Toure and Silva dominant as City secure emphatic win
FA Premier League
Monday 10 August 2015, 20.00 KO
City: Hart, Sagna, Kompany, Mangala, Kolarov, Fernandinho, Toure (Demichelis 80), Navas, Sterling (Nasri 74), Silva, Bony (Aguero 63)
Unused: Caballero, Denayer, Zabaleta, Iheanacho
Goals: Silva (9), Toure (24), Kompany (59)
Referee: Mike Dean
Man of the match: Silva
Manchester City started their season in impressive style, with a comprehensive 3-0 victory against West Bromwich Albion on Monday evening. It was an ominous warning to their title rivals. Whilst Arsenal and Chelsea had dropped points on the opening weekend, and Liverpool and United had laboured to victory, City were utterly dominant here at The Hawthorns. West Brom made for obliging hosts, with Tony Pulis conceding post-match that it was a mistake to start with two strikers, but in truth formations matter little when City are in this mood.
With Yaya Toure pulling the strings in midfield, the Blues dominated early possesion and West Brom struggled to get out of their own half. The big Ivorian looked rejuvenated after a summer's rest, and it was his scuffed shot that saw City take the lead after nine minutes. Television replays showed that David Silva got the slightest of touches, and the Spaniard will surely be awarded the goal when reviewed by the dubious goals panel.
There was no doubt, however, about City's second goal. Toure received the ball from Fernandinho midway through West Brom's half, and played a one-two with Wilfried Bony before lashing an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net. It was an emphatic finish from Toure, and Manuel Pellegrini will be hoping that the midfielder is able to recapture the form he showed in City's title winning season of 2013/14.
Raheem Sterling, making his debut for City, showed flashes of the form that led the Blues to pay £44m for his services this summer. Undeterred by the boos of the home crowd, Sterling twice came close to opening his City account but was thwarted by Boaz Myhill each time. It was, however, a promising start by the winger who will thrive in this City side once he adapts to their style of play.
City continued to dominate proceedings, with David Silva at his mercurial best. Playing in his preferred central role, Silva orchestrated City's attacks and was a constant thorn in West Brom's side. In this form there is no finer player in the Premier League.
It was from a Silva corner that City scored their third goal of the evening, as Vincent Kompany rose above Joleon Lescott at the near post to flash a header past Myhill. The home side briefly rallied, but City's defence, much maligned in pre-season punditry, held firm with Kompany and Eliaquim Mangala forming an imposing central partnership.
Sterner tests lie ahead, of course, starting with Chelsea's visit to The Etihad next weekend but Manuel Pellegrini will take great satisfaction from his side's opening performance. With Kevin De Bruyne set to complete a move from Wolfsburg this week, and Sergio Aguero to return to the fold (the Argentinian was given thirty minutes here), the signs are encouraging for the blue half of Manchester.