Kevin De Bruyne was again the inspiration as Manchester City opened up a 15-point lead at the top of the Premier League with a 3-0 win over West Brom.
City may have pulled out of a deadline-day deal for Leicester’s Riyad Mahrez but on the field it was business as usual at the Etihad Stadium.
De Bruyne set up Fernandinho for City’s opening goal and then added the second himself before a delightful late finish from Sergio Aguero wrapped up the win.
Tweet of the Match
Star Man – Kevin De Bruyne
It may seem a lazy choice to continually pick the brilliant Belgian as man of the match, but on this occasion he really was head and shoulders above everyone else on the field. De Bruyne not only set up the opening goal with an inch-perfect pass for Fernandinho but was central to almost all City’s attacks and had several chances to score himself before finally taking one in the second half.
Moment of the match
De Bruyne’s goal was a triumph of talent over the game’s ugly side. Much has been made lately of the hefty tackles some of the City players have been on the receiving end of, and De Bruyne was clearly targeted by James McClean as he burst clear on yet another lightning break. McClean cynically tried to hack him down but De Bruyne was wise to it and skipped the challenge. He then exchanged passes with Raheem Sterling and tucked home City’s second goal of the night.
Spotlight on the new men
City handed an immediate debut to record £57million signing Aymeric Laporte. His appearance was a surprise, given his move was only completed on Tuesday, but he was selected after John Stones fell ill. It proved a comfortable first experience in the Premier League. With City dominating possession, he had very little defensive work to do but he remained disciplined and looked composed on the ball. West Brom chose to introduce Daniel Sturridge from the bench but with the score 2-0 and the game seemingly gone, he had little time to make an impact.
Manchester City: Ederson 6 (out of 10), Kyle Walker 6, Aymeric Laporte 6, Nicolas Otamendi 6, Oleksandr Zinchenko 6, Fernandinho 7, David Silva 6, Kevin De Bruyne 9, Bernardo Silva 7, Raheem Sterling 7, Sergio Aguero 7. Substitutes: Ilkay Gundogan 6 (for David Silva, 39), Brahim Diaz (for De Bruyne, 78) 7.
West Brom: Ben Foster 8, Craig Dawson 6, Gareth McAuley 6, Ahmed Hegazy 6, Allan Nyom 6, Sam Field 6, Claudio Yacob 6, Grzegorz Krychowiak 5, James McClean 4, Jay Rodriguez 5, Salomon Rondon 5. Substitutes: Gareth Barry (for Krychowiak, 33) 6, Matt Phillips (for Field, 44) 4, Daniel Sturridge (for Rondon, 78) 5.
Who’s up next?
Burnley v Manchester City (Premier League, February 3)
West Brom v Southampton (Premier League, February 3)