Match Reports

Manchester City too strong for Albion

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Champions win 4-0 at the Amex.

By Bruce Talbot • 25 April 2024

By Paul Hazlewood
Skipper Lewis Dunk puts Phil Foden under pressure.

Ruthless Manchester City gave a champions performance at the Amex as they condemned Albion to a second successive home defeat.

After a bright start, Albion conceded three goals in 17 minutes with Phil Foden (2) and Kevin De Bruyne putting City in control. Julian Alvarez made it 4-0 in the second half. 

Two controversial moments left Albion fans frustrated. Foden slipped but was awarded a free-kick in the build-up to City’s second goal and referee Jarred Gillett rejected Albion's penalty appeals when Joao was brought down after the break. It wouldn’t have made a difference to the outcome but considering their contribution to the game the hosts didn’t deserve such a hefty margin of defeat.

By Paul Hazlewood
Frustration for Jason Steele after he was left helpless by a big deflection for City's second goal.

The headline team news was a recall in goal for Jason Steele and a first start for Valentine Barco and Albion started well. Danny Welbeck tested Ederson with a low drive and in the opening 15 minutes the hosts passed the ball and pressed impressively.

However, it was City who opened the scoring after 17 minutes. Foden cut in from the left and swept a pass out to Kyle Walker on the right. His cross was perfect for De Bruyne in space to run onto and guide a fabulous header from 12 yards into the top corner.

Albion responded and Lewis Dunk headed Pascal Gross’s corner at Ederson, but the champions were in determined mood and Jan Paul van Hecke had to make a crucial block after De Bruyne stormed forward from the halfway line and let fly.

By Paul Hazlewood
Valentin Barco brings the ball forward on his first Premier League start.

But it was 2-0 after 26 minutes. Replays showed Foden slipped rather than being fouled during a twisting run and his free-kick from the right-hand corner of the box deflected off Gross and flew inside the far post, giving the wrong-footed Steele no chance.

City scored again in the 34th minute. Barco couldn’t beat City’s press and Bernardo Silva nipped in to tee up Foden who clinically swept his 16th goal of the season into the far corner with a curving right-foot shot.

Odel Offiah, Simon Adingra and Igor were all on within ten minutes of the restart and Ederson had to be alert to save at Joao’s feet after Barco had beaten Kyle Walker to set up the chance.

By Paul Hazlewood
Joao challenges Manchester City captain Kyle Walker.

But City stretched their lead on 63 minutes. Ederson’s long ball down the right released Walker who cut into the box and although Steele smothered his shot, the loose ball was swept home by Alvarez.

Joao and 30,000 Albion fans were indignant again when the Brazilian went down under Josko Gvardiol’s challenge in the box but referee Gillett ignored the protests and the consolation goal they deserved eluded the Seagulls. 

A tough night, then, for Roberto De Zerbi who must have wished he could have faced City in this mood without nine players missing.

Albion: Steele, Veltman (sub: Offiah 45), Dunk, van Hecke, Gross, Buonanotte, Baleba, Moder (Igor 55), Lallana (Adingra 45), Welbeck, (O’Mahony 75) Joao.

Subs not used: Verbruggen, Webster, Enciso, Fati, Buonanotte.

Referee: Jarred Gillett

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