FootballManchester City

Within Reach

Man City look to move into first place with a win over West Brom

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Eyes on the prize

 Manchester City has an opportunity to move into first place in the Premier League when they travel to The Hawthorns to face West Bromwich Albion.

As Pep Guardiola’s side is looking to get back on top, the Baggies are hoping new manager Sam Allardyce can help them move out of the relegation zone.

Lineup News

 City won’t have some of their best players available for this game.

Kevin De Bruyne is out at least a few more weeks with a hamstring injury.

Sergio Aguero is still self-isolating from COVID.

Nathan Ake remains out with an injury.

Kyle Walker will be pushing for a return after a slight hip injury in their FA Cup win over Cheltenham.

Sam Allardyce’s team is getting healthy at a critical juncture of the season.

Conor Townsend is back training but still out with a knee injury while Grady Diangana is still nursing a hamstring problem.

Robert Snodgrass is available after missing the match against West Ham.

Karlan Grant could feature for the first time in the new year after missing several games with a foot injury.

Matty Phillips should be available as well.

Impact Players

 Now that Kevin De Bruyne won’t be available for the next few weeks Guardiola will have to turn to someone else to pick up the slack.

Both Ilkay Gundogan and Joao Cancelo have made a huge difference this season for the Sky Blues though it’s not been as noticeable.

With De Bruyne out they will both be thrust into the spotlight as City looks to keep pace in the Premier League.

Cancelo has just one assist on the season but he’s created a ton of scoring opportunities for his side.

The slick full-back has created 27 scoring chances.

With his terrific build-up play there’s an expected assist figure of approximately 3.45 but City’s lack of quality up front hasn’t supported those numbers.

Ilkay Gundogan will be relied on to up his game even more in midfield.

The German has four goals in his last five Premier League fixtures.

Setting some goals

 Scoring goals on the road has not come easy for Manchester City this season.

They have fewer away goals in the league than any side in the top half of the table netting just 10 times.

Conversely, West Brom hasn’t been able to keep the ball out of their goal at home.

24 times they’ve conceded at The Hawthorns this season in nine matches.

That’s more than any side in the league so far.

Owning the opposition

 Guardiola’s side will carry a huge psychological edge over their opponents Tuesday.

City is riding a 17-game unbeaten streak in all competitions and a 100% record in 2021 (seven wins).

More than that it’s been quite some time since they’ve lost to West Brom.

The Baggies are winless in their last 18 games against Man City.

They’ve led for a mere 26 minutes and three seconds in total in all those matches.

The Sky Blues have won their last six away fixtures at The Hawthorns as well.

The only side West Brom’s had a longer winless streak against is Liverpool at 19 games.

Where’s the magic?

Since sacking Slaven Bilic in favour of Sam Allardyce the Baggies fortunes haven’t really changed.

They sit in 19th place seven points behind Brighton and a chance to remain in the top-flight.

It’s still early but since Allardyce took over his team’s got just one win, four losses, and two draws in seven matches.

They’ve lost their last four Premier League fixtures heading into Tuesday’s match.

One thing his side can draw upon is the results they’ve gotten against big teams.

West Brom drew 1-1 with City earlier this season and the last time they came away with points was on the road versus Liverpool (1-1).

With so much catching up to do, they’ll use any motivation they can to get up for this game.

Manager’s Words

 Heading into this match City manager Pep Guardiola explains what his team needs to watch out for.

“I know how good Sam Allardyce teams are on set-pieces.

“They will have worked this week on that to see how they can hurt us, but we have to discover the weak points they may have and impose our game.

“Today our training session was very good. I am optimistic to take a bus tomorrow to West Bromwich and do a good game.”

Match Info

Tomorrow’s match from The Hawthorns goes at 8:15 pm. (JSL).

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