West Brom 0-5 Man City: From Stop-Gap to Goal-Machine – Ilkay Gundogan Emerges as Unlikely Driving Force
Ilkay Gundogan’s first-half double and goals from Joao Cancelo, Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling eased Man City to victory at The Hawthorns.
Pep Guardiola’s side are the ninth team to top the table this season but, after an 11th straight win in all competitions, the Spaniard is keeping his cool.
In a press conference, Guardiola said “The last thing I’m thinking of is the table, now I want to come back home safely, have a few days off and Sheffield United [City’s next match] is all I’m concerned about.
“We still have 19 games to go in this incredible marathon. We are going to drop points and lose games but the important thing is to be calm, like we were when we were 12th in the table and understand why we didn’t win that game and immediately win the next one.
“This is all I’m concerned about now. It’s the Premier League, welcome, it’s so tough for everyone. You know it’s competitive but we have had a good run.
“Congratulations to the team, we could not leave our box for the first two or three minutes but the rest of the game was good.”
Although Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero were out of the game due to injury, City were never troubled at The Hawthorns. It was 3-0 after half an hour when Gundogan grabbed his second, grabbing the ball from Romaine Sawyers and shooting past Dara O’Shea to score.
Riyad Mahrez added a fourth in first-half stoppage time after Sterling’s pass. Rodri struck the bar from distance after the break and Sterling wrapped up the scoring in the 57th minute when he tapped in Mahrez’s cross. Gundogan, however, was the man of the match.
“He has always showed this level, except in the first season because he had an ACL,” Guardiola added. “He has always showed an incredible personality. He is generous and a very nice guy.”
West Brom manager, Sam Allardyce was not happy with the officials for City’s second goal at The Hawthorns. He blamed the officials for the offside goal that was given by the VAR.
West Brom have now conceded 22 times in their last 5 home games.
“I was disappointed in the performance and to get it out the way means we can learn from it and we don’t see it again. I can accept defeat but not like that.” Allardyce said.
Manchester City, however, are now a point ahead of Manchester United, although United can reclaim top spot with victory over Sheffield United on Wednesday, January 27th.