made a late surge. Saido Berahino could have reduced the deficit still further when he forced a flying save from Pantilimon before Victor Anichebe went past Martin Demichelis and put the Baggies within touching distance deep into added time but it was too late to capitalise on City’s travelling jitters.