Man City look to blow away the cobwebs against weak West Brom
Manchester City to win 3-0
Manchester City were poor going forward against United in the Manchester derby over the weekend, creating just a fraction of the opportunities which we know they can on a good day.
A point was not the worst result, of course, but it means that their absence from the top four spots continues for at least another week.
Perhaps they had this game in mind, against one of the weaker teams in the league who have gone about conceding the highest number of goals so far this season. With little to worry about at the back, City will surely feel they can express themselves going forward.
West Brom suffered another defeat at the weekend, this time against a Newcastle team which scored the fastest goal of the season after just 20 seconds of play.
There are been several shocks already this season, but West Brom are surely in for a beating here.
Form Guide (all comps): WDWWD
Reasons to be cheerful:
Unbeaten in six matches
Sergio Aguero is making his way back to full fitness
Reasons to be fearful:
Looked out of ideas going forward against United
Could make one or two chances inviting complacency
Understandably, there were many who felt their draw against Manchester United was a worse result for City than their close rivals, based on the quality they have in their squad.
In previous seasons, we have seen City dominate United home and away, but at the weekend they seemed reluctant to attack with the same vigour which has defined Pep Guardiola’s era at City.
The result prevents City from climbing into the top four, for now at least, but this match presents the ideal opportunity to bounce back with a strong win. West Brom’s shaky defence should be perfect for City’s attackers.
City are unbeaten in six, not conceding a single goal in that period, and should have little to worry about from West Brom.
Star Man – Kevin De Bruyne
Was the one City player who seemed capable of dragging his team to victory last weekend, but got little support from his teammates.
Form Guide (all comps): LLWLL
Reasons to be cheerful
Looked close to a draw before late Newcastle winner
Have nothing to lose against City
Reasons to be fearful
Could be in for another beating
Manager Bilic may not be far from the sack
In fairness, West Brom could well have pinched a draw against Newcastle over the weekend.
They fought back from conceding within the opening 20 seconds of the match to equalise and looked to have earned a point until Newcastle struck a late winner to deprive The Baggies of a much-needed boost.
And despite their 5-1 thrashing against Crystal Palace, most of their defeats have been by a single goal margin, showing that they are fighting until the very end.
Much of this spirit comes from the manager Slaven Bilic, though too many more defeats may spell disaster for the Croatian boss – many managers would have been given the sack already considering his side’s poor form.
Star Man – Matt Phillips
Has been involved in more goals (scored 18, assisted 24) since he joined in 2016 – more than any other West Brom player during that period.
Manchester City are heavy favourites to win this
Like to score at least two goals
West Brom must keep it tight for as long as possible
The last time Manchester City played a team in the relegation zone, they won 5-0.
Burnley were on the receiving end that time around, and West Brom will be hoping for a much tighter scoreline, despite having a weaker defence than Burnley.
The game is in City’s hands – if they come out at their most positive and attack from the start, this should be a comfortable win for them.
Manchester City to win 3-0