Manchester City opened their Premier League campaign with a comfortable 3-0 victory at West Brom on Monday night.
Ivory Coast international Yaya Toure netted a first half brace, before captain Vincent Kompany headed home a third in the second half.
The comfortable victory against a West Brom team who are usually far more organised and compact than last night was impressive. Baggies boss Tony Pulis took the blame for the defeat by telling Sky Sports: “I take responsibility for the way we set up,”
“The fact we had Saido and Rickie, who played really well together, pulled us away from what we really should do. I said to them afterwards I would take responsibility for that. ”
Pulis is an experienced boss and would have known that City would dominate the midfield area if he played with two up front and that is exactly what happened. The former-Stoke boss took a gamble and lost.
A bright spot for Baggies fans last night was the presentation of new club-record signing Salomon Rondon prior to the game. The Venezuelan striker has joined the Midlanders for a fee in the region of £12million, after scoring 20 goals in 37 games in the Russian top-flight for Zenit St Petersburg last season.
At times last season Manchester City looked lacklustre, but hit form towards the end of last season. That form seems to have carried into the new campaign, despite a disappointing pre-season campaign.
Spanish playmaker David Silva looked at his majestic best in the attacking midfield role, controlling and instigating the City attacks. Everybody knows that the Spaniard is City’s main creative force, but he is such a clever footballer that he is hard to stop when in full flow.
Another player who looked far sharper was marauding central midfielder Toure. The 32-year-old looked like he was threading water at times last season. He has defended his displays from last year by saying he’s not back, as he had never been anywhere.
However, his performance at the Hawthorns last night was far more vibrant than those of last season. In fact he looked like the player who had produced dominant central midfield displays for the previous few seasons.
Despite previous playing as a defensive midfielder and even a centre-back on rare occasions at Barcelona, defending is definitely not his bag. The big midfielder is best when driving forward and causing problems in the opposition defence.
Toure looked certain to leave City this summer, after it was claimed by his agent that he was ’90 per cent certain’ to leave the club. He is still at City and his performance last night suggests that he is determined to help the Citizens mount a serious title challenge this season.
In truth, City’s club-record signing Raheem Sterling enjoyed a relatively quiet competitive debut on the wing. The £49million England international will no doubt enjoy far more successful games in a City shirt, although he did show a few flashes of his ability in the game.
The 20-year-old has a lot to do to justify his massive price tag and he will know that he will need to contribute far more to the City team in future games.
City won this game comfortably, despite the fact that star striker Sergio Aguero was left on the bench from the start.
The Argentinian is still recovering from the Copa America and also a recent bug, so City boss Manuel Pellegrini decided to start the game with Ivory Coast international Wilfried Bony as the team’s lone front man.
Aguero was given a half an hour run out in the second half and he will be looking to build up match fitness in the next couple of weeks. City looked impressive going forward without Aguero. With the Argentine they will be even more dangerous in attack.
Manchester City started the season as one of the favourites for the Premier League title and are now odds of 7/4 to claim the title. It is far too early to say that the Citizens have an advantage, but Manuel Pellegrini’s side have certainly made a positive start to their Premier League campaign.
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