An unfaltering Manchester City side will be keen to grab the top spot on the Premier League table when they face West Bromich Albion at The Hawthorns on Tuesday.
The top spot in the Premier League table is at stake in the upcoming gameweek, as Manchester City will be looking forward to continuing their rampant run against West Bromich Albion at the Hawthorns.
With seven consecutive triumphs and a game in hand, Manchester City have been cherishing a captivating run of late. The Cityzens have displayed staggering performances in the last few weeks, which has allowed Pep Guardiola’s men to cut down the gap to league leaders Manchester United to just two points and a win on Tuesday would take them to the top.
Having grabbed three crucial points against Aston Villa (2-0) in the Premier League and outclassed Cheltenham Town by 3-1 in the FA Cup Fourth-round, Manchester City will be hoping to carry forward their momentum with another victory.
West Bromich Albion, meanwhile, have been going through a grudging period. Sam Allardyce’s men, who are 19th in the table, six points off safety, have won just one of their last nine games in the league – a 2-3 win over Wolves. But soon after that illuminative outcome, the Baggies yet again lost the path as West Ham United beat them by 2-1 last time out.
In the reverse fixture, played at the Etihad back in December last year, West Bromich Albion’s defense stood tall against Pep Guardiola’s men; with a 1-1 draw courtesy of a Ruben Dias own goal in the dying minutes of the first half. Ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter.
Team News & Tactics
West Bromich Albion
West Bromich Albion boss, Sam Allardyce could be heading into this fixture with few injury concerns, as 27-year-old left-back Conor Townsend and Grady Diangana are both major doubts. However, he will be boosted by the return of Matt Phillips and Karlan Grant when Manchester City come visiting.
Sam Allardyce will set his team up in a 4-4-1-1 formation. Looking at this fixture, the Baggies have to sit deep and their defensive unit needs to be aware of the fact that Manchester City are hitting full-throttle. Sam Johnstone will certainly be the figure to stand between the sticks, as Semi Ajayi and Kyle Bartley form the centre-back partnership.
Kieran Gibbs will be securing the left side where he has to be conscious about the oppositions’ rainstorm which could strangle the hosts. Irish international, Dara O’Shea has the difficult task of securing the right flank of the defensive region.
Wide midfielders Conor Gallagher and Kamil Grosicki, both will play a pivotal part in Sam Allardyce’s scheme to hold the Cityzens’ attacking threats at bay. West Bromich Albion’s leader, Jake Livermore, will play the role of the central midfielder and will need to command the territory with all his experience along with the 29-year-old Romaine Sawyers.
Matheus Pereira, who has been one of the promising talents in the squad, would be seeking another bright outing. The 24-year-old is in sensational form, as the player has bagged four goals in last four games. Callum Robinson will be the final piece of this puzzle and the Irishman’s task will be hitting Manchester City on the break.
Probable Lineup (4-4-1-1): Johnstone; O’Shea, Ajayi, Bartley, Gibbs; Gallagher, Livermore, Sawyers, Grosicki; Pereira; Robinson
Pep Guardiola’s men will be eyeing to rattle The Baggies’ cages, as they look to establish themselves at the top spot of the league table. However, Manchester City will be missing their midfield maestro Kevin De Bruryne who still needs few weeks to overcome his hamstring injury. In his absence, Ilkay Gundogan will hold the key in the middle of the park.
Ederson Moraes should start in goal for the visitors, as John Stones and Ruben Dias will stand in front of him to construct the backline. Former Juventus star, Joao Cancelo, will provide width for the team on the right flank and Oleksandr Zinchenko will be offered another opportunity with Kyle Walker, a doubt for the game due to hip injury.
Rodri will be aiming to bring stability in the centre of the park along with Gundogan. Without De Bruyne, young Englishman Phil Foden, and Raheem Sterling need to take the responsibility to penetrate oppositions’ defensive unit from both the flanks.
Sergio Aguero has been an influential figure for the Cityzens throughout these years, but as it stands he’ll be missing this clash. Gabriel Jesus should thus star upfront but needs to be more impactful. He will be supported by Portuguese international Bernardo Silva, who has the idiosyncratic ability to pull the strings in the final third.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Ederson; Cancelo, Stones, Dias, Zinchenko; Sterling, Rodri, Gundogan, Foden; Silva, Jesus
1. Over 2.5 Match Goals @ 1.53
1. Matheus Pereira to score anytime @ 8.00
- Manchester City have are unbeaten in their last 18 Premier League meetings against West Bromich Albion (16W, 2D).
- West Bromich Albion have conceded the most goals in this league campaign (43) and have scored just 15 goals in 19 fixtures. Sam Allardyce’s men have the worst Goal Difference of -28.
- Manchester City hold an impressive defensive record in the league, The Cityzens have allowed their opponents to score just 13 goals, and with back to back consecutive clean sheets in their last three games.
- Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson Moraes has kept the most clean-sheets so far in this campaign (10).
- West Bromich Albion’s victory against Sheffield United on 28th November is their only home win in the Premier League this season (1W, 2D, 6L).
Player to Watch
The 24-year-old has adapted to the principles of his manager in a supreme manner, which allows the Manchester City forwards to drive firmly in the opposition halves. Rodri’s ability to win back possession in midfield has not only been a sight to cherish but also his intelligence on the ball brings much-required fluidity into the gameplay.
The Spanish international is one of those pivotal pieces in Pep Guardiola’s plan, whose distribution around the park dictate the rhythm in a convincing way. In the absence of Kevin De Bruyne, Rodri’s craftmanship needs to be more decisive to set the tone for his team.
West Bromwich Albion 1-3 Manchester City
This could turn out to be a tricky fixture for Manchester City, as West Brom will be desperate to change the course of their fortune. Sam Allardyce’s plan will be simple, where he needs to organize his defensive unit firmly to stifle the Cityzens’ attack, that has the quality to open up their backline in no time.
Manchester City’s impressive performances lately have showcased their frightening strength and character, as they have always found a way to snatch points from difficult positions. And on an occasion where the Cityzens could establish themselves at the top spot of the Premier League table, the scoreline should not surprise anyone.
The Hard Tackle is predicting a 3-1 triumph for the visitors who could fumble a bit to break the deadlock, but their propensity to cause wreckage will be enough to ensure their victory.