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26 December 2011
• The Hawthorns, West Bromwich
Referee: L. Mason
• Attendance: 25938
West Bromwich Albion
90' + 3'
FULL TIME! It's ended 0-0 at The Hawthorns. With Manchester United winning 5-0 against Wigan it's two points dropped for the league leaders, as Mancini's men now only lead by goal difference. On the other hand, Roy Hodgson will be delighted with a point and the solid defensive display his team showed.
90' + 1'
The last few minutes of the game have been all City, but they have still found it hard to make any in-roads into the hosts' defence. Dzeko wastes valuable possession with a wild shot from outside the box.
The corner is met by substitute Edin Dzeko, who fails to hit the target.
Balotelli twists and turns in The Baggies' box and wins a corner.
Then City have another great chance, but the offside flag is raised as Balotelli squeezes the ball through towards Silva and Aguero. It could be a nervy ending for all parties involved.
The game is becoming very stretched as it enters the final five minutes. Three chances in an extraordinary end-to-end two minutes see Silva have an effort blocked, with shouts of handball, before the home side fail to make another break count.
The Baggies' defence is still holding strong as another Silva corner is headed clear and then some collective pressure brings a handball from Gareth Barry.
Mulumbu, who is forced off with what looks like a groin injury, has had a good game defending the back-four and receives a standing ovation as he leaves the field.
Zabaleta flashes a ball across the side yard box which Foster does not come for, however there is no-one is a City shirt attacking the space.
Mancini's men are enjoying a prolonged spell of pressure now, pinging balls into the Albion box, but the home side's defence is holding firm.
West Brom's Thomas strikes the post with a fierce low drive from around 20 yards. The fans are being treated to an end-to-end game at the Hawthorns today.
Yellow Card Yaya Touré
Clumsy tackle by Yaya there on Jones, who was going nowhere, he will probably put that one down to frustration.
Milner concedes a free-kick in a dangerous position for a foul on Jerome Thomas. Brunt fires his powerful attempt just wide.
What a challenge! Nicky Shorey is playing three City players on-side as the ball is chipped in, Aguero should score but is somehow tackled by Gareth McAuley to the relief of Foster and his manager.
As we enter the final half-an-hour West Brom are still showing no signs of falling flat as they win another corner, to the delight of the home fans. The set-piece is again ineffective though.
Aguero, now playing down the middle, does well to hold the ball up on the edge of the box and then finds Silva, but the Spaniard's shot is straight at Foster and comfortably saved.
Long has a great chance to put the home side in-front with a header from close range, but he somehow missed the target. Poor miss which could cost them.
The Baggies manage to string a few passes together and win a corner after a Odemwingie shot hit Kompany. Nothing comes of it.
More great play from Balotelli, as he sees a spectacular long-range effort smack against the crossbar when it looked as if he was shaping to cross. Foster looked beaten there.
The Italian is having a much brighter second half out there as well, winning a free kick after a foul from Jones. Nasri fails to make it count.
Balotelli looks to have taken up that position out onto the left-hand-side in this second period, with Aguero swapping and moving down the middle.
Great work from Balotelli coming in off the left-wing to win a corner. He used strength and skill to battle past Jones, getting the wrong side of the defender. Then sees his cross deflected out for a corner, which comes to nothing.
West Brom win possession back and straight away attack down the left with Brunt who whips another good ball into the box, but has no-one to aim at.
Manchester City start the second-half off.
HALFTIME! After the one added minute the first-half comes to an end with the score at The Hawthorns poised at 0-0. City have definitely dominated in terms of possession and chances, although there have been few to come by. Roy Hodgson can go into the break a pleased man, his side have formed a stubborn defence and are keeping the start-studded opposition fairly quiet.
As The Baggies' striker returns to the fray, a driven from the left by Milner is put behind for a corner by Youssuf Mulumbu. However the subsequent set piece is easily caught by Foster.
Play has stopped as West Brom's Odemwingie receives treatment following a clash with Balotelli.
City are on the front-foot once more as Yaya and Silva try a neat one-two, but the final ball is overhit. Then a dangerous Silva delivery fails to find a team-mate.
The Baggies decide to go short from the corner to try and build up some much-needed possession, however Peter Odemwingie is caught off-side.
Silva's cross can only find an opposing defender's feet,which allows the hosts a counter attack. Vincent Kompany is forced, at full stretch, to put the cross from the left behind, preventing Long from connecting.
Balotelli himself then had a chance, but scuffs his shot allowing Foster a comfortable save. The Italian then had the ball in the net with a volley from an Aguero assist, however the off-side flag was raised and the goal does not stand.
Balotelli had been largely quiet in the opening half-an-hour but he shows great fight to sprint and prevent a West Brom goal-kick before passing inside to Aguero. However, the striker is muscled off the ball by Jones before he can shoot.
City win another two corners in succession, but only create a slight chance for Balotelli as he heads wide of the near post under heavy pressure from the Baggies' defence.
Scharner concedes a free kick just outside the 'D'. Mario Balotelli hit the wall with his effort from the deal-ball, winning another corner.
Aguero forces a corner off Billy Jones, following a good run at The Baggies' defence. Albion deal with the resulting corner well.
Oooh and a good chance for City. Sergio Aguero received the ball from Yaya's cross-field pass to the left wing, he then cut inside the box to and released Silva who shot over the bar. He really should have put his side 1-0 up.
The Blues are beginning to take over large portions of possession, but the Baggies are doing well to keep them out of their danger zone for the most part. But Zabaleta is enjoying a lot of space out on the right.
Joe Hart is forced to save from Paul Scharner after a second corner for Albion. The home side are certainly not allowing City to have it all their way.
Chris Brunt crosses from the left for West Brom, which is followed by a bit of pressure from the hosts and see them win a corner. Brunt delivers again but Yaya Toure manages to clear. Still level.
James Milner heads wide of the mark and then Silva's cross from the left is deflected towards Nasri, but his low drive from just outside the 18-yard box is held by Ben Foster.
A long clearance from the back leads to Shane Long also straying beyond the last man, this time for The Baggies.
Mancini's men are looking to stamp their authority on the game, as Silva tries a neat dinked ball through to Pablo Zabaleta, but the full-back is caught offside.
Another half-chance in a bright opening, this time from Samir Nasri. He was picked out by David Sliva but saw his effort blocked by the Albion defence.
Chris Brunt has a decent early chance for the home side but failed to convert it.
As expected Manchester City have dominated the possession in the opening few minutes.
We're underway at The Hawthorns.
Manchester City (4,2,3,1): Hart; Zabaleta, Kolo Toure, Kompany, Clichy; Yaya Toure, Milner; Silva, Nasri, Aguero; Balotelli Subs: Pantilimon, Lescott, Savic, Barry, de Jong, Johnson, Dzeko
West Brom (4,4,2): Foster; Jones, McAuley, Olsson, Shorey; Thomas, Mulumbu, Scharner, Brunt; Odemwingie, Long Subs: Fulop, Thorne, Dorrans, Reyes, Fortune, Dawson, Cox
Hello and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE commentary of today's Boxing Day clash between West Bromwich Albion and Manchester City. The hosts have made an impressive start to their campaign, finding themselves in 10th position, and will be hoping to dent City's title hopes by recording their 50th league victory over the Manchester outfit. The visitors bounced back from their 2-1 defeat at the hands of Chelsea with wins against both Arsenal and Stoke. Roberto Mancini has named an attacking side to try and secure all three points once again. Starting line-ups to follow.
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