Vinny’s back, and we got that ever allusive (second) road victory!
In a game of halves we made sure, or at least tried, to put any question that our away ghosts would haunt us against West Brom. We took the game to the Baggies from the first whistle, and it was a total team effort to get an early lead. Both of the goals were created from build-up play that seemed to have the whole team involved. Aguero continued his torrid run of form by getting a goal, and made great runs to find himself in acres of space behind the West Brom defense. The early lead was exactly what we needed to hush the mumblers, even if it is only for a bit. Everything was going our way, until the later stages of the first half when West Brom ramped up their pressure and almost got one before half time. Our defense showed its strength (and confidence) with Vinny back in the middle, and any chance West Brom had was quickly dealt with. It is a confidence that will continue to build with the stable, but fragile, captain back in the fray.
Then we come to the second half; a Jekyll and Hyde story for sure, which is understandable since we had a lead. West Brom showed that they were more than capable of getting a goal, and we were lucky to have only conceded two in the dying moments. Luckily, we were able to take advantage of a Baggies slip up when Kolarov won a penalty, which Toure put home. Thanks to that goal we looked to be heading to a pretty uneventful end of the game, but that soon turned. Toure, whose effort has been in question while wearing the captains arm sleeve, lost his man in the box and that led to an unfortunate own goal. And finally, the second goal came from a quick turn and shot, which was defended poorly by Demichelis. This was probably the only blemish in an overall solid performance by him.
The score line does not really tell the tale of the tape as we could have taken the game to WB more, and increased our lead throughout the game. At home it is a mindset that MP seems to pursue more so than when we are on the road. At home when we get a lead we make sure that it is a comfortable one. When we are away from the Etihad, once we get a lead, we coast and hope for the clock to reach 90+. I guess I’m looking for the “killer instinct” in games like today’s in the future. Maybe I’m just upset because I was nervous (highly likely). But, in the end we got an important three points and a road win against a tricky opponent. Credit to our boys for the win. We need to remain focused with another tough road game against Southampton coming up this weekend. Also to be noted, we are now going to continue to get deeper as our injured players return (Rodwell and Kompany).
Aguero (7) – Making great runs to find himself in space behind the West Brom back four. He continues to make an impact whether he has the ball of not. He is an all around menace for an opposition to face.
Dzeko (7) – Great target for the midfield to aim for, and he was able to create from those passes. I questioned breaking up the Negredo and Aguero pairing, but Dzeko filled it quite fine. Needs to be more clinical with his headers, and CONTROL THE BALL BETTER.
Nasri (6) –Quiet, and not impactful performance from the Frenchmen today, but his recent brilliance wasn’t needed. He was aggressive when he got the ball, but didn’t have too much of it. Surprisingly, he was strong defensively as well, which is certainly not his forte (to say the least).
Navas (6) – Another quiet game, but he was still in the mood to put his stamp on the game. If he can connect on more of his crosses, he’ll show his full worth.
Fernadinho (8 MotM) – Looked much more alive in this game than the one from the weekend. He was able to push forward, and recover when West Brom came to attack. Brilliant in defense throughout the game, always finding himself in the right place at the right time and got back when our CBs pushed up in attack.
Yaya (7) – Beautiful passes from him to create chances, and a splendid touch to score his goal. He also took advantage of Aguero coming off early, and scored the PK. Still needs to improve in the defensive half of the game; he deserves most of the blame for the late goal.
Zabaleta (7) – Both full backs had assists, and Pablo continued to attack the right side of the field. He and Navas have a great understanding on when and where each will be in attack. He also had a number of slight touches on attempted crosses from West Brom.
KOMPANY (8) – Welcome back Kaptain Kompany! He was as strong as ever in the center of our defense, and aggressive too. He made sure to close down attackers outside of the box, so they were unable to get a good shot on net. He also had a run equivalent to the one he had against United.
Demichelis (7) – Did a good job to covering for Kolarov, when the left back was out of play, and getting in the way of passes from West Brom. Up until that final goal, he was deserving of the 7, but after I question it. I’ll stick with it, though! Needs to stop giving the ball away so easily.
Kolarov (7) – Heavily involved offensively, and he put several great crosses into great positions for City players. His efforts were rewarded when Yaya put a slight touch on his cross into the back of the goal. Not his best game in the defensive department but he did a decent job.
Pantilimon (6) –The first late goal was much to do about a lack of concentration from his defense. But, he (and Demichelis) should have done better to stop Anichebe from scoring the second.
Milner (6) – Insert everything I said last game and put it here. But seriously, do that.
Garcia (N/A) -