Robert Toole and Robert Pollard
City ran out winners today after a hard fought 2-1 win against West Brom at The Hawthorns. After playing much of the game with 10 men City dominated and snatched the victory in injury time.
Best Win of the Season
Playing at West Brom is never easy especially with ten men. James Milner was deservedly sent off early in the first half but despite some pressure from West Brom in the wake of the dismissal, City recovered well and dominated the game – 61% possession, 21 shots with 13 on target is testament to that. With Chelsea and Manchester United both winning it was crucial that City did as well.
Dzeko the Super Sub
In similar fashion to the away win against Fulham, Dzeko came off the bench to superb effect. Dzeko replaced Barry in the 79th minute and immediately made an impact with the equaliser. He also got the crucial winner in the 92nd minute. Roberto Mancini’s positive use his substitutions this season is becoming something of a trademark and are earning City valuable points away from home. Dzeko’s form fluctuates wildly but it seems he is at his best when coming on from the bench.
Taking into account last season and the beginning of this one, no Premiership player has scored more goals from the bench than Dzeko. It’s proving to be very handy indeed.
James Milner has had to fight hard to reclaim a place in the City side this season. Before his Man of the Match performance against Sunderland, he had spent much of this season at home, not even making the bench most weeks. City fans know his qualities and knew he would have an important role to play. He runs further and harder than any other player; a valuable asset in a tough league.
He started yesterday, deservedly keeping his place, yet was sent off early doors for a last ditch foul on Shane Long. It was the correct decision but Milner was put into that situation by some overplaying from Vincent Kompany. Thankfully, City found a way to win, meaning Milner’s foul didn’t prove decisive. I like Milner and want to see him involved on a more regular basis.
It’s annoying how easy City fans find it to forget just how important Micah Richards is to our side. A few weeks out with injury and I always get the impression it’s forgotten just how good he is. Make no mistake: Richards is vital to our side. We’re fortunate in the sense that we can bring in Pablo, but let’s not underestimate Richards. He’s an incredible athlete and so important to us. He was excellent at times yesterday.
Balotelli Was Excellent
Without doubt Balotelli’s best performance of the season. Despite being substituted just after the hour mark (probably because he had a yellow card) he demonstrated all of the traits of a top centre forward. Power, pace, skill, positioning: it was all there to see. He was unfortunate not to get on the score sheet after cutting inside from the left, slicing through the West Brom defence and having his shot saved by the legs of Ben Foster.