By William Wood | In Match Reports - Home Games
Manchester City recorded a comfortable 4-2 victory over basement club West Brom at the City of Manchester Stadium, moving them up to tenth-place in the Premier League.
Micah was rested for the clash after struggling to shake off the effects of the midweek Uefa Cup exerts, with Pablo Zabaleta dropping back to right-back and Nigel De Jong taking his place in midfield.
West Brom were in dire need of the three points as they look to mount a last-minute escape from relegation, and Marc-Antoine Fortune dragged an early shot wide as Tony Mowbray’s men set out their stall to attack.
James Morrison was also looking lively and his curling effort flew narrowly wide of Shay Given’s post, though City were soon into their stride as Robinho jinked through their opponent’s midfield and blasted a shot which forced Scott Carson to make the save.
However, the Brazilian was not going to be denied an exquisite goal after eight minutes as he volleyed home Stephen Ireland’s cross to put the hosts in front and grab his first of 2009, though the visitors should have been level when Abdoulaye Meite unbelievably missed an open goal from two-yards out moments later.
Events took a turn for the worse for Mowbray as City doubled their lead, Elano chipping in a corner which was eventually headed in by Nedum Onouha, and despite protests from the Baggies players the goal stood.
Provider could have turned goal-scorer had Elano not squandered a chance set up by Wayne Bridge’s inch-perfect cross, and City were almost made to pay immediately as Robert Koren’s header looped towards goal before Felipe Caicedo cleared.
West Brom were gaining in confidence, however, and they grabbed a deserved goal when Fortune laid the ball of to Brunt, and the latter fired the ball beyond Given.
The tempo of the game dipped slightly as both sides aimed to get back into some form of rhythm after the interval, but it was West Brom who drew first blood.
A free-kick from the right-wing was fizzed in by Brunt, and with several Baggies players dummying the ball Given was helpless as it swung in at the far post to see the away side draw level.
Their celebrations were cut short, though, as Jonas Olsson brought Elano down in the box and the Brazilian stepped up to score the penalty, edging Mark Hughes’ side back in front.
The match could have been wrapped up much sooner had Elano converted another chance after some fine work by Daniel Sturridge, while West Brom continued to look dangerous as Brunt whipped in several set-pieces that caused the City defence problems.
When Zabaleta picked up an injury with two minutes of normal time remaining City were forced to play on with ten-man having used up all of their substitutions, and Brunt went close soon after with an effort that was beaten away by Given.
West Brom’s challenge was finally ended as, with almost all of the ten outfield players committed to the attack, Ireland teed up Sturridge who had a simple finish to extend City’s lead and push the visitors closer to the drop.