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Monday 20 November 2017

Clinical City on course for Champions League spot

Man City 3 West Brom 1

(l-r) Kevin de Bruyne and David Silva celebrate
(l-r) Kevin de Bruyne and David Silva celebrate

Manchester City moved up to third in the Premier League with a comfortable 3-1 win over West Brom on an emotional night at the Etihad Stadium.

Goals from Gabriel Jesus, Kevin De Bruyne and Yaya Toure saw City cruise to victory on Pablo Zabaleta's final home appearance for the club.

West Brom were outplayed but claimed a late consolation through substitute Hal Robson-Kanu.

The result tightened City's grip on a top-four position but Arsenal's victory over Sunderland meant their close battle with the Gunners and Liverpool for Champions League spots would go to the final day.

In such form, however, City should be confident of completing the job at Watford on Sunday.

There may have been tributes aplenty to Zabaleta, who announced at the weekend he would be leaving the club, and an eagerness to acknowledge other players, including Toure, who could also be leaving. But in terms of business, City were ruthless without needing to hit top gear.

They bossed the game from start to finish with West Brom looking disinterested.

The Baggies, comfortable in eighth place, had won just one of their previous 10 games and it did seem their minds were already on the summer.

The only surprise was it took 13 minutes for City to register a serious effort on goal as Aleksandar Kolarov's free-kick was palmed away by Ben Foster.

After that the chances started to come with regularity as Kolarov had another effort diverted wide by Jesus, Leroy Sane drove across goal and Nicolas Otamendi shot at Foster.

The opener came after 27 minutes as Sergio Aguero brilliantly flicked a Toure pass into the path of De Bruyne, who teed up a simple finish for Jesus.

De Bruyne doubled the lead with a composed strike from the edge of the box after Marc Wilson had intercepted a pass from Aguero, who tested Foster himself soon after.

Salomon Rondon mustered a rare shot for West Brom but City claimed a third after 57 minutes when Toure played a one-two with Aguero and charged into the box to shoot low past Foster.

Such was City's confidence that Vincent Kompany, who for a worrying moment earlier took a blow to the calf and had to run off the knock, attempted an acrobatic volley that flew wide.

That delighted the crowd but it was nothing compared to the ovation Zabaleta received when he was brought on in place of David Silva just after the hour.

West Brom who had the final word when Robson-Kanu turned in from Allan Nyom's cross.

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