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City v West Brom: Match Preview

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The real turning point of the season.

Michael Regan/Getty Images

So we've gotten to the point of the season where things could go fantastically well, or horribly wrong. First, by pointing out the elephant in the room, which is the loss City took against Barcelona in the midweek. Looking abhorrent on defense, sparse in the attack, and well, meggy in the midfield, the team will have to look within to regain the form that once had them level with league leaders Chelsea at the start of the calendar year. Having Arsenal and United on their heels, City can ill afford to drop points against West Brom this Saturday, a team whom City have won nine out of their last ten matches against. There has been quite a bit of speculation on Manuel Pellegrini's position at the club, but all that can be done at the moment but to play.

What Could Go Right:

West Brom have gone winless in their last seven at the Etihad, and this is where City should take advantage. Although the Baggies are eight points clear of the relegation zone and playing well defensively under the management of the tracksuit clad relegation saver Tony Pulis, Manchester City still holds court against them.

What Could Go Wrong:

If we are being honest, a lot could go wrong. West Brom are currently in excellent form under Pulis, losing only two of their last ten matches and have held clean sheets in four out of their last five. Pulis obviously has given the squad some structure and provided them with the discipline they’ve needed to stave off relegation.  Dropping points against West Brom would mean that City could possibly fall behind Arsenal and United and into fourth. City has also only won three out of their last eleven matches, and scored more than two goals twice since the year began. Play from the Blues has been lethargic to say the least, and the scoring opportunities we had to start the season and what we’ve seen over the last few seasons are seemingly drying up.

What City Needs To Do To Win:

Here’s the thing about West Brom. They concede more goals within the first fifteen minutes of a match than any other side in the league. Undoubtedly Pellegrini is going to come out in his patented 4-4-2, a formation that he has stuck to in league play since he began managing the team, much to the lament of many supporters.  This means that we will have to get solid production from our wings, more consistent crosses, and better runs when our fullbacks press forward. Also, defensive consistency has to be present in some form or fashion, there's no doubt that Vincent Kompany will play, but the dice can be rolled on who his partner will be at center half. On the plus side, West Brom is without goalie Ben Foster for this match, as well as their captain Chris Brunt, giving City a possible advantage as the Baggies will be without two of their crucial players.

West Brom have never won at The Etihad, but with the team’s recent performances, you can’t really tell which City is going to show up anymore. Gaining a victory against West Brom would pull the squad to within a possible three points of Chelsea, and we’ve been down this road going into April chasing the title before.