Manchester City demolished West Bromwich Albion to go top of the Premier League with a 5-0 win at the Hawthorns.
It took just six minutes for Pep Guardiola’s side to take the lead through the outstanding Ilkay Gundogan, with the City playmaker curling a sublime finish past Sam Johnstone in the West Brom goal. And that was just the start of what turned out to be a torrid night for the Baggies.
Joao Cancelo made it two with a slightly controversial goal, lofting a tidy finish home when half of the West Brom defence had reacted to an offside flag. But the whistle hadn’t gone, VAR overruled the offside decision, and the goal stood.
Gundogan all-but wrapped up the win with his second of the night on 30 minutes and Riyad Mahrez made the game safe with a fourth on the cusp of half-time.
Any hopes from West Brom that City would take their foot off the gas after the break didn’t last long, with the visitors continuing to make chance after chance despite both Gundogan and Phil Foden being withdrawn soon after the restart.
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And Raheem Sterling added a brilliant fifth on 57 minutes when Rodri picked out Mahrez, who in turn found Sterling’s clever run with an exquisite first-time cross on the half volley – a goal of such quality that even Pep Guardiola couldn’t hide his delight on the City bench.
The result sends City top of the league, a point ahead of local rivals Manchester United after 19 games apiece. United could return to the summit with a win over Sheffield United on Wednesday evening, but Man City’s astonishing form (seven wins on the bounce with just one goal conceded) suggests they will take some stopping as the title race continues through the second half of the season.