If they are like that, you can never be entirely sure how many players are actually out there in Manchester City Blue.
It certainly doesn’t feel like just the 11 mentioned. Maybe someone sneaks on without anyone noticing.
Way too good, way too smooth. Pep Guardiola appeared to have three false nines on the field and West Bromwich was a spinning top waiting to collapse. There is always a man over there, meters and meters of grass to move in. And with that much room for players of that skill, the result will end up the same way most weeks.
Midfielder Ilkay Gundogan (left) scored twice as Manchester City stormed to the top of the Premier League on Tuesday night
Midfielder Gundogan opened the goal for the Hawthorns by shooting the ball into the far corner in the sixth minute
West Brom (4-4-1-1): Johnstone 5; Furlong 5, Ajayi 4, O’Shea 5, Gibbs 5; Snodgrass 5 (Phillips 59, 6), Livermore 5, Sawyers 4, Grant 5 (Robson Canoe 64, 6); Pereira 5; Robinson 5 (Bartley 46, 6)
Unused subs: Knopf, Townsend, Gallagher, Ivanovic, Edwards, Peltier
Manager: Sam Allardyce 4
Man City (4-1-4-1): Ederson 7; Cancelo 9.5, stones 7, slides 7, Zinchenko 7.5; Rodri 7.5; Sterling 8, Gundogan 8.5 (Laporte 52, 6.5), Silva 8.5 (Jesus 60, 6), Foden 8 (Torres 51, 7); Mahrez 9
Unused subs: Steffen, Walker, Mendy, Fernandinho, Garcia, Bernabe
Gates: Gundogan (6, 30), Cancelo (20), Mahrez (45), Sterling (57)
Manager:Pep Guardiola 8.5
Referee:Chris Kavanagh 6
That is 11 trot wins in all competitions for Guardiola, the first time since the Centurions season three years ago. The run included wins at Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea. This was another one for the collection.
The city has climbed to the top for now, and that division’s dominance is well timed given the miserable form of some of the other contenders. Style is always an important indicator at Guardiola, and this current version, beauty with muscles, is extraordinarily dangerous.
“This month we have the commitment and it’s that good,” said Guardiola. “The way we play everyone is involved in the attack. The movement is really good. “
West Brom was three minutes into that game. There was a penalty kick, a huge rescue from Ederson, to deny Semi Ajayi when Sam Allardyce – previously referred to as a “genius” by Guardiola – tried to bomb his famous visitors. That was that.
The city was ahead within six minutes and out of sight by half an hour. Ilkay Gundogan had two which included a curling Joao Cancelo attempt. All three were eye-catching.
Cancelo’s goal in the 20th minute put Allardyce on the sideline. The right defender gave the Portuguese compatriot Bernardo Silva a pass who was offside. Silva carried on anyway, as it did in the age of VAR, and Sian Massey-Ellis kept her flag low. Until Silva came back. Then their flag went up. West Brom stopped, City did not. It was also crucial that referee Chris Kavanagh didn’t do this. So Cancelo stroked the ball in the upper right corner of Sam Johnstone. A stunning finish, although one that was soon banned, with the flag still high in the air.
Moments later, Citys Bank began to celebrate amid a VAR check. The referee looked a little embarrassed. Silva had been held on her side by Darnell Furlong. It was all a bit embarrassing: the insecurity and the fact that Albion doesn’t whistle.
West Brom, by this point already one goal less, was done.
Allardyce said, “You can’t tell me about all that whistle stuff.” This is nonsense. The assistant referee made a mistake, but that was just a mistake. We did a lot more. “
Bernardo Silva was offside – some of the central defenders stopped – before Joao Cancelo scored the second goal
A VAR check revealed that Furlong Silva had played onside and that assistant referee Sian Massey-Ellis had signaled incorrectly early on
Allardyce and his players had an hour-long meeting in the locker room after the game to try to resolve their issues.
“I can accept defeat, but I cannot accept defeat like that,” he said. “It wasn’t Man City and their brilliant goals, it was us and our defenses.”
To kick off, Cancelo struck an exquisite pass through the lines to Gundogan, who turned on his heels as he rallied 20 meters away. He stopped, let Ajayi run past him and went to Johnstone’s farthest corner.
Gundogan later took Romaine Sawyer’s bag on the edge of West Brom’s box. Again he saw he was walking past and Johnstone waved goodbye.
Albion was the master of their fall when they couldn’t clear in the 30th minute and the guests made it 3-0
Gundogan robbed Romaine Sawyers on the edge of the box before turning Dara O’Shea and shooting past Johnstone for the third time
This town’s number 8 shone so brightly the day Colin Bell retired. “I’m proud to have his number on,” said Gundogan. “I try to portray it as well as possible.”
Three was four at halftime and the tackles got a little half-hearted. Riyad Mahrez was encouraged to look back at his left foot, and he flashed in the exact same corner.
Mahrez became a provider shortly after the break. Rodri threw a pass towards his zone and instead of taking a touch, the Algerian shot over the gate just for Raheem Sterling. He gratefully tapped an empty net.
Cancelo’s position was fascinating. He is officially a right-back. He spent some time in the second half as a central striker and then sprinted back when West Brom threatened to break. He often takes his place as an old-fashioned center-back or as a No. 8 or right winger. When sitting on the stand, it is difficult to determine what Guardiola is asking of him. So it is unclear what chance the opponents from City below have.
Sterling picked Mahrez in the penalty area and he was allowed to look inside and hit the goalkeeper just before the break
Raheem Sterling was active in the second half when City took the lead for the first time this season
Mahrez returned the favor for Sterling and steered Rodri’s loft pass for the striker to score his ninth goal of the season