The final whistle goes and Manchester City move top of the Premier League after a 5-0 rout of West Brom. City were sensational at times and it’s going to take some stopping them in the title race, while Allardyce’s relegation-threatened Baggies have now conceded 17 home goals without reply in the four home games since he took over.
- 2nd Half
- 1/2 Time
- 1st Half
West Bromwich Albion - Manchester City
Follow the Premier League live Football match between West Bromwich Albion and Manchester City with Eurosport. The match starts at 21:15 on 26 January 2021.
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Cancelo has a go from range, but his shot is comfortable for Johnstone. He’s been outstanding tonight the City full-back, offering so much.
Robson-Kanu goes down inside the City box as West Brom make a rare foray forward, but his penalty appeals are waved away and VAR doesn't intervene.
City are in cruise control now, playing almost entirely in the West Brom half but at walking pace, content with 5-0 but probing for more nevertheless.
The set-piece is well dealt with by West Brom on this occasion, but the home side's heads have dropped.
Cancelo is the last man as West Brom clear up-field, but he weaves away from pressure and then floats a peach of a cross towards Torres that the Baggies scramble behind for a corner.
One thing we can say is that Zinchenko won't be forcing his way into the City midfield any time soon. He's a tidy player, the City full-back, but his involvement in the middle of the park has been nowhere near that of the players who went off.
That fifth City goal was really quite something. Check it out in the video below:
Still City pour forward, but Sterling's darted run into the box is well defended and the resulting corner is cleared. West Brom have done well to restrict the visitors to just the one goal since the break, but Allardyce's sulky face in the dugout tells you all you need to know about how this game has gone.
Mahrez looks for Zinchenko in the box and all the Baggies can do is shunt it behind for a corner.
What a torrid night this has been for West Brom. Games against the title challengers were never likely to be the ones that sealed their fate this season, but Sam Allardyce's side have offered absolutely nothing to suggest that they have enough to pull themselves out of relegation trouble.
Still City dominate. The intensity isn't quite there since the removal of Gundogan, Foden and Silva, but they are 5-0 up so it hardly matters.
- OffBernardo SilvaManchester City
- OnGabriel JesusManchester City
Bernardo Silva comes off and goes for a fist-bump with Guardiola… who wasn’t watching and completely snubs him. Silva’s team-mates will enjoy watching that back.
- GoalRaheem SterlingManchester City
GOOOAAALLL!!! It’s five for City as Raheem Sterling spins away from his marker and gets on the end of a first-time half-volleyed cross from Mahrez after Rodri's perfectly-weighted lofted pass. That’s a lovely goal and even Pep is impressed.
City have slightly lost their flow since the changes, with Zinchenko now operating in an unusual midfield role and struggling to replicate the dominance of Gundogan and Foden straight away (unsurprisingly).
- OffPhil FodenManchester City
- OnFerran TorresManchester City
Torres also comes on for City.
- OffIlkay GündoganManchester City
- OnAymeric LaporteManchester City
Guardiola knows this game is in the bag so takes off his two primary playmakers and gifts some much-needed playing time to fit-again Laporte.
Rodri is given time on the ball inside the West Brom half so has a pop from range and clatters a shot off the bar. What a hit that is!
Sterling shapes to shoot and instead darts past the last man and into the box, only for his final touch to run slightly too far ahead of him and give the keeper a chance to deny City a fifth.
A City corner is cleared only as far as Mahrez, whose thunderous strike from the edge of the box cannons back of a defender. That looked like it was flying in, and any hope for the Baggies that their visitors were going to let up is gone.
- OffCallum RobinsonWest Bromwich Albion
- OnKyle BartleyWest Bromwich Albion
Allardyce has made a change to try and rescue some pride from this game at least.
- 2nd Half
City get the game back underway with West Brom facing the daunting task of stemming the flow of the Premier League's in-form side.
The half-time whistle goes to put West Brom temporarily out of their misery. Manchester City have been outstanding and the win is already in the bag with 45 minutes remaining. It’s 4-0 at the break and if that lead doesn’t extend after the break then the Baggies will have done well.
- GoalRiyad MahrezManchester City
GOOOAALLL!!! It’s a fourth for City and Riyad Mahrez gets in on the act. Sterling picks him out with a floated cross-field pass and Mahrez cuts inside to open up space for a shot in a crowded penalty area before picking out the far corner. 4-0 and City are going top of the league.
City have been pretty outstanding in the last ten minutes, but one player is standing out above all. Ilkay Gundogan is pulling all of the strings in midfield and has stepped up impressively to assume creative responsibility in the absence of Kevin de Bruyne. He’s a remarkable player when in this sort of form.
Mahrez feeds Sterling but West Brom’s defenders do well to scramble back and crowd him out as the City captain cuts back onto his left foot for a shot.
Cancelo is picked out by a genius pass from Gundogan, but he opts against a shot and instead looks to tee-up Sterling and gets his pass all wrong. Cancelo was named as a right-back tonight, but he was acting as a wide forward just then. West Brom have no idea how to cope with all of this positional rotation.
Foden jinks across the face of the box and a half clearance tees it up for a shot. However both the Englishman and Silva swing a boot at it simultaneously and effectively they tackle each other – a bit of a let-off for West Brom.
West Brom hack clear but it comes straight back at them. The City attacks are coming in waves, it’s relentless, and you fear that this could get really messy for the Baggies. There’s still almost an hour of this game remaining.
The second goal from Gundogan means that the Baggies have now conceded ten more goals than any other Premier League side this season (46). Allardyce is going to have to work miracles if he’s to keep this club up, and he’s not exactly shown that he’s capable of doing that so far in his admittedly brief tenure.
- GoalIlkay GündoganManchester City
GOOOAALLL!!! City have this in the bag and there’s only half-an-hour gone. Gundogan robs Sawyers of possession on the edge of the box, jinks back onto his left peg and slides a finish into the bottom corner past a helpless Johnstone. 3-0 and realistically that’s game over.
West Brom have their first sight at goal since the opening minutes, but Robinson’s effort slides wide.
I’m not sure what to make of that. The flag did go up which suggests human error, particularly given that assistants are reportedly meant to keep it down and wait for VAR to overrule if in doubt. But there was still quite a delay between the ball being picked up by Silva and Sian Massey’s flag going up, which suggests maybe she’d been given incorrect information in her earpiece – it certainly didn’t look like the normal timing for such an offside call. It feels like we could be hearing quite a bit about that. Either way the goal stands and City are cruising.
- GoalJoão CanceloManchester City
GOOOAAALLL!!! Cancelo curls a shot in from the edge of the box even though the offside flag is raised against Bernardo Silva. The decision goes upstairs to VAR, the offside is overturned, and the goal is given! That is very strange, half of the West Brom players had stopped, but the whistle hadn’t gone and the goal stands. 2-0!
Sterling darts to the byline and fires a terrific ball across the face of goal, but there’s nobody there to get on the end of it. That, I suppose, is the downside of not picking a genuine striker in your XI.
It’s such an intriguing approach from City tonight. Their front four are constantly shifting positions, with Gundogan drifting forward into central areas whenever Foden, Silva, Mahrez or Sterling drags defenders out of position. It’s great to watch.
Mahrez goes for goal from range but his curling effort flies over the bar.
City have bossed it since the goal, but West Brom aren’t sitting quite as deep as expected. They’re leaving plenty of bodies forward to put pressure on City’s back-four and try and stop attacks early.
GOOOAAALLL!!! It's taken Man City just six minutes to open the scoring and it's the in-form Gundogan who's got it. He pulls the ball down brilliantly on the edge of the box before dispatching a terrific finish past a wrong-footed Johnstone. 1-0 City.
City attack for the first time and pick out Foden in space. His shot arrows towards the far corner, but Johnstone gets fingertips to it to deflect the ball onto the base of the post. What a save that is!
West Brom attack again and a spot of pinball inside the City box almost sees Ajayi bundle it in.
A long throw into the City box is comfortably cleared, but West Brom come straight back and Ederson is forced into a panicked punt into the stands.
West Brom, kitted out in their usual dark-blue and white stripes, get the game underway in interesting fashion, throwing six players forward from kick-off and hoofing it long for them. If City were in any doubt about what was coming then that confirms it.
When asked about his team selection ahead of kick-off, Guardiola said: "Everyone has to step up, not just one player. We decide this line up is the best, that's all." Insightful as ever from the City boss.
It's a really interesting team selection from City tonight, with no obvious centre-forward in the line-up. Sterling captains the side and Laporte has to make do with a spot on the bench after an impressive run of performances from Dias and Stones in his absence.
Big Sam Allardyce hasn’t exactly had the impact he’d have liked since arriving at West Brom, but he has had an impact on their style at least, making them a little tougher to break down. It doesn’t take much to predict how the Baggies will operate this evening – expect a very, very deep defence, protected by a five-man midfield, with every free-kick seen as an opportunity to get the ball into the City box, regardless of where it is on the pitch (that’s not actually an exaggeration given West Brom’s recent performances).
Pep Guardiola’s side would go top with a win tonight, as current leaders Manchester United don’t play until tomorrow evening against Sheffield United. United have already played a game more than City however, as have Leicester and Liverpool – City’s other closest challengers at this stage.
Man City have won six on the bounce going into this game, conceding just once in that run (in the 3-1 win over Chelsea). In contrast, West Brom have just two wins all season and start this latest matchday six points from safety and with by far the worst goal-difference (-28) in the Premier League.
Good evening and welcome to live coverage of West Brom vs Man City.