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West Bromwich Albion
West Ham United
12 April 2012
• Etihad Stadium, Manchester
Referee: K. Friend
• Attendance: 46746
S. Agüero 6', 54'
C. Tévez 61'
David Silva 64'
West Bromwich Albion
Wigan have beaten Manchester United by 1-0 and thanks to their win tonight City have close the gap back to five points. The race for the Premier League title is back on!!
That's it City have won here in style and with Wigan still leading Manchester United at the DW Stadium this result could be huge. Mancini's men looked back to their best with Silva and Nasri pulling all the strings while Aguero and Tevez finished them off. West Brom were awful and had the look of a side just waiting for the season to finish.
Goal.com's man at the Etihad Stadium, Greg Stobart, reports: "The game has rather petered out here at the Etihad, with City happy with their four-goal lead and key players substituted by Roberto Mancini as he looks ahead to their trip to Norwich on Saturday. The home fans in front of me are trying desperately not to get excited about the scoreline at the DW Stadium - they seem convinced that Manchester United will find at least one late goal."
West Brom tried to surge forward with Tchoyi as he was played in by Shorey however he was met with a thunderous tackles by Kompany who then won the ball with a strong shoulder charge. Excellent play from the City captain he knocked the Baggies man off the ball with ease and Tchoyi's no lightweight.
Slight chance for Edin Dzeko as he's played in behind the Albion defence but before he can get his shot away he's crowded out by defenders rushing back.
City are sitting back now and seem content with their four goal lead. Aguero, Silva and Tevez have all been withdrawn as Mancini could be looking to Saturday and Norwich with this game all but secure. West Brom have the look of a team waiting for the end of the season.
West Brom haven't had a kick in the second-half City have been simply outstanding. They look a completely different team to the one that lost 1-0 to Arsenal at the Emirates on Sunday. A team transformed.
Isaac Leonard on Twitter, sums up the thinking of City fans across the world: "with United a goal behind this win brings ..HOPE"
Aguero has been sensational tonight and so nearly got his hat-trick as substitute Adam Johnson raided down the left and hit a cross towards the back-post where the Argentine was lurking but his diving header just went over the bar, much to the relief of Foster.
Well what a second-half this has been. Ever since news of Wigan's goal has filtered through City have been all over West Brom. Their passing is back to it's best and they're breaking with pace. Silva and Aguero look like the players they were at the back end of the last year. This could end up being five or six here.
GOALL!! Another goal for City and this time it's Silva whose got it. They're running rampant now and this goal is down to pressure from Clichy as he challenged Olsson, the ball fell to Aguero who broke down the middle with pace and fed Silva who finished sublimely dinking the ball over Foster.
GOALLL!!!! It's a goal for Carlos Tevez and it looks like he enjoyed it. It's a great goal from City, as Nasri fed Aguero down the left who cut the ball back into the box for Tevez who fired in from close range despite the attempts of Jones to keep the ball out.
City have been reinvigorated by the news from the DW Stadium that Wigan have taken the lead against Manchester United. The team and the crowd have responded. Greg Stobart reports: "Word gets around the Etihad Stadium that Manchester United are losing at Wigan and the scoreline is greeted by a huge roar from the City fans followed by a rousing rendition of Blue Moon."
CHANCE!! Samir Nasri comes so close to adding a third for City. Mancini's side break with pace down the right with Silva and Aguero. The Argentine picks out the former Arsenal man who drills a left-footed shot which goes just past the post.
GOALLL!!! It's Aguero again as he doubles City's lead with a lovely finish into the bottom corner. Nasri laid a lovely through ball for the striker who took it on his instep and stroked the ball into the right hand corner to beat Foster.
Great intervention by Dawson to stop Silva's through ball to Tevez. The Argentine would have been one-on-one with Foster if not for the challenge of the young defender. Great stuff.
Our man at the Etihad Stadium, Greg Stobart reports: "Manchester City start the second-half in the same fashion that they played the first 45 minutes. David Silva dances down the right wing before crossing for Samir Nasri, who doesn’t quite catch his left footed volley as intended and sees his effort from 12 yards ruffle the side netting. West Brom have spent the entire game with 10 men behind the ball and don’t look like changing that policy any time soon."
CHANCE! Nasri hits the sidenetting after latching onto Silva's perfect cross but the former Arsenal man couldn't get his volley on target and the opportunity was spurned.
Better passing moves from West Brom at the start of the second-half as they shifted the ball around nicely in the midfield before they try to hit the ball up to Long and they lose possession. They can't be hoofing balls upto Long against Kompany and Lescott.
We're back underway at the Etihad Stadium.
Half-time at the Etihad Stadium and Manchester City deserve their lead at the break as Aguero's sixth minute strike separates the sides. City dominated possession and could have doubled or trebled their lead however they couldn't take the chances on offer. West Brom started slow but grew in confidence as the half wore on but they'll need to improve if they want to get anything out of this game.
Kompany has to be at his best to stop Long getting through one-on-one with Hart as he nips in at the last second to take the ball away from the Irish international after Lescott had failed to clear his lines.
Tevez has looked busy on his return to the starting line-up. He's trying to link-up with Aguero and Silva to create chances. He's also having efforts himself as his latest shot from outside the area forces a corner as Olsson gets in the way and makes a good block.
West Brom seem to be growing confidence after weathering the City storm. They're starting to pass the ball around with freedom and are looking to get Long more involved as he look a tad isolated in the early stages of this game.
The game's settled down after a busy five minutes as City came so close to adding a second and in the clearance off the line it looks as though the ball hit Dawson on the hand. A let off for the Baggies, who do look a threat on the break but they've yet to test Joe Hart.
OFF THE LINE!!! Richards comes so close to getting City's second. Tevez slides a wonderful ball through to the right-back who takes a touch before lashing a left-footed shot at goal but Dawson covers for his keeper and blocks the ball on the line clearing the ball behind for a corner.
First half-chance for West Brom as they break down the right and Cox fizzes a dangerous ball across the face of goal but Long is not on the wavelength and can't latch onto the pass.
Another chance for Barry as Aguero raids down the left and cuts the ball back to the England man on the edge of the area who opts for placement rather than power but his effort is blocked by Dawson and is cleared by the Baggies.
Gareth Barry nearly gets into a good position this time but his touch lets him down at the crucial moment as all he had to do was take the ball past Youssuf Mulumbu and he was one-on-one with Foster. However his touch was heavy and allowed the Baggies midfielder in to clear.
Chance! City nearly double their lead as Tevez and Silva play a lovely one-two in the box, with the Spaniard then shooting from a tight angle which forces a good save from Foster who claims the ball at the second attempt.
West Brom just can't get out of their own half at the minute. City are pressing them deep in their own half and this is forcing mistakes which Silva nearly takes advantage of but he can't get his effort on target after robbing the ball off Billy Jones.
City are all over the Baggies at the minute, their passing is slick in and their movement is good in and around the box. It's last ditch stuff in defence from Roy Hodgson's side which they surely can't do all game.
CHANCE! For Tevez he gets the ball on the edge of the area from Silva but he blasts the ball well over the bar. Pretty poor from that position from the Argentine.
West Brom are backing off and giving David Silva far too much space which he's loving as the Spaniard's pulling the strings in midfield bringing Tevez and Aguero into play in dangerous areas.
This looks like the Manchester City from the start of the season. Their confidence is up and they're passing the ball around nicely. West Brom are giving them space and time on the ball which if they continue to do so they'll be punished again.
GOALL!!!! City take the lead and it's Sergio Aguero whose got the goal. It's a great finish after he picks the ball up in midfield and drives towards the West Brom goal before striking a vicious effort from 25 yards which flies into the bottom corner beating Ben Foster. Lovely finish from the Argentine, for his 18th Premier League goal of the season.
Mancini's side have respond through Sergio Aguero who raids down the left and cuts inside onto his right foot with menace. He fires a shot at goal but Billy Jones gets his body in the way and blocks his effort.
Nervy start from City as Vincent Kompany mis-controls the ball and nearly allows Shane Long in. His clearance is poor and allows West Brom a chance at goal through Simon Cox but his effort goes harmlessly past the post.
We're underway at the Etihad Stadium.
Roy Hodgson has made five changes to his West Brom side that beat Blackburn 3-0 on Saturday with Nicky Shorey, Craig Dawson, Paul Scharner, Simon Cox and Shane Long all coming into the team.
Aside from Tevez, Roberto Mancini has made four other changes bringing back Micah Richards, Gael Clichy, the fit-again David Silva and Nigel de Jong. They replace Pablo Zabaleta, Aleksander Kolarov, Yaya Toure and of course the suspended Mario Balotelli from City's 1-0 loss to Arsenal at the weekend.
The big team news tonight is Carlos Tevez starts his first game since September for City. The Argentine went AWOL from the club last year after allegedly refusing to play against Bayern Munich in the Champions League. However he returned last month and has made a few substitute appearances since then, most notably against Chelsea where he set-up Samir Nasri's winner.
TEAM NEWS: West Brom (4-5-1): Foster; Jones, Dawson, Olsson, Shorey; Cox, Scharner, Mulumbu, Andrews, Dorrans; Long. Subs: Daniels, McAuley, Odemwingie, Fortune, Tchoyi, Hurst, Roofe.
TEAM NEWS: Manchester City (4-4-2): Hart; Richards, Kompany, Lescott, Clichy; De Jong, Barry; Silva, Nasri; Tevez, Aguero. Subs: Pantilimon, Zabaleta, Kolarov, Milner, Pizarro, Johnson, Dzeko.
West Brom meanwhile are safe from the threat of relegation and are only looking to push as high up the Premier League table as possible. They've improved as the season has worn on and have an impressive away record so they'll give City a good test tonight.
This game is another must win for Manchester City as they can't afford for the gap between them and Manchester United to increase if they have any hope of still winning the title.
Welcome to Goal.com's LIVE! commentary of this evening's Premier League clash between Manchester City and West Brom at the Etihad Stadium. I'm Simon Sinclair and I'll be taking you through all the action as it happens tonight. Feel free to get involved by tweeting me @Sinc90
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