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21 April 2014
• Etihad Stadium, Manchester
Referee: P. Dowd
• Attendance: 47000
P. Zabaleta 3'
S. Agüero 10'
M. Demichelis 36'
West Bromwich Albion
G. Dorrans 16'
Well, that's all from our LIVE coverage of Monday night's Premier League action. City are still in the title race, and West Brom are still in trouble. Many thanks for joining us, and goodbye for now!
Pellegrini will be happy with the result, but concerned over the fate of two of his players. Aguero looked to be struggling with a knock before he was substituted, while Silva was stretchered off with what could be a nasty injury.
West Brom, meanwhile, remain just three points clear of the relegation zone in 16th place. They still have a slightly superior goal difference, though, and will be glad City didn't try too hard to add to their tally tonight.
That moves City to within six points of Liverpool with a game in hand - they need the Reds to lose at home to Chelsea if they are to win the Premier League this season.
That's FULL TIME at the Etihad and Manchester City have registered a comfortable 3-1 win over struggling West Brom. All the action was in the first half and it was "job done" for the hosts, who saw out the remainder to pick up an important three points.
90' + 4'
MILNER!! City nearly make it 4-1 as Fernandinho - who has been superb in midfield tonight - slides a pass through for the substitute, who fires at goal from a tight angle, but Foster saves well with his feet at the near post.
90' + 3'
Dorrans tries to add to his tally for the night, but is nowhere near doing so as he finds some space in midfield before blasting a 30-yard effort a long way over the crossbar.
90' + 2'
Amalfitano and Jones link up well on the right - something which hasn't happened enough for the visitors tonight - but Clichy shows good strength to win the ball back for the hosts deep inside their own half.
Clichy finds Nasri with an accurate ball forward, and the midfielder flicks a wonderful pass beyond Dawson, but Jovetic can't quite get on the end of it and it runs through to Foster, as we enter five minutes of added time.
Aleksandar Kolarov is introduced for the final couple of minutes, as Dzeko is taken off by Pellegrini. Jovetic looks like he'll fulfil the lone centre forward role for the remainder.
Ridgewell is in some discomfort after going in for a 50-50 with Zabaleta by the corner flag. The defender limps off and his night's work is done. It's City, though, who look set to make a change!
Milner plays the ball into Dzeko, who says where he wants it and his team-mate obliges. The striker moves into the area from the left-hand side, and twists and turns before seeing his shot blocked by Olsson, who had followed him well.
This one's pretty much done and dusted, now, by the feel of it. City don't seem desperate to add any more and the visitors don't look like they're going to pull one back before the end.
City advance into the West Brom half again and Milner has it on the left-hand side. He looks infield and lays off to Zabaleta, who is encouraged to shoot by the home fans and does so, only to see Dorrans close him down well to block the effort.
DZEKO SHOULD DO BETTER!! It's a wonderful move from City, started by Nasri, who plays a neat one-two with Jovetic outside the box before sliding it into the path of Dzeko, who opens his body but curls the ball just around Foster's far post.
Fernandinho lifts the ball beautifully out wide to Zabaleta and City come forward again down the right flank. They slow things down, though, as they look to pass their way through.
Anichebe is in behind as Kompany commits to a tackle and misses, but his effort is blocked before it comes out to Dorrans, who fires the ball into the danger area and Hart firmly parries it away.
West Brom have a chance to come forward and Brunt spreads it out to Berahino, who cuts inside and plays a lovely low ball into the box. Anichebe is there beyond the defence but can't control the ball and the chance goes begging.
Dawson is penalised in midfield as he goes up for a header and shoves Dzeko down to the ground. He's on a yellow but this one doesn't warrant anything more than a peep of the whistle from the referee.
Fernandinho spreads a lovely ball out to Milner on the left-hand side as City continue to ping it around the pitch with ease. West Brom's challenge appears to have died and you expect they might just be setting up to not concede any more.
The atmosphere's gone a little bit stale inside the Etihad - you feel the fans are either just waiting for it to end, or hoping for some magic to get them going for the final 10 minutes or so. As yet, it's not been forthcoming in this half.
Good move from City as Nasri and Jovetic link up well before it's sent back to Fernandinho, who tries a speculative shot from 30 yards which flies well over the bar, much to Jovetic's anger as the striker had made a decent run beyond the defence.
Saido Berahino is next on for West Brom, replacing Sessegnon, who was impressive in the first half but looked to be running out of steam in this second period. Can the youngster inspire an unlikely comback for Mel's side?
Foster fires a stunning ball from right to left out to Ridgewell, who controls beautifully with his chest and lays off to Brunt. It's fired in towards Anichebe but City manage to hack the ball clear for a throw on West Brom's right-hand side.
West Brom have a free kick inside the City half, but unfortunately Brunt's delivery is again poor as Hart claims comfortably. The Baggies skipper will be disappointed with his crossing tonight.
JOVETIC!! The substitute is looking lively and pounces on a loose ball in midfield, before charging past Dorrans and firing a low 25-yarder which skips just wide of Foster's post.
Good work from Anichebe, who holds off Demichelis in midfield and spreads the ball out to the left. Brunt has another chance to cross but it's a disappointing delivery which goes straight into Hart's arms.
AMALFITANO!! West Brom have really livened up since that stoppage!! Brunt fires it in from the left and Clichy does well to head it away at the far post, but Amalfitano collects it on the edge of the box before drilling a low shot across goal, which Hart does well to parry away from danger.
We're back underway and Milner is on for City as we enter the final 20 minutes. West Brom have the ball inside the City half but the hosts are pressing well. Anichebe does well to knock down Brunt's cross from the left but Amalfitano's follow-up is blocked.
Silva is being taken off to a standing ovation from the home fans. It looks like his right leg has been put in a brace. Pellegrini - and Spain coach Vicente del Bosque - will be fearing the worst.
The stretcher is on and there are some concerned looks among the City ranks. James Milner is preparing to come on, but that could be a real blow to the hosts' title charge for the remainder of the season.
Another worry for City, here. Silva is down after trying to hold off a challenge from Jones. This doesn't look good at all - could be another injury to that ankle.
Zabaleta sells Fernandinho short with a poor pass and West Brom have a rare chance to break. Sessegnon collects it in the middle and charges towards goal, but Demichelis slides in well before committing fully to win the second ball. Great defending.
Yet more City possession now, with Silva seemingly involved in every other pass. It remains measured, though, as they continue to take their time to move the ball around with West Brom sitting back.
Pellegrini has decided to make a change, now, as Stefan Jovetic replaces Aguero, who trudges off slightly gingerly after that earlier knock. The rehabilitation continues, though, and the striker will be delighted to have got on the scoresheet.
Finally, West Brom get a rare spell of possession of their own, but the chance goes begging as Sessegnon knocks the ball past Zabaleta down the left, but overruns it slightly and it just goes over the line for a goal kick.
Nasri and Silva link up for the umpteenth time in midfield, and the latter looks to feed a pass through for Aguero beyond the defende, but Olsson watches it well to cut it out and prevent any danger.
Aguero sprays the ball out to the left for Clichy, who has plenty of time and chooses to use it, slowing down the attack as he squares to Fernandinho and City eventually go backwards again.
Silva plays another threaded pass through, again looking for the run of Nasri, who chases it down the right but Olsson comes across well to clear the ball out for a throw to the hosts.
It looks like West Brom are preparing a change, which Victor Anichebe coming on for Vydra. This could add a bit more presence up front for the visitors, and provides a different test for Kompany and Demichelis.
NASRI SHOULD SCORE!! It's amazing how quickly the hosts can change gear, and Silva sets it going as he plays into the path of Nasri, who gives it back to Silva on the right. He flicks it on for Zabaleta, whose first-time cross is met by Nasri but the Frenchman can't divert it towards goal and it flicks off Olsson before going behind.
You could take out a third of the pitch at the moment - Joe Hart is all on his own in City's final third. The hosts are passing it around in a very controlled manner right now, and West Brom are chasing shadows.
Kompany fires a diagonal ball towards the edge of the box, but Olsson deals with it well, sending it back to Foster who hammers it into the City half. The Baggies are struggling to get any meaningful periods of possession together at the moment.
Zabaleta fires in a cross to the edge of the box and Aguero picks it up, producing a heavy touch but still managing to hold on to possession. He eventually loses out to Ridgewell and stays down for a few moments. City fans will be hoping he can run it off.
Aguero and Dzeko link up well on the left before Jones holds off the Argentina man to win it back for West Brom, who come forward along their left-hand side, but again they surrender possession easily.
Mulumbu does well to charge in and get hold of the loose ball in midfield, and he spreads it out to the left-hand side. Brunt has just one target in Vydra, and looks for him with an ambitious cross which Hart plucks out of the air with ease.
More danger for West Brom as Dzeko plays the ball into Silva with his back to goal, and the midfielder produces another silky touch to lay off for Nasri, who shifts on to his right before seeing his shot blocked by Olsson.
CHANCE!! Garcia spreads the ball wide to Nasri, whose drilled low cross is just cut out ahead of Dzeko, before Zabaleta has an effort at goal which deflects just wide of the post with Foster stranded.
It's all a bit stop-start and scrappy at the moment as the whistle goes again, this time in West Brom's favour as Dzeko is caught offside. City quickly get the ball back, though, and advance ominously into the West Brom half.
Kompany's diagonal ball forward is easily cut out by Jones, who charges down the right flank and forces a throw off Clichy inside the City half. He hasn't been able to get forward that much tonight. The visitors surrender possession again, though, as Amalfitano fouls Clichy near the corner flag.
Silva slides the ball into Aguero, but his touch is loose and Mulumbu holds the striker off to win the ball for the visitors. They move forward in numbers and Brunt looks for Dorrans down the left, but the midfielder is just offside and City get possession back once more.
Demichelis gives it away in midfield, but Amalfitano can't make the most of it as Clichy stops him in his tracks. It's a steadier start to this half than the first from City, who will want to add more goals to their tally, especially if the title race could come down to goal difference.
The hosts resume proceedings at the Etihad as the second half gets underway.
Right then, just a couple of minutes until the restart. How's this one going to finish? I don't know about you, but I'd take another goal-filled 45 minutes, whatever happens.
Is there a way back into this for Mel's men? Or are City going to run away with the game? Be sure to stick with us when we come back for the second half at the Etihad.
Silva and Fernandinho have been dominant in midfield for Pellegrini's men, although the former possibly needs to take more shots. Sessegnon has been lively for the visitors and is causing problems with his pace, but all in all it's looking reasonably comfortable for City.
That's HALF TIME at the Etihad and Man City go in 3-1 up over West Brom thanks to goals from their Argentina trio. The visitors showed promise and got back into the game through Dorrans, but Demichelis' tap-in restored the two-goal lead and looks to have set the hosts on their way to three points.
45' + 2'
It's a poor effort from the West Brom skipper, who gets his shot over the wall, but also well over Hart's goal as it flies behind for a goal kick, and that could well be that for the half.
45' + 1'
There's yet more dithering with the wall as the referee makes sure they're 10 yards away. Brunt is lining this one up...
Dzeko collects the ball from deep and charges down the right flank, but is easily tackled by Ridgewell before the visitors move forward and Garcia brings down Amalfitano around 30 yards from goal. We'll have two minutes of stoppage time - can the visitors pull one back here?
City clear the corner but it comes back in towards Sessegnon at the near post. Kompany is there, though, to deal with the danger and clear behind.
SO CLOSE FROM SESSEGNON!! Brunt spreads the ball wide to Dawson, who exchanges passes with Amalfitano before drilling the ball low into the area. Sessegnon finds half a yard and gets a first-time effort away, but it deflects off Kompany and loops just over the crossbar.
Silva does well to win the ball off Sessegnon in the City half and the hosts break forward as he finds Dzeko, but the striker's cross from the left doesn't find a team-mate as Olsson heads clear before Mulumbu is fouled just outside the box.
Into the final five minutes of the half, and City are stroking it around very nicely in midfield...before Zabaleta gives it straight back to the visitors with a wayward pass down the right as he ends up on a different wavelength to Aguero.
Mulumbu plays a wonderful pass out to Brunt on the left-hand side, and the West Brom skipper has plenty of time out on the flank, but wastes his chance as he produces an uncharacteristically poor cross, slicing it straight out for a goal kick.
Another lovely move from City sees Dzeko drive in from the right and play the ball into Fernandinho, who lays it off for the Bosnia striker, and he tries a speculative first-time effort from 30 yards which goes straight into Foster's arms.
The pressure relents slightly as the visitors win a corner, but Kompany wins it back in midfield before showing some fancy footwork to keep hold of the ball. Not bad for a centre-back!
Mel will be very disappointed with the marking at that corner, and there's more danger as the hosts win another, but Dorrans does well to head this one away at the near post.
Assist Vincent Kompany
Goal Martín Demichelis
GOOOOOALLL!! DEMICHELIS MAKES IT 3-1!! The visitors deal with the first delivery but City quickly win another, and Nasri swings in a lovely ball to the near post. Kompany flicks a header on and Demichelis is unmarked at the far post to put away a simple tap-in.
West Brom have a chance to go forward as Amalfitano advances down the right, but Sessegnon loses out as he falls over when going past Fernandinho. Kompany then cuts out a pass intended for Vydra before setting up a quick counter, which sees Dzeko's snap shot deflect behind for a corner.
Silva is again involved as he holds the ball off Mulumbu and moves towards the left, but Clichy is too far back and he has no option but to turn back around and go right, slowing down the move in the process.
Inside the final 15 minutes of the half, and it feels like West Brom's fightback has fizzled out. Pellegrini's men are slowly turning the screw once more and you wouldn't bet against them adding to their lead before the break.
Dawson gives it straight to Garcia in midfield, and he finds Silva ahead of him. The Spaniard chips a beautiful ball over the top for Aguero, who chases hard but can only just hook his foot around it, flicking it up into the air and on to the top of the net.
The hosts are starting to take control of things once more, and West Brom are staying in shape behind the ball. Sessegnon works very hard to press Garcia, though, and forces City backwards into their own half again.
Nasri shows good strength to hold on to the ball in midfield, but then hesitates on the ball and is quickly closed down by Brunt and Sessegnon, eventually having to go back to Kompany to keep possession for City.
Aguero looks to get in behind as he chases Clichy's ball down the left-hand side, but the flag goes up for offside against the City striker.
Fernandinho shows lovely skill and strength to hold off both Dorrans and Mulumbu before setting Silva away. The hosts lose possession but quickly regain it before the ball is worked wide to Nasri, who spurns a good position by firing a cross way too hard and out the other end of the box.
City have already completed 150 passes this evening, according to Sky Sports. David Silva possibly should have made one or two fewer, though, when he's been in a good shooting position.
The visitors win a free kick on halfway and Dawson launches it high towards the area. Olsson flicks it on but Kompany clears - only as far as Brunt, who whips in a decent cross from the left which Hart does well to hold on to.
We're well into this first half, and West Brom have given a very good account of themselves since going two goals down. There are quite a few similarities to Liverpool's game with Norwich yesterday, in fact.
BRUNT!! The skipper drills the ball straight at Hart from the right-hand side, and he almost parries it straight into the feet of Amalfitano. Fortunately for the City shot-stopper, the flag is up as three men were offside as the ball came into the box.
Yellow Card Martín Demichelis
Mulumbu plays the ball forward to Sessegnon, who shows yet more of his pace as he charges past Demichelis, forcing a foul from the defender, who goes into the book for his troubles and gives West Brom a chance to load the area...
Silva steals the ball in midfield and all of a sudden City have three on three. The Spaniard plays wide to Dzeko who gives it straight back. He shapes to shoot but dummies, taking out two defenders in the process, before trying to give it back to Dzeko when a shot would have been better, and Olsson cuts it out.
Well...Vincent Kompany has just tried to score from the halfway line! Never thought I'd say that! He spots Foster off his line and looks to chip it over the Baggies goalkeeper, but his effort is too hard and the ball goes behind for a goal kick.
Yellow Card Craig Dawson
West Brom are showing good pace on the counter as Vydra chases Dawson's long ball forward, but eventually loses out to Demichelis before Dawson earns a booking for a foul on Garcia on halfway.
The hosts have possession once more, and their build-up play looks a little more measure now. Silva flicks the ball back to Clichy but is caught in possession by Amalfitano.
That free-kick routine certainly needs practice. Pellegrini will be furious. Fair play to the visitors though, as they still had a lot of work to do to get up the other end.
Assist Matěj Vydra
Goal Graham Dorrans
DORRANS PULLS ONE BACK!! What a disastrous free kick from City!! Fernandinho and Silva get it all wrong with the short kick, and it eventually comes wide to Zabaleta, who is caught in possession and West Brom charge down the other end. It's played into Dorrans, who flicks it on to his left foot before firing a sweet volley past Hart to silence the crowd.
There's a fair bit of messing around in the wall going on, here. Fernandinho and Silva are standing over it...
Silva again causing absolute chaos among the West Brom ranks, and he sees off Dorrans before Nasri takes over and is felled cynically by Mulumbu, who goes into the book, and City have a free kick around 30 yards from goal in a central position...
DZEKO!! The City pressure doesn't look like relenting just yet as Silva finds a pocket of space to receive the ball from Silva, and he slides a lovely pass through for Dzeko, who blasts his effort high and wide.
Aguero's strike was City's 90th in the Premier League this season. With another four games left after this, could they make the century? They look like they fancy getting closer to it this evening.
SESSEGNON!! The visitors so nearly pull one back! Amalfitano pops up on the edge of the box and receives the ball with his back to goal. He lays off to Sessegnon, who takes a touch before hammering a right-footed effort from 25 yards which whistles past Hart's post.
Goal Sergio Agüero
AGUEROOOOOOO!! CITY ARE TWO UP!! It's a wonderful goal for City as he evades the challenge of Amalfitano, and from 25 yards out the diminutive striker unleashes a powerful low shot which skips past Foster and into the far corner.
Foster deals with the corner, albeit at the second time of asking, and West Brom survive the latest danger. This is a much more intense start from the hosts compared to Wednesday's game with Sunderland - they must have been watching Liverpool...
Replays show that one was pretty close and City may have got away with one, there. They come straight back up the other end, though, and Dzeko sees a shot deflected behind after more superb work from Silva.
DISALLOWED!! West Brom nearly back in it!! Sessegnon slides a lovely ball between the defence for Amalfitano, and the wide man slides the ball across the six-yard box to give Vydra the easiest of tap-ins, but he was offside as he latched on to the initial pass.
AGUERO!! City look really up for this, and Nasri again causes havoc down the right-hand side, sliding a pass into the area for Silva, who sees a shot blocked but City come straight back and Nasri charges into the box once more. He squares to Aguero, who fires a first-time effort just over the bar.
That's exactly the start City wanted, but it's a nightmare for Mel's side, who haven't turned up yet. A difficult task just got even harder for the visitors.
Goal Pablo Zabaleta
GOOOOOALLLL!!! ZABALETA OPENS THE SCORING!! It's all too easy for City as Nasri skips past Mulumbu on the right and drills a low cross in. Ridgewell's header goes straight to Aguero, whose volleyed effort is well saved by Foster, but Zabaleta is first to the rebound to head it across goal and into the net.
Aguero steals the ball from Mulumbu in midfield as the Baggies look a little nervy early on. Dzeko then receives the ball 25 yards out and spins around Mulumbu before seeing a shot blocked by Olsson.
We're underway at the Etihad as West Brom get the ball rolling for the first half.
The players are out and we're almost ready to go. Here's hoping for another dramatic chapter in this incredible Premier League season! Kick-off is just a couple of minutes away.
The Baggies have failed to score on their last three visits to the Etihad, while the hosts have only drawn a blank once in their last 66 Premier League home fixtures, scoring 177 times in those games. Things have dried up since earlier in the season, though, so can Mel's men spring a surprise?
West Brom are enjoying a mini resurgence at the moment, going three games unbeaten and picking up five points in the process, but two of those three were 3-3 draws - both of which they probably should have won.
The hosts sit nine points behind leaders Liverpool and absolutely must win if they are to have any chance of lifting their second Premier League title in three seasons. They haven't gone two top-flight home games without a win since December 2012, so the omens are good for them tonight.
Pepe Mel, meanwhile, makes two changes from the draw with Tottenham - both at the back - as Craig Dawson and Billy Jones come into defence in place of Stephen Reid and Gareth McAuley. James Morrison is restricted to the bench after picking up an ankle injury but Jonas Olsson has shrugged off an achilles problem to start for the Baggies.
David Silva makes returns to the Manchester City XI after sitting out the draw against Sunderland with an ankle injury, as Manuel Pellegrini makes three changes, with Gael Clichy and Edin Dzeko also coming into the side. Yaya Toure is still absent, though, with the groin injury picked up in the defeat at Liverpool.
West Brom subs: Myhill, Morrison, Anichebe, Yacob, Lugano, Berahino, Reid.
West Brom (4-4-2): Foster; Jones, Dawson, Olsson, Ridgewell; Amalfitano, Mulumbu, Dorrans, Brunt; Sessegnon, Vydra.
Man City subs: Pantilimon, Lescott, Richards, Kolarov, Milner, Negredo, Jovetic.
Manchester City (4-4-2): Hart; Zabaleta, Kompany, Demichelis, Clichy; Nasri, Garcia, Fernandinho, Silva; Dzeko, Aguero.
Tonight's teams have been announced so let's look at the line-ups, starting with Manuel Pellegrini's side...
The hosts need a win to keep their title hopes alive, while Pepe Mel's men will be hoping to get what they can as they try to muster up points for their survival bid. But who will come out on top in Manchester?
Hello and welcome to LIVE coverage of the Premier League and another crucial game in this fascinating season, as Manchester City host West Brom in a match which impacts both ends of the table.
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