Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Match Preview: West Brom vs Manchester City

City looking to break away curse in the Midlands

By Aaron Leggott

The Premier League has seen a real Jekyll and Hyde version of Manchester City this season. At the Etihad Stadium, they are ruthless - seven wins out of seven and a goal difference of +23 sees the Blues stand out from the pack. 

It's a different story away from east Manchester though; with just one win in six, Manuel Pellegrini's men sit in a meagre 15th place in the away form table - a worrying stat for any title challenger.

City have enjoyed a number of wins against West Brom over the past few years
Photo: Official MCFC Facebook

However, after three successive wins, the Blues go into their clash against West Brom in high spirits and realistic of hopes of turning around their away form ahead of the festive period.

After Steve Clarke's appointment as head coach last season, the Baggies have turned the Hawthorns into a fortress and go into the clash on the back of a four game unbeaten run at home.

Fortune has not always shone on West Brom against City though, and history suggests that tomorrow could be the turning point for a taste of success on the road. 

The Baggies have been unable register a victory against City in the last seven games, with the Blues winning the last game between the two sides at the Hawthorns after Edin Džeko's double completed a memorable comeback last season. 

Džeko will most likely have to settle for a place on the bench again as Álvaro Negredo and Sergio Agüero are set to be given the go ahead to exert their formidable partnership on Clarke's defence - with the pair notching up 16 league goals between each other since the start of the season.

Vincent Kompany has also been named in the squad for the first time since fracturing his foot, and whilst he is not expected to start, it is a big boost to Pellegrini with defensive issues being City's downfall this year. 

Clarke will be able to recall Zoltán Gera and Billy Jones back after the pair recovered from minor injuries sustained in the 2-1 defeat at Newcastle last weekend, whilst Ben Foster will have to wait to make his return from injury despite the 30-year-old showing encouraging signs in his recovery. 

My thoughts

Impressive victories over Tottenham and Swansea proved why City are one of the favourites to lift the Premier League title in May, but tomorrow will be a real test of our credentials when we travel to the Hawthorns to take on a very good West Brom side.

After they recorded an historic win at Old Trafford earlier in the season, they were moments away from repeating their feat at Chelsea, only to be denied victory by a ludicrous decision by Andre Marriner. 

A strike force of Shane Long and Saido Berahino will cause problems for a makeshift defence - and in truth both Martín Demichelis and Joleon Lescott have looked far from convincing in the games they have started together.

Don't get me wrong, they are more than capable back-up players for Kompany and Matija Nastasić - but if the captain's injury problems continue then a new centre-half will be needed as we approach the business end of the season.

I think it's only a matter of time until we turn our away form around and this could be the game to do so. West Brom's style of play will suit us and despite their impressive home form, they have proven to be vulnerable at the back after their collapse against Aston Villa last week - something which Agüero and Negredo should capitalise on.

Prediction: West Brom 1 - 2 City

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(c) The Sky Blue View 2013

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