Saturday 18 November 2017

City left counting cost of victory as Silva carried off

Manchester City 3 West Brom 1

Manchester City's David Silva is carried off on a stretcher
Manchester City's David Silva is carried off on a stretcher
Steven Jovetic of Manchester City takes on Jonas Olsson of West Brom
Pablo Zabaleta of Manchester City clears the ball from Matej Vydra of West Brom

Mark Ogden

Manchester City revived their hopes of another dramatic late surge to the Premier League title, but victory over West Bromwich Albion came at a heavy cost with David Silva suffering a potentially season-ending ankle injury.

First-half goals from Pablo Zabaleta and Sergio Aguero, followed by a second-half Martin Demichelis strike, proved enough to secure the win that moves City to within six points of leaders Liverpool, with a game in hand on the title favourites.

But the sight of Silva being carried off on a stretcher midway through the second-half, his right ankle encased in a protective boot, was an alarming moment for City manager Manuel Pellegrini. It came following an innocuous challenge by Morgan Amalfitano, but it could yet have implications for the World Cup as well as the title race for Silva.

PASSION

While this arena has lacked the intensity and passion of Anfield this season, on this occasion the City supporters delivered the kind of raucous early backing which has proven to be a decisive factor for Liverpool this term.

With a win, City would be back in the running, albeit as outsiders with time running out to land a killer punch, and the Etihad turned up the volume in an effort to make it happen.

With City taking the lead inside the opening three minutes through Zabaleta, the support from the stands certainly had the desired effect.

Albion goalkeeper Ben Foster should have done better in dealing with the danger, however, after Aguero had fired goalwards. Aguero's shot was powerful, but Foster could only palm it away and Zabaleta gratefully directed it into the net with a diving header.

It was the perfect start for City and they doubled their lead on 10 minutes through Aguero. It was some strike by the Argentinian, who directed a powerful shot beyond Foster.

Sitting just three points above the relegation zone, Albion were now facing an ill-timed defeat, but their response was swift and impressive. Graham Dorrans halved the deficit on 16 minutes when he completed a flowing move involving Stephane Sessegnon and Matej Vydra.

Dorrans beat Gael Clichy on the edge of the penalty area by juggling the ball over the left-back's head before slotting his shot past Joe Hart.

The goal gave Albion a platform from which to get themselves back into the game, but yet more defensive frailties emerged to gift Demichelis City's third goal on 36 minutes.

With the pony-tailed defender left to wander free at the far post, he side-footed from three yards after Vincent Kompany had flicked on Nasri's corner.

But the key moment from the game may ultimately turn out to be the injury sustained by Silva. His loss will be felt by City in the title run-in, but there will also be concerns in Spain if the midfielder's problem turns out to be as serious as it appeared when he was carried off. (© Daily Telegraph).

Irish Independent

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