Thursday, 5 December 2013

West Brom 2 - 3 Manchester City: Thoughts and Ratings

By Adam Bailey

Praise may be endlessly flowing from the mouths of City supporters after last nights uncharacteristic away win, but ultimately, Manchester City should be relishing playing teams like West Brom who really shouldn't stand a chance against such formidable opponents.

Manuel Pellegrini's tinkering surprised me somewhat, especially with the inclusion of Edin Džeko alongside Sergio Agüero. However, the Bosnian's first half display was encouraging and his interchanges with Sergio and the advancing Pablo Zabaleta made for some dazzling play and you can't argue with his magnificent record against the Baggies. Although Džeko enjoyed a relatively straightforward first half in which the Blues achieved a comfortable two goal cushion, his showing in front of goal was less than clinical in the second and Álvaro Negredo's strength and technique would have troubled the Baggies a lot more in my opinion.

Photo: Official MCFC Facebook

Ruthlessness in front of goal proved to be a surprising problem last night despite scoring yet another three goals. Agüero may have opened the scoring with a precise finish into the top corner of the net, but in truth, the Argentine should have had a hat-trick before the 30 minute mark. The dominating partnership of Yaya Touré and Fernandinho in the middle allowed for a flurry of attacking play, but taking our chances has been a real problem on the road this season.

Vincent Kompany's return to the team certainly had a significant effect on proceedings and his commanding presence in the centre of defence gave the blues a confidence they hadn't seen before away from home. If injuries cease to keep assaulting the Belgian, City should run away with the title this season. However, despite Kompany's solid performance, concentration evidently slipped and complacency crept in towards the last 15 minutes of the game. The Baggies gave Pellegrini's side a real scare with two late goals, but fortunately, BBC African Player of the Year had put his side in an unreachable position with two goals.

If Pellegrini can concoct another away day masterclass like yesterday's, we can say goodbye to our woeful away form. Goals aren't a problem, but confidence on the road indubitably is and the return of Vincent Kompany will rectify that area of uncertainty. Saturday sees City face much more potent opponents in Southampton, and for me, that will be the real test of our resolve away from home.

Player ratings

PANTILIMON: Despite scoring an own goal, the Romanian could not be blamed for the two goals that crept past him and until the last 5 minutes, he was protected well by his defenders.

TSBV rating: 7/10

ZABALETA: Introduced the young Berahino to the physicality of the Premier League and bombed forward with typical drive to claim yet another assist.

TSBV rating: 7/10

DEMICHELIS: Fitness became an issue for the Argentine as the game progressed and he allowed Anichebe a worryingly easy opportunity to score.

TSBV rating: 6/10

KOMPANY: Composed, collected and classy. The Belgian's return to the team boosted the blues and he never looked uncomfortable.

TSBV rating: 8/10

KOLAROV: Assisted and won a penalty in a defensively sound performance. 

TSBV rating: 8/10

NAVAS: Wing play was assumed by his right back but the Spaniard displayed his passing abilities and he interchanged magnificently with Nasri, Yaya and Fernandinho in the midfield.

TSBV rating: 7/10

FERNANDINHO: Becomes calmer and classier with every game and he mopped up brilliantly behind the midfield whilst generating most of City's attacking play.

TSBV rating: 8/10

YAYA TOURE: Powerful and clinical. The BBC African Player of the Year was on top form last night to ignite City's performance with two goals.

TSBV rating: 9/10

NASRI: Once again, instrumental in most of City's attacking play and the freedom of his role is allowing the Frenchman to hit top form once again.

TSBV rating: 8/10

AGUERO: His 13th goal in 11 games set his side off on a goalscoring spree but the Argentine will have been disappointed not to take his other chances.

TSBV rating: 8/10

DZEKO: Creatively brilliant in the first half, providing Zabaleta with an excellent ball to put in Aguero. However, his showing in front of goal was a little worrying.

TSBV rating: 7/10


Added solidity to City's play and helped his side see out the win.

TSBV rating: 7/10

GARCIA: Sealed up the midfield.    

TSBV rating: 6/10

RODWELL: No time to mark

No rating

Note: All pictures above from MCFC Official Facebook page

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(c) The Sky Blue View 2013

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