West Brom 0-5 Manchester City: Ilkay Gundogan and Joao Cancelo star as City reach summit
Report and free highlights as Ilkay Gundogan plays a pivotal role in an advanced role, scoring twice; Joao Cancelo, Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling also get in on the act; City go top for the first time this season
Tuesday 26 January 2021 23:42, UK
Manchester City reached the summit of the Premier League for the first time this season after an irresistible performance saw them sweep past West Brom 5-0.
In what was arguably one of the most complete 90 minute performances of any team in the Premier League this season, City took an early lead when Ilkay Gundogan fired home (6) from 20 yards after a wonderful pass from Joao Cancelo.
The full-back went from supplier to finisher when doubling the lead via a brilliant curling effort from the edge of the area (20). The goal was initially ruled out for offside in the build-up but VAR overturned the decision after referee Chris Kavanagh had allowed play to continue despite the assistant referee raising the flag.
- How the teams lined up | Match stats
- Premier League table | Premier League top scorers
- Premier League fixtures | Premier League results
Gundogan – playing in a false nine position in the absence of Kevin De Bruyne – grabbed his seventh goal of the season with another tidy finish (30) before Riyad Mahrez capped a sensational team first-half performance with an outstanding solo effort (45). Raheem Sterling got in on the act in the second half (57) as City continued their winning streak in all competitions, which is now at 11 games.
West Brom: Johnstone (6), Furlong (5), O’Shea (5), Ajayi (5), Gibbs (4), Livermore (5), Sawyers (4), Pereira (6), Robinson (5), Snodgrass (5), Grant (5)
Subs: Robson-Kanu (5), Phillips (5)
Man City: Ederson (7), Stones (7), Dias (7), Cancelo (9), Zinchenko (7), Silva (7), Gundogan (9), Rodri (8), Foden (7), Mahrez (8), Sterling (7)
Subs: Laporte (7), Torres (7), Jesus (7)
Man of the Match: Joao Cancelo
In contrast, the Baggies have now lost their last five top-flight home games – their worst run at The Hawthorns in the Premier League in 17 years – while conceding 22 goals in the process.
Albion remain second bottom and six points from safety.
How five-star City turned on style…
West Brom started the game with good energy as a long throw caused mayhem in the City box but Ederson was quick to react to a Semi Ajayi shot.
Phil Foden, making his 100th appearance for City, forced Sam Johnstone to turn his low drive onto the post after a quick break.
The frantic start peaked when City grabbed the lead after six minutes thanks to Gundogan’s sixth goal in 10 games.
Cancelo’s searching pass was expertly collected by the midfielder and he turned before curling a fine effort into the bottom corner from 20 yards.
From that moment, City took control of the football.
The Baggies remained in their defensive shape but were soon 2-0 down after 20 minutes.
Bernardo Silva teed up Cancelo but had been flagged offside – with some of the home defence stopping before Cancelo curled into the top corner from 18 yards.
A lengthy VAR check showed Darnell Furlong had played Silva onside but assistant referee Sian Massey-Ellis had incorrectly signalled for offside.
There was to be no way back for Albion when City got a third.
Romaine Sawyers was robbed on the edge of the box by Gundogan before he turned Dara O’Shea and fired past Johnstone.
The chances kept on coming towards Johnstone’s goal and he was picking the ball out of the net again just before the break. Sterling picked out Mahrez in the box and he was allowed to check inside before sweeping a sensational finish into the top corner.
City’s domination continued after the break, with Rodri’s 25-yard drive clipping the bar, and a fifth goal arrived after 57 minutes.
This time Mahrez returned the favour for Sterling, steering Rodri’s lofted pass across for the England forward to net his ninth goal of the season from close range.
City’s win sees them finish the day top of the Premier League table for the first time this season, becoming the ninth different side to end a day top this term.
Man of the match: Joao Cancelo
Is there a better full-back in the Premier League in terms of playing the right ball at the right time? His development under Pep Guardiola has been pretty astonishing this season, revelling in a tucked-in position off the right. With the ball he’s a central midfielder and without it he’s a full-back. It’s proving a difficult role for opposition players to stop.
Coming in to this game, Cancelo only had one assist to his name but had recorded an ‘expected assist’ return of nearly four, highlighting his chance creation powers. This time around a team-mate was on hand to put his fine pass into the net with Gundogan doing the business. It was a shame his first goal for the club was clouded in such controversy – his performance merited a moment in the sun instead of the underwhelming award of the goal via VAR.
What the managers said
Pep Guardiola said: “Congratulations to the team for the performance. Except for the first two or three minutes when we couldn’t leave our box, the rest of the game was good.
“What we want is movement in the right moment and what we want is to move the ball more than our movements. But it is true the players’ movements up front was so good. From the beginning of the season apart from the game against Leicester we concede so few.
“Now our defenders concentrate for 90 minutes. Ruben and John, Aymeric, they are so focused. The midfielders and the strikers now we are there and covered and in the right moment we will score.
“It is impossible to be at the latter stages of any competition without being solid at the back.”
- Manchester City’s win sees them finish the day top of the Premier League table for the first time this season, becoming the ninth different side to end a day top this term, the most within a single top-flight campaign since 1986-87 (also 9).
- West Brom have conceded 22 goals in their last five Premier League games on home soil, the most a team has shipped across five top-flight home games since Aston Villa in December 1935 (22).
- City have won seven consecutive top-flight games for the first time since August 2019 (a run of 15).
- West Brom’s Sam Allardyce is the first manager since Chris Ramsey at QPR in March 2015 to lose his first four home Premier League games in charge of a club.
- Cancelo scored and assisted in a single game in the big five European Leagues for the first time since April 2016 for Valencia vs Eibar in LaLiga.
Manchester City are back in action on Saturday at 3pm with basement boys Sheffield United the visitors – the game is live on Sky Sports. The Baggies are also in action on Saturday at 3pm in a real relegation scrap with Fulham.
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