WEST BROM 1, MANCHESTER CITY 3
Manchester City kept pace with Chelsea at the top of the table at a wintry Hawthorns as they beat West Brom 3-1 to chalk up their ninth straight victory in all competitions, equalling a club record that has stood since February 1910.
Several of those games were won with the brilliance of Sergio Aguero but in the last two games City have been forced to adopt a Barcelona-esque false nine as all three front-line strikers have been out injured.
Fortunately, despite the lack of genuine forwards, City have not found goals hard to come by with a modest fixture list until the end of January.
On this occasion Fernando, Yaya Toure with a penalty, and the irrepressible David Silva supplied the goals for striker-less City during the first half before the snow arrived and intensified in the second half.
City manager Manuel Pellegrini made just three changes from the side that beat Crystal Palace last week, with Pablo Zabaleta in for Bacary Sagna, Gael Clichy in for Aleksandar Kolarov, and Fernando in for Fernandinho.
It took Fernando just eight minutes to breach the Baggies defence after a dreadful mistake by Ben Foster allowed the Brazilian to hit his first goal for City after he latched onto Jesus Navas’ spilled cross.
His midfield compatriot David Silva was seeking to increase his goal tally from last week’s double against Crystal Palace but was caught by former team-mate Joleon Lescott just five minutes later and conceded a penalty.
Yaya Toure put City 2-0 up with just 13 minutes on the clock from the penalty spot and to the left of Foster.
And Silva effectively earned the points before half time when he drifted into space and casually converted Navas’ cross to make the points safe after just 35 minutes.
Conditions became more challenging with heavier snow falling in the second half and heavier towards the end of the game, disrupting City’s passing but West Brom couldn’t take advantage of the situation as their finishing let them down.
Out-of-sorts £10m Baggies striker Brown Ideye was the grateful beneficiary of a bizarre deflection following Joe Hart’s missed attempt to punch a clearance in the last three minutes of normal time.
His goal was merely a consolation for the outplayed home side.