Emphatic first half display from City keeps pressure on Chelsea
FA Premier League
Friday 26 December 2014, 15.00 KO
City: Hart, Sagna, Demichelis, Mangala, Clichy, Fernando, Toure (c) (Fernandinho 68), Silva (Kolarov 62), Nasri (Lampard 74), Navas, Milner
Unused: Caballero, Boyata, Zabaleta, Jovetic
Goals: Fernando (7), Toure (12), Silva (33)
Referee: Mark Clattenburg
Man of the match: David Silva
After Saturday's comfortable home win against Crystal Palace, Manchester City travelled to West Brom, a ground where they have enjoyed some good results in recent years. For the clash, City manager Manuel Pellegrini decided to rest Pablo Zabaleta, Aleksandr Kolarov and Fernandinho with Bacary Sagna, Gael Clichy and Fernando all preferred.
The game started with City playing some wonderful, scintillating football, dragging the hosts all over the pitch. In the seventh minute City took a deserved lead after Jesus Navas' cross was dropped by Ben Foster. Fernando pounced, with the midfielder scoring his first goal for the club.
Having secured an early lead, City went from strength to strength. David Silva, in particular, was having one of his best games for the club. The Spaniard was simply sensational, with the Baggies defence struggling to contain him. He was hugely influential all game, and won his side a penalty in the 13th minute after being felled by Joleon Lescott.Yaya Toure cooly converted the spot kick to give his side a two goal lead.
Despite being 2-0 up, City continued to press, giving the West Brom midfield little time on the ball. Fernando picked the ball up and ran at the West Brom defence, and found Navas who in turn played the ball back to Silva. The Spaniard got his deserved goal, finishing excellently into the bottom corner.
The Blues went in at half time three goals up, which enabled Manuel Pellegrini to relax and think about Sunday's home game against Burnley. The City manager elected to bring off David Silva, Yaya Toure and Samir Nasri for Aleksandr Kolarov, Fernandinho and Frank Lampard.
The hosts themselves did respond better during the second half. Brown Ideye scored a late consolation, but in truth, it was a fairly easy afternoon for the Premier League Champions, sending out a strong message to title rivals Chelsea that even without a striker, that they are still a force to be reckoned with.