MAN CITY 3, WEST BROM 1
There was no repeat of last week’s costly slip against Sunderland as Manchester City kept alive their Barclays Premier League title hopes following their home victory against struggling West Brom.
It was a night when City created two pieces of history as they became the highest-scoring in a season of English football while it was also the first time three Argentine players had scored in the same match.
Pablo Zabatela, Sergio Aguero and Martin Demichelis all found the net in the opening half as City swept past the Baggies whose relegation worries intensified.
And the only sour note for City was seeing David Silva leave the pitch on a stretcher midway through the second half with his right foot in a cast after he was hurt following a challenge by Morgan Amalfitano.
Silva was returning following a lay off with a problem with the same ankle which made it a worry for Manuel Pellegrini.
City’s manager explained that they will have to wait for the doctor’s assessment tomorrow before discovering the extent of Silva’s ankle injury.
Pellegrini confirmed it was the same ankle which has been troubling his for some time.
City’s manager added that the win against West Brom hasn’t changed the course of the title race saying they have a duty to win their remaining games.
He said: “In the first half we played very well, scored three goals and had other clean chances and it was like the team we have seen the whole season at the Etihad.
“In the second half we didn’t play as well, but it was important to keep the score at 3-1.”
City made three changes from the side which kicked off against Sunderland on the night when they were held to a 2-2 draw by the bottom club as Silva, Edin Dzeko and Gael Clichy returned to the starting line up. They replaced Alvaro Negredo, James Milner and Aleksandar Kolarov who were all on the bench.
City made the perfect start taking a third-minute lead through a rare goal from Zabaleta and his first of the campaign.
Baggies’ keeper Ben Foster parried a fierce shot from Aguero and Zabaleta headed home the rebound from six yards.
It was a lively opening as Matej Vydra had an equaliser ruled out not long after Stephane Sessegnon was caught offside before delivering the cross which led to the goal.
City doubled their lead in the 10th minute after a build up down the left ended with Aguero curling home a delightful shot from 25 yards for his 27th of the season.
It was also City’s 144th goal of the season in all competitions, an English record, as they looked set to greatly improve their goal difference.
West Brom halved the deficit with after a deadly counter attack as Liam Ridgewell, Sessegnon and Vydra linked superbly to set up Dorrans who bent home a delightful shot low to the left of keeper Joe Hart.
City restored their two-goal advantage in the 36th minute when Javi Garcia flicked on Nasri’s corner and Demichelis swept home the ball at the far post from six yards for the centre back.
Zabaleta came close to adding a fourth goal soon after the restart but his goal-bound shot was deflected by Craig Dawson for a corner.
The second half lacked the sparkle of the opening period with far less goalmouth action.
Amalfitano forced a decent save from Hart as West Brom looked for a way back into the game while substitute Stevan Jovetic saw a long-range drive fly narrowly wide, Dzeko also curled an effort past the upright and in stoppage time Milner’s shot was blocked by the legs of Foster as City had to settle for their three first-half goals.