Yaya Toure scored twice as Manchester City began their bid to regain the Premier League title with a straightforward 3-0 win at West Brom.
Vincent Kompany netted the third for a City side that put in an assured performance at The Hawthorns as they look to atone for last season’s meek surrender to Chelsea in the title race.
Manuel Pellegrini’s men were in control from the off but there was an element of good fortune about Toure’s opener – the ball taking a double deflection on its way past a flat-footed Boaz Myhill.
In contrast, his second was pure quality. The Ivory Coast international linked up with compatriot Wilfried Bony before guiding a superb effort beyond Myhill from the edge of the box.
Kompany wrapped up the win when he headed home from a corner after 59 minutes, sending City top of a fledgling Premier League table, which is exactly where they intend to be in 37 matches’ time.
West Brom handed debuts to Rickie Lambert, James McClean and James Chester, but it was Manchester City’s inclusion of Raheem Sterling that garnered most attention in the build-up.
The England international’s arrival from Liverpool in an estimated £49million deal was the highest-profile move of the close-season, but it was long-serving Toure who had City in front after nine minutes.
Having received the ball from a Jesus Navas cutback, the Ivory Coast international scuffed an effort that fortuitously found its way in via deflections off David Silva and Craig Dawson.
It was no more than City deserved, with the visitors totally dominating possession in the early stages, and Toure doubled the advantage with a sweetly struck effort 15 minutes later.
Latching onto Bony’s perfectly weighted lay-off, Toure emphatically curled into the top right-hand corner, past a helpless Myhill.
Another nick off Dawson saw a Bony shot drift wide shortly after the half-hour mark, before Sterling missed a golden opportunity to mark his debut with a goal – his effort saved after being sent through one-on-one with the former Wales goalkeeper.
West Brom, who announced the club-record signing of Salomon Rondon from Zenit earlier on Monday, barely threatened during a miserable first half from a home perspective and when Saido Berahino did eventually find the net just before the break, he was flagged offside.
Sterling again saw a tame effort kept out by Myhill early in the second half, while Lambert curled over a free-kick and Berahino squandered a great chance at the other end.
Victory was all but assured for City one minute short of the hour when Kompany escaped static home defending to turn Silva’s corner beyond Myhill from a tight angle.
James Morrison headed straight at Joe Hart as the home side looked to restore some pride, but West Brom’s race was run as City collected a welcome three points, particularly in the context of dropped points for Chelsea and Arsenal over the weekend.
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