Manchester City closed the gap on Manchester United at the top of the Premier League to five points with an emphatic home win over West Brom.
Sergio Aguero struck twice to give City a commanding lead before setting up Carlos Tevez to side-foot home his first goal since May last year.
David Silva's superb chip completed the rout for the dominant home side.
Manchester United's 1-0 defeat at Wigan lets City back into a title race they were seemingly out of before kick-off.
|Man Utd||Man City|
Aston Villa (h)
Man City (a)
Man Utd (h)
The manner in which Roberto Mancini's side trudged from the pitch following their 1-0 loss at Arsenal at the weekend was indicative of a side who believed their hopes of a first Premier League crown were over.
However, City's Italian boss had refused to concede the title, pointing to how Chelsea closed the gap between themselves and United from nine points to three prior to facing the Red Devils three games from the end of last season.
And Mancini's belief was rewarded as his side took West Brom apart at Etihad Stadium, as Wigan were doing them a favour at the DW, and reversing the goal difference advantage in their favour by a margin of three in the process.
An inconsistent second half of the season, during which some of their star performers' influence has faded, is the reason City found themselves facing such seemingly insurmountable title odds coming into this game.
In the first half of the campaign they played some of the finest football in the division, scoring goals at will with an attacking swagger that hinged on the creative vision of Silva and the prolific Aguero.
It is no coincidence that these two played a considerable part in this victory as part of a front five that exchanged positions and possession to weave the ball at speed in and around the Albion box.
If anything, they tried to be too neat at times and often found themselves passing their way into cul-de-sacs. Some credit must go to West Brom for the way they stifled the home side in the first half, although this cost the Baggies any attacking threat at the other end.
City were most effective when more direct, as with the opening goal, which saw Aguero hold off the attentions of Keith Andrews before hammering a shot past Ben Foster from the edge of the area.
The home side continued to forge chances but had to wait until early in the second half to double their advantage when Samir Nasri's threaded ball found Aguero in the box to slot in his second.
Aguero then turned supplier for his fellow Argentine forward Tevez - starting his first game since 21 September 2011 - to side-foot his first goal in 11 months. He mis-hit his 15-yard shot and it took a deflection but Tevez will not care. Nor did the City fans, some of whom had booed the striker's every touch.
Aguero was the supplier again as Silva's delightful chip from an angle made it four. It was a moment of sheer quality and a sure sign that City have rediscovered their belief.
West Brom manager Roy Hodgson:
"It's disappointing to lose by four goals. That doesn't happen often. But we were beaten by a better team.
"It was a very dominant performance by Man City and we were always fighting to get in the game.
"We were always going to find it difficult here with the team we could put out and with the team they had at their disposal."
- 25 Hart
- 02 Richards
- 04 Kompany
- 06 Lescott
- 22 Clichy
- 18 Barry
- 19 Nasri
- 21 Silva (Zabaleta - 81' )
- 34 De Jong
- 16 Aguero (Dzeko - 74' )
- 32 Tevez (Johnson - 63' )
- 30 Pantilimon
- 05 Zabaleta
- 13 Kolarov
- 07 Milner
- 08 Pizarro
- 11 Johnson
- 10 Dzeko
West Bromwich Albion
- 01 Foster
- 03 Olsson
- 20 Shorey
- 25 Dawson
- 28 Jones
- 08 Andrews
- 17 Dorrans (Tchoyi - 78' )
- 21 Mulumbu (Fortune - 68' )
- 33 Scharner
- 09 Long
- 31 Cox
- 19 Daniels
- 23 McAuley
- 26 Hurst
- 05 Tchoyi
- 39 Roofe
- 24 Odemwingie
- 32 Fortune
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The referee blows his whistle to end the game.90:00 +2:00
Samir Nasri has a curled shot. Blocked by Keith Andrews.87:44
Unfair challenge on Marc-Antoine Fortune by Gareth Barry results in a free kick. Keith Andrews takes the direct free kick.86:37
Shot by Marc-Antoine Fortune from deep inside the penalty area misses to the left of the goal.84:36
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Simon Cox by Micah Richards. Keith Andrews restarts play with the free kick.82:00
The ball is delivered by Samir Nasri.78:08
Micah Richards takes the free kick.78:08 Substitution
Substitution Pablo Zabaleta replaces David Silva.78:08
Free kick awarded for a foul by Keith Andrews on Samir Nasri.76:46
Direct free kick taken by Joe Hart.76:46 Substitution
Substitution Graham Dorrans leaves the field to be replaced by Somen Tchoyi.76:46
Foul by Paul Scharner on Joleon Lescott, free kick awarded.76:40
The ball is delivered by Marc-Antoine Fortune, Joleon Lescott makes a clearance.76:31
Simon Cox produces a cross, Vincent Kompany makes a clearance.75:18
Unfair challenge on Jonas Olsson by Edin Dzeko results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Keith Andrews.74:56
Marc-Antoine Fortune concedes a free kick for a foul on Nigel De Jong. Free kick taken by Joe Hart.73:47
Corner taken right-footed by Graham Dorrans from the right by-line, Paul Scharner produces a header from deep inside the six-yard box that clears the crossbar.73:21 Substitution
Substitution (Man City) makes a substitution, with Edin Dzeko coming on for Sergio Aguero.73:07
The ball is swung over by Marc-Antoine Fortune, Vincent Kompany makes a clearance.72:29
The ball is sent over by Adam Johnson, Ben Foster makes a save.
Adam Johnson produces a cross, Sergio Aguero produces a header from inside the six-yard box that clears the bar.67:41
Ben Foster takes the direct free kick.67:41 Substitution
Substitution Marc-Antoine Fortune replaces Youssouf Mulumbu.67:41
Micah Richards gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Paul Scharner.67:14
Inswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Samir Nasri.66:45
A cross is delivered by David Silva, blocked by Billy Jones.63:45
Assist on the goal came from Sergio Aguero.63:45 Goal scored
Goal! - David Silva - Man City 4 - 0 West Brom Goal scored by David Silva from deep inside the penalty area to the bottom right corner of the goal. Man City 4-0 West Brom.62:20 Substitution
Substitution Adam Johnson on for Carlos Tevez.60:33
Assist by Sergio Aguero.60:33 Goal scored
Goal! - Carlos Tevez - Man City 3 - 0 West Brom Carlos Tevez scores a goal from inside the penalty box to the top left corner of the goal. Man City 3-0 West Brom.59:50
David Silva takes the inswinging corner, Sergio Aguero takes a shot. Youssouf Mulumbu manages to make a clearance.59:43
A cross is delivered by David Silva, Craig Dawson manages to make a clearance.58:35
Micah Richards produces a cross, clearance by Craig Dawson.57:59
Gareth Barry challenges Graham Dorrans unfairly and gives away a free kick. Jonas Olsson takes the direct free kick.56:02
Graham Dorrans takes a inswinging corner from the left by-line played to the near post, Gareth Barry manages to make a clearance.55:47
Graham Dorrans delivers the ball, blocked by Gareth Barry.54:30
Samir Nasri produces a left-footed shot from deep inside the penalty box which goes wide of the right-hand upright.53:05
The assist for the goal came from Samir Nasri.53:05 Goal scored
Goal! - Sergio Aguero - Man City 2 - 0 West Brom Goal scored by Sergio Aguero from inside the six-yard box to the bottom right corner of the goal. Man City 2-0 West Brom.52:14
Samir Nasri takes a shot from inside the box clearing the bar.50:06
David Silva takes a shot.48:54
Foul by Youssouf Mulumbu on Carlos Tevez, free kick awarded. Nigel De Jong restarts play with the free kick.48:03
Centre by David Silva, Effort from inside the area by Samir Nasri misses to the left of the goal.45:21
Graham Dorrans challenges David Silva unfairly and gives away a free kick. Indirect free kick taken by Vincent Kompany.45:01
The second half has started.45:00 +1:34 Half time
Half Time It is the end of the first-half.45:00 +0:34
Free kick awarded for a foul by David Silva on Youssouf Mulumbu. Jonas Olsson takes the free kick.43:12
The ball is sent over by Samir Nasri.40:25
Corner taken by Carlos Tevez from the left by-line to the near post, clearance made by Shane Long.39:14
Vincent Kompany concedes a free kick for a foul on Shane Long. Ben Foster restarts play with the free kick.39:00
Outswinging corner taken by Samir Nasri from the right by-line, clearance made by Jonas Olsson.37:36
Gael Clichy fouled by Simon Cox, the ref awards a free kick. Joe Hart takes the free kick.34:45
Gael Clichy produces a cross, Craig Dawson manages to make a clearance.32:39
Keith Andrews sends in a cross, Vincent Kompany manages to make a clearance.30:28
Micah Richards takes a shot. Blocked by Craig Dawson. Corner taken by Samir Nasri from the left by-line. A cross is delivered by Gareth Barry.29:22
Keith Andrews takes a shot. Save by Joe Hart.28:30
The ball is delivered by Simon Cox.27:45
The official flags Micah Richards offside. Ben Foster restarts play with the free kick.27:25
Samir Nasri takes a shot. Craig Dawson gets a block in.26:25
Gareth Barry takes a shot. Craig Dawson gets a block in.24:29
Corner taken by David Silva played to the near post, clearance made by Shane Long.21:54
David Silva takes a shot. Save by Ben Foster.20:54
Shane Long concedes a free kick for a foul on Vincent Kompany. Joleon Lescott restarts play with the free kick.16:42
Gareth Barry fouled by Shane Long, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Nigel De Jong.11:49
Carlos Tevez takes a shot from just inside the penalty box which clears the crossbar.5:19
Assist by Samir Nasri.5:19 Goal scored
Goal! - Sergio Aguero - Man City 1 - 0 West Brom Sergio Aguero finds the net with a goal from outside the penalty box to the bottom left corner of the goal. Man City 1-0 West Brom.4:04
Paul Scharner concedes a free kick for a foul on David Silva. Direct free kick taken by Nigel De Jong.2:30
Sergio Aguero takes a shot. Simon Cox gets a block in.1:05
Simon Cox produces a left-footed shot from outside the penalty box and misses left.0:00
The referee starts the match.
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