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May 7, 2013
• Etihad Stadium, Manchester
Referee: P. Dowd
• Attendance: 46158
E. Džeko 35'
West Bromwich Albion
Debate will rage on about whether City's fringe players did well enough to earn themselves permanent spots in the side today, while many Baggies players gave Steve Clarke food for though. The action itself is up for tonight, though, and Roberto Mancini's men are the worthy winners. I've been Tim Poole, folks, and until next time - goodbye!
The best player out there was - by far - Carlos Tevez, though, and the Argentine was at the heart of everything blue throughout the 90 minutes. Credit must also be given to Markus Rosenberg, Youssouf Mulumbu and, of course, Romelu Lukaku, however. The Baggies trio were terrific today and almost grabbed their side a point.
So Edin Dzeko's first-half winner sees Manchester City guarantee Champions League football next season and give them the perfect warm-up for their upcoming FA Cup Final against Wigan this weekend. Dzeko was an effective performer - and so were Samir Nasri, Jack Rodwell and James Milner, who were unlucky not to net themselves.
90' + 3'
FULL-TIME! Steve Clarke looks a forlorn figure, although his side's performance should fill him with nothing but hope. Still, it's City who leave home with the three points today.
90' + 2'
No late drama as of yet as Tevez makes his way off the pitch to a grateful ovation from the home faithful.
90' + 1'
Nothing comes of the free kick and we will have no less than THREE minutes of injury time here at the Etihad! Can the Baggies grab an equaliser or will Mancini's squad players run off with another three points?
FREE KICK! The away side are awarded a set-piece on the edge of the area after a clumsy challenge from Maicon.
Barry is the next man to fire at Myhill, only this time the effort is harmless. City should be more than one up here but, at the same time, the visitors have had enough chances to be on the scoresheet as well.
SAVE! Dzeko's effort is deflected into the path of Myhill as the hosts push forward in search of the second goal that would all but kill this game off.
WOEFUL! Substitute Maicon is fed in by Milner and the Brazilian attempts to cut inside and hit the top corner with the outside of his foot. His hopes were high, with him having done so against North Korea at the 2010 World Cup - but on this occasion, he sent the ball into Row Z, a shocking effort!
The home side push forward in response as Maicon and Tevez attempt to cause trouble in the box. The danger is cleared, however, and the ball sent back upfield - but Odemwingie spurns possession with a tame cross.
Sebastien Gabriel Tamaş
Another chance! Lukaku plays Long in and his first contribution is a near-post shot that flashes just past Hart.
CHANCE! West Brom really should have done better. Mulumbu cut inside from the right once more - he is having a terrific second half - and crossed to Billy Jones. However, a weak finish allowed City to clear with ease. With the amount of possession they are seeing, the visitors should be troubling the home side more here.
The pace of this game has really slowed down here as both sides seem content to play out the remainder of the encounter without too much drama. Clarke, though, is intent on urging his side forward for an equaliser. Peter Odemwingie has already been thrown on - and Shane Long is warming up.
Rosenberg fires just wide for the visitors once again before a substitution for either side.
As Samir Nasri makes way for Gareth Barry after a good 72-minute shift, BIG news comes in from Wigan - they are now a goal down thanks to a Tiendalli strike. Wigan 2 Swansea 3.
Milner now tests Myhill with a shot from inside the area. It is not his best effort of the match, though, and considering the fact that he could not find the net with better strikes in the first half - this was never troubling the Baggies stopper.
The corner is cleared and Tevez - surging forward on the counterattack - is hauled down by set-piece taker Morrison.
Mulumbu whips the ball in but there is no one on the end of the pinging cross! Lukaku then lays the ball off to Rosenberg, whose effort from distance is deflected for a corner.
After that brief attempt at boxing (not a very good one, mind), the away side are back on the ball with Lukaku and Ridgewell advancing into the City half.
Yellow CardSamir Nasri
Yellow CardClaudio Yacob
FIGHT, FIGHT, FIGHT! The handbags are out as Yacob and Nasri go head to head after a free kick is given away for a foul on the Frenchman. Referee Phil Dowd books them both.
The corner is a woeful one from Tevez, however, proving that even he is human.
DOUBLE CHANCE FOR CITY! Straight up the other end we go for a surprise attack as first Nasri sees his cross come to nothing before Rodwell then forces a corner from the far post.
This is incessant pressure from Clarke's side and the home defenders are hardly helping themselves by giving the ball away inside their own half. Once again, though, the issue remains whether the visitors can find that killer touch in front of goal.
Lukaku tries to send a header home from the ensuing free kick but it is cleared for a corner, before yet another clearance leads to yet another corner for the away side.
More pressure from the big man Lukaku sees the Baggies earn a free kick after a rough challenge from Jolean Lescott.
A rare mistake from Tevez back here sees Lukaku almost slipped in for the visitors, meanwhile. They are knocking on the door but can they offer enough in the final third to breach the City backline?
Yet MORE news from the DW Stadium as Schechter equalises for the visitors. The Latics never do it the easy way, do they? It is now Wigan 2 Swansea 2.
A chance straight up the other end, though, as Rosenberg comes close yet again! The Sweden man and Lukaku have easily been the away side's best players today.
TEVEZ... almost feeds Dzeko in once more. The Argentine is fully delivering on those tricks I promised you all at half-time and after several turns either way, he plays a terrific through ball into the air but it is a percentage too heavy for the Bosnian.
Just like in the first half, the away side have come out firing here and Mancini's men are struggling to get the ball off them.
More news from the DW Stadium as McCarthy puts the home side back into the lead: Wigan 2 Swansea 1!
CROSSBAR! Not only did the Sweden man win the free kick but he took it - and how. He absolutely smashed that onto the bar and is extremely unlucky not to have leveled for the visitors. Is the forward fighting for his West Brom future?
Back to the Etihad and Rosenberg has won his side a free kick only yards outside the area after a clumsy challenge on the striker from Javi Garcia.
News from the other clash: Angel Rangel has equalised for Swansea; the score is now Wigan 1 Swansea 1.
We're off! The Baggies get things restarted for the second half. Can they claw their way back into this evening's clash? They'll have to do better than Lukaku's attempted pass just now...
Still, Mancini's men cannot at all be displeased with their lead - especially after coming under fire so early in the game. The second half is minutes away so stay with us; you won't want to miss the sensational tricks that are undoubtedly in store from Tevez and co.
Jack Rodwell and James Milner then seemed to take it upon themselves to double, treble and even quadruple the home side's lead - but fired wide, over, at the post or straight at Myhill on every occasion. It is a mystery as to how the hosts are not more than 1-0 up at the break.
City hit back, though, and the superb performance of Carlos Tevez started to make a difference half-way through the first 45. Surging down the right flank at will, the Argentine was instrumental and he created his side's only goal with a pinpoint cross to Edin Dzeko with 10 minutes to go before the break.
So the hosts have the lead at the break and - looking at their respective positions in the table and financial outlay on players - it's what you would expect going into the game. However, Steve Clarke's Baggies started terrifically, with star man Romelu Lukaku coming close twice in the space of as many minutes right from kick-off.
45' + 3'
HALF-TIME! City lead 1-0 at the break.
45' + 1'
Another chance for City and I do not need to tell you who has just hit the ball over from the edge of the area. In fairness, you might guess Milner but no, it's Rodwell. Between the pair, there have been at least five golden opportunities so far this half - and that's no exaggeration.
Big news at the other end of the table, meanwhile: Espinoza has put Wigan 1-0 up against Swansea!
Three minutes of added time are held up and you can't help but feel the visitors would love to go in for the half-time break as soon as possible. Such a shame considering they started so well...
Would you believe it? Milner comes close again! This time, the midfielder delivers perhaps his best strike as he curls a low effort onto Myhill's left post. Had that been on target, there would have been little the West Brom stopper could have done.
CHANCES GALORE! City come close yet again and you can guess the culprits as Rodwell and Milner are denied by Myhill before the former then wins a corner with a strike from distance. These two seem desperate to score!
Boy has Tevez been terrific down the right-hand side today. Another player looking to make his mark is Lukaku, though, and his contribution sets up half a chance for the visitors - though a wayward cross then sends the ball out for a goal kick.
The home side have another corner after some superb antics from Tevez. The forward actually stopped and flick the ball into the air on the edge of the area before crossing it into Dzeko once again. The Bosnian, however, fired over and then headed straight at Myhill moments later.
City are now dictating possession with ease. All credit to the away side for how they started but it seems that this result can only go one way from here.
GOAL! DZEKO! Well, there's a lot to say about this one. The move was started off - uncharacteristically - by Nasri winning possession and playing it down the right to Tevez. There was a hint of offside but the Argentine was adjudged to be on and he stormed down the byline and crossed fantastically to Dzeko, who finished on the volley from inside the area to put City 1-0 up.
CHANCE! Rodwell and then Tevez! First off, a superb cross was whipped into the Englishman but he seemed to point blank refuse to head the ball from only a couple of yards out. Tevez then followed that up with a strike similar to his one a few minutes earlier and he came even closer on this occasion, hitting the bar!
A corner now for City. Can they break the deadlock before the break? They have certainly stepped up a gear in the last few minutes.
AND AGAIN! Milner shoots over from inside the area! The England midfielder should have done better in this case after receiving the ball with sufficient time to deliver a timely strike. The home side have enjoyed 63% of possession in the last five minutes, meanwhile.
Milner comes close! The chances are coming thick and fast for both sides - Myhill comes to the Baggies' rescue once again on this occasion.
It's Rosenberg's turn once again to take a crack at goal but his shot goes straight to Hart in what is, in the end, a tame effort.
OOOOH! Close from Tevez as the Argentine curls an expertly taken shot just wide and over from outside the area. The South American showed typical flair and poise with the effort but it ultimately failed to trouble Myhill in between the sticks.
Yellow CardAleksandar Kolarov
The Serbian is booked for his challenge but it is more out of clumsiness for that high-footed challenge.
Tamas walks off for some treatment but the Romanian should be fine to continue thereafter. He was caught in the back of the neck by the studs of Kolarov, though there was no intentional malice or aggression involved.
There's been an off-the-ball clash here as Kolarov has injured Gabriel Tamas with a wayward foot.
And the hosts keep pushing! A cross from Tevez flashes across goal but no blue shirt can get onto the end of it. Are the home side starting to wake from hibernation?
CHANCE! City almost open the scoring as Myhill fluffs a delivery in the air, allowing Jack Rodwell to pounce on a loose ball just on the edge of the six-yard area. The midfield youngster, however, can only smash the ball over from close range.
Micah Richards and Tevez proceed to pass between each other with some flair but the Argentine's effort can only lead to a corner, which is then collected with ease by Myhill.
Since Lukaku's quick-fire efforts in the first few minutes, things have dried up in terms of clearcut chances. Aleksandar Kolarov does show a strong desire to win his side a throw-in down the left, though.
Today sees a rare start for Kolo Toure at the heart of the City defence; will he be on his way at come the start of next season? He has been relatively faultless so far today but his team-mates seem intent on giving the ball away to the visitors on a regular basis.
Milner is now frustrated down the left-hand side as the ball trickles out of play for another goal kick for Boas Myhill in the Baggies' goal.
The visitors have the ball back in what is looking like a calm and composed display. Have Manchester City simply gone home for the summer? Mancini's men could only manage a 0-0 draw at Swansea at the weekend and they are hardly looking a dominant force so far this evening.
The home side are now able to string together several fluent passes for the first time today but their attempts to play forward Edin Dzeko through inside the opposition penalty area result in a loss of possession.
But we're straight back up the City end for the next chance as Lukaku feeds Markus Rosenberg, who curls his effort just wide of the post. The Swedish forward has struggled for playing time so far this campaign but Clarke is clearly willing to let him prove himself as the season draws to a close.
More positive from the hosts now as Carlos Tevez fires just wide from outside the penalty area.
Roberto Mancini's side are really struggling to establish themselves here and their first real advance into the away half ends with the ball trickling out from under the feet of Samir Nasri and off the park for a West Brom goal kick.
It has been all West Brom so far, who have enjoyed two notable chances in the opening five minutes. It is not often away sides have such joy at the Etihad but the Baggies are enjoying their finest ever season...
Lukaku comes close again! After a corner for the visitors, Manchester City attempt to retain possession in their own half but are bullied off the ball by Steve Clarke's side. Cue the 19-year-old striker once again who - this time from further out - unleashes a powerful low shot that just flashes past Hart's right post.
CHANCE! Romelu Lukaku gets things underway with a bang as the Chelsea loanee is the first to strike at goal; the 19-year-old cuts inside in the first couple of minutes and strikes at the near-post. Joe Hart is more than equal to the West Brom striker's shot, though - but it's been a bright start from the Baggies.
We're OFF! Tonight's Premier League encounter is underway and the hosts - last year's champions - are the side to get things kicked off for us.
Kick-off is but minutes away so sit back, relax and enjoy the best football coverage in the world right here on Goal.com.
Here's a little snippet for you from our man at the Etihad, meanwhile: Tom Marshall-Bailey says: "The stats don't read particularly well for the Baggies this evening. City have kept a clean sheet in six of their last eight games at home and, at the other end, Carlos Tevez continues to fire on all cylinders. The Argentinian has struck three times in his last four on home soil. Add to the fact, Steve Clarke's side have won just three of their last 11 on the road and it all points towards a City win this evening. Consolation for the visitors? This is already the club's most successful Premier League season ever."
And the visitors are lining up like this: Myhill; Tamas, Dawson, Olsson; Jones, Mulumbu, Morrison, Yacob, Ridgewell; Rosenberg, Lukaku. Subs: Foster, Dorrans, Long, Popov, Reid, Odemwingie, McAuley.
The team news for the home side today: Hart; Richards, Kolo Toure, Lescott, Kolarov; Garcia, Rodwell; Milner, Tevez, Nasri; Dzeko. Subs: Pantilimon, Maicon, Nastasic, Barry, Silva, Razak, Aguero.
I'm Tim Poole and I'll be guiding you through the action, so if you want to get involved, feel free to leave comments, get in touch with us on Twitter or via Facebook and be sure to have your say on all things football! The Etihad Stadium is the venue today and a strong Premier League finish is what is at stake. Neither side have any particular goals - with City already having secured Champions League football next season and West Brom ensuring survival - but something tells me a thriller is in store, anyhow.
Good evening everyone and welcome to the game all football fans are tuning into around the world. Don't believe me? Then you're surely not a fan of Manchester City and West Brom - the two sides who will be fighting it out for all three points in the Premier League today.
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