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Premier League

  • 12 April 2012
  • • 00:15
  • • Etihad Stadium, Manchester
  • Referee: K. Friend
  • • Attendance: 46746
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Manchester City 4-0 West Brom: Aguero & Tevez star to move rampant hosts back into Premier League title race

Premier League

Manchester City 4-0 West Brom: Aguero & Tevez star to move rampant hosts back into Premier League title race

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Goals from their Argentine strike pair and one from David Silva saw Roberto Mancini's men keep up the pressure on United by cutting the gap at the top to five points

Manchester City ran out comfortable 4-0 winners over West Brom to close the gap to Manchester United at the top of the Premier League to just five points.

The home side took an early 1-0 lead thanks to Sergio Aguero’s sixth-minute strike past Ben Foster, and were dominant in terms of the possession from then on. Second-half goals from Aguero, Carlos Tevez and David Silva then gave the scoreline a deservedly dominant feel.

Mancini made just two changes for the game, giving Tevez his first start for Manchester City since September, while Yaya Toure was replaced by Nigel de Jong after suffering an injury against Arsenal.

Meanwhile, Baggies manager Roy Hodgson made five changes to the side that beat Blackburn 3-0 at the weekend. Nicky Shorey and Simon Cox replaced the injured duo of Liam Ridgewell and Chris Brunt, while Craig Dawson, Paul Scharner and lone striker Shane Long all earned recalls.

Both sides started in a confident fashion, and each had early attempts on goal, with Simon Cox dragging a shot wide for West Brom after a nervy clearance by Citys captain Vincent Kompany, and Sergio Aguero seeing a shot blocked.

However, it was the home side that took an early advantage. After getting the ball and surging forward, Aguero let a shot go from just outside the penalty area, and it flew beyond Foster to give Manchester City a 1-0 lead in only the sixth minute.

It was a superb start for the team in second place in the Premier League, and they began to dominate possession, particularly on the wings, as Micah Richards and Samir Nasri settled well into the game in the opening stages.

It did not take long for Tevez to have his first impact, as after some intricate one-touch passing, he blazed a shot over the bar in the 12th minute.

Meanwhile, the away side were struggling to keep possession for any length of time in the face of some superb defensive pressure from the hosts, with their lone striker Shane Long looking increasingly isolated, even in the opening 20 minutes of the first half.

The home side’s talismanic midfielder David Silva had been relatively quiet from the start, but he sprung to life in the 21st minute with his incisive running creating two half-chances; one of which was dealt with by West Brom’s Billy Jones, and the other clung onto by the Baggies' goalkeeper Foster.

Despite some moments of hope for the away side, Man City had another clear scoring chance in the 30th minute. A superb through ball from Tevez put Micah Richards in on goal and, despite cries for offside, he got his shot away only to see it blocked on the line by Jonas Olsson.

However, neither side could create any more genuine goal-scoring opportunities, and despite the home side largely dominating possession and forcing West Brom to look to play on the counterattack, the first half finished with City up 1-0.

The second half began in slightly cagey fashion, with both sides looking to assert their dominance in a crowded midfield. However, the home side quickly began to take control once again, and saw Nasri flash a first-time volley just wide of the near post after a superb right-footed cross from Silva.

City then doubled their advantage in the 53rd minute, with Nasri involved once again. The Frenchman began an intricate passing move and his through ball found its way to Aguero, who finished calmly, side-footing in to make it 2-0 to the home side.

West Brom looked downcast, with lone striker Long still isolated with no other forward for company, and it was not long before the home side extended their advantage further. After yet more good work from Nasri on the left, Aguero played a square ball into the penalty area which was finished with aplomb by Tevez, the Argentine celebrating his first start since September with a goal.

However, the home side refused to rest on their laurels, and only four minutes later they had another. After Aguero picked the ball up around the centre circle, he played a superb through ball to Silva, who chipped his finish over the onrushing Foster to make it four.

The following half-hour saw both sides go through the motions somewhat and, despite substitute Adam Johnson making some headway on the left-hand side for the hosts, neither team could add create more clear chances.

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