Pep Guardiola returned to winning ways as Manchester City manager following a comprehensive 0-4 away victory against West Bromwich Albion. City ended a run of six games without a win following the performance at The Hawthorns.
Sergio Aguero started his first league game in three weeks as Guardiola opted to play the Argentine instead of the in-form Iheanacho. It was a decision that reaped its rewards as Aguero contributed with two goals and one assist for City.
The game started with a fast pace, and both teams attempted to create the perfect opening, but it was City who looked the most dangerous in attack. Right from the start, City dominated proceedings in midfield wouldn’t allow West Brom to breathe with their intensity and quick passing football.
The rewards for their play came just after the quarter hour mark when Aguero latched onto an Ilkay Gundogan pass, before slotting home in the box. Gundogan’s awareness to play Aguero behind the West Brom defence gave Aguero the perfect opportunity to find the back of the net with relative ease.
The goal was Aguero’s 148th for City – putting him level with City icon Franny Lee. His 149th wasn’t long behind as his tenacity and persistence saw him fire a beautiful striker from outside the box, right into the top corner. Aguero latched onto some sloppy play by Jonas Olsson to make room and fire out of the reach of Ben Foster. City were cruising.
There was a glimmer of hope for Pulis’s side when Bravo came to the edge of his area to try to claim a through ball but realized he was going to be beaten to it by Rondon and stopped dead.
Eleven minutes from the end, City put the game out of reach. This time, Aguero was the provider. He got the ball on the edge of the box, ignored the overlapping run of Fernandinho and drifted inside.
As West Brom’s defenders tried to crowd him out, Aguero chipped a neat pass into the heart of the area. McClean played a couple of City players onside, but it was Gundogan who was the primary beneficiary. He controlled the ball and slipped it through Foster’s legs.
A minute from time, Gundogan completed an excellent individual performance by taking a ball from De Bruyne in his stride and sweeping it past Foster for his second and City’s fourth.
Crisis, are you sure?
- Claudio Bravo 7.5/10 – The Chilian didn’t have a lot to do, but steady in possession and under the ball
- Fernando 7/10 – The former Porto player paid predominately in a right-back role but was very solid despite his yellow card.
- John Stones 6.5/10 – Played well but one dodgy moment in possession nearly cost City. Becoming stronger with each game.
- Nicolas Otamendi 7/10 – His physicality contained Rondon and regularly swept up when called upon.
- Aleksandar Kolarov 6/10 – Lucky to stay on the pitch in all honesty. Leko caused him problems with his pace but comfortable for most of the game.
- Fernandinho 7.5/10 – Quick in possession and keen to ensure City attacked hard and fast. Excellent performance.
- Ilkay Gundogan 8.5/10 – Sat with Fernandinho in midfield, but his two goals and assist came at a much needed time for Guardiola.
- David Silva 5.5/10 – Slowed a late of play down but was struggling with a hip problem for the majority of the game.
- Raheem Sterling 7/10 – He’s top of the league, and cause West Brom a lot of problems early doors. His pace and energy made him capable of damaging Pulis’ men even further.
- Nolito 6/10 – Another play lucky not to see red, Nolito head butted Craig Dawson, but the referee only gave him a yellow. He linked up well with Sergio Aguero.