West Brom vs. Manchester City Preview

Premier League

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Published: 21/12/2011

Roy Hodgson will be wishing for a Christmas miracle at the Hawthorns on Boxing Day when his struggling West Brom side take on the mighty Manchester City.

Despite a run of poor results which included a home defeat to relegation fodder Wigan Athletic, the hosts still occupy a fairly same looking 13th spot in the Premier League table, however they may be looking down rather than up by the time City get back on the team bus on December 26.

Hodgson has been lined up as a future England manager and he has arguably done a very good job at the Midlandís club following on from a disappointing tenure at Liverpool where pressure of the job certainly appeared to get to him.

That period on Merseyside has raised the most doubts regarding his England credentials but a safe camapaign at the helm of West Brom would do much to restore his reputation. His side will be doing all they can to pull off a shock result on Boxing Day but it will be nothing short of a miracle if they can contain, never mind overhaul a rampant City.

Man for man, Roberto Manciniís outfit are better than most sides in the league and they have passed far sterner tests than this one so far, including when winning 2-8 at Old Trafford and also when beating a resurgent Arsenal at Eastlandís.

That recent result against the Gunners suggested that Champions League disappointment is unlikely to derail Cityís domestic form which has consistently been to a lamentable standard.

Although the club suffered a blip at Chelsea when losing out in stoppage time, they remain the ones to catch at the head of affairs and Manciniís experience will be crucial leading into the second half of the season.

It can only take one result to change a season and a defeat at West Brom would undoubtedly have the critics well and truly on City and Manciniís back. But the Italian knows how to handle even the scrappiest of opponents and he looks sure to get the better of his compatriot Hodgson in this affair.

West Brom are a physical unit and they will make life tough for the visitors, but prolonging their efforts over the duration of ninety minutes over a super fit City team looks the main worry.

Cityís clash with Arsenal was played at breakneck speed however they proved their endurance as well as their class to hold out comfortably as well as managing to create chances right until the final whistle.

It may only take one goal to finish West Brom off if it turns into a physical encounter but with Balotelli and Aguero firing it is hard to envisage City not hitting the net, whilst at the other end, West Brom will have to improve massively to leave a lasting impression having only scored sixteen goals in as many games so far this campaign.

A straight 1/2 is available about a Manchester City success and although a safe and unspectacular bet, it definitely looks the only option with any other result looking unlikely.


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