- Albion 1, Manchester City 4
Albion suffered only their second Premier League defeat of the season as they succumbed to an eye-catching first-half performance from the champions.
Manchester City had the game effectively won inside 32 minutes after goals from Ilkay Gundogan and two by Phil Foden left Albion with too much to do.
The home side were a lot better in the second period and tested Ederson on several occasions before substitute Alexis Mac Allister got one back from the penalty spot with ten minutes to go. It was no more than Albion deserved for their second-half efforts but City were worthy winners and Riyad Mahrez got a fourth deep into added time.
Graham Potter made one change to the side held by Norwich last week with Solly March coming in for Shane Duffy.
The Amex atmosphere was terrific at kick off, but City were soon in their stride and it needed an unbelievable clearance by captain Lewis Dunk to prevent them from taking an early lead.
City countered at pace and Gabriel Jesus was picked out in space on the right. He took the ball past Marc Cucurella and clipped it towards an empty net but Dunk produced a spectacular bicycle kick to hook it off the line.
The home fans roared their approval but the mood changed on 13 minutes when City took the lead. Phil Foden’s deflected shot looped into the air but Rob Sanchez fumbled the ball as he tried to claim it and Bernardo Silva was able to hook it back into the goalmouth and give Gundogan a tap-in. A VAR check confirmed that the goal was good.
City had the bit between their teeth. Albion enjoyed some decent possession and Leandro Trossard spun and fired wide but they were ruthlessly exposed by a rapid 28th-minute counter-attack which doubled City’s advantage.
Bernardo Silva - in his own half - played a wonderful through ball to Jack Grealish, who cut in from the left before unselfishly teeing up Foden to make it 2-0, as Dan Burn made a desperate attempt to block.
Four minutes later City struck again with Grealish heavily involved. Sanchez blocked his low shot with his feet but the rebound fell to Jesus, who guided it inside the post with the ball taking a deflection off Foden for 3-0.
Albion rallied before the break with Ederson forced to hold a stinging drive from March at the second attempt but City finished on top with Sanchez saving well from Foden and Grealish, two of nine shots on target – the most by any club in the first half so far this season.
Potter made two changes early in the second half, introducing Tariq Lamptey and Enock Mwepu shortly after Pascal Gross had tested Ederson with a shot on the turn which the Brazilian blocked. March then made good progress down the left but his driven cross was just out of Neal Maupay’s reach in the six-yard box before Trossard drilled a right-foot shot straight at the City keeper after good work by Jakub Moder.
Albion had given a good account of themselves since the break and the Amex crowd hadn’t given up either, roaring their approval when Lamptey twisted past Grealish to set up a chance which ended with Ederson making another routine save from Trossard’s shot.
The hosts got a goal they deserved with ten minutes left. Mwepu was brought down by Ederson as he tried to go round the keeper and referee Kevin Friend pointed to the spot. Mac Allister’s effort had too much power as it flew inside the right-hand upright, although Ederson did get a hand to the ball.
City had the last word though when substitute Mahrez smashed the ball past Sanchez in stoppage time to make it 4-1. The final scoreline was a little harsh on Albion, but City were too strong.
Albion: Sanchez, Veltman, Burn (Lamptey 57), Dunk, Cucurella, Moder, Trossard, Lallana, Gross (Mac Allister 71), March, Maupay (Mwepu 57).
Unused subs: Steele, Webster, Connolly, Bissouma, Duffy, Richards.