While this fixture may have resulted in a draw just a matter of weeks ago, the same wasn’t true last night as Manchester City ran out 5-0 winners over West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns. In doing so, Pep Guardiola’s men vaulted themselves right back to the top of the Premier League table.
The Gundogan effect
There have been plenty of heroes for Manchester City so far this season but last night, and across the last few games in general, Ilkay Gundogan has really been able to step up in a way that few could’ve imagined. He has turned from midfield maestro to one of the main goalscoring figures for City in the top flight, and while there are a number of others who have contributed to the club’s rise back to the top of the table, Gundogan is the one who has made the most dramatic transformation.
Baggies’ defensive woes
No team in Europe’s top five divisions has conceded as many goals at home as Sam Allardyce’s West Bromwich Albion. Sure, they may have been able to win the Black Country derby against bitter rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers, but that alone isn’t going to be enough to make up for many of their shortcomings. Allardyce knows that this is a dire situation that the club finds themselves in, and if they want to get out of it, they desperately need a few late acquisitions in the January transfer window.
At this moment in time, Manchester City are the favourites to win the Premier League title at 4/11 with 888sport. There’s still a really long way to go in this campaign and there are going to be many twists and turns to speak of, but that isn’t really the point right now. The point is that they are the ones in the driving seat which seemed so unlikely just a matter of weeks ago when reigning champions Liverpool were still flying high. They’ve taken advantage of a situation that seemed precarious and in doing so, they are looking better than they have done in years – which should be a frightening prospect for anyone who comes up against them.
West Brom: Johnstone (5), Gibbs (6), O’Shea (5.5), Ajayi (5.5), Furlong (5.5) Grant (5.5), Sawyers (4.5), Livermore (6), Snodgrass (5.5), Pereira (6), Robinson (5.5), Robson-Kanu (6), Phillips (6), Bartley (6.5)
Manchester City: Ederson (7), Cancelo (9), Stones (7.5), Dias (7.5), Zinchenko (7.5), Silva (7.5), Rodrigo (7.5), Gundogan (9.5), Sterling (9), Mahrez (9), Foden (7.5), Torres (6.5), Laporte (7), Jesus (6)
Referee: Chris Kavanagh
Goals: Gundogan x2, Cancelo, Mahrez, Sterling
Red Cards: N/A