The Warm Down: City cruise past West Brom
WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - JANUARY 26: Joao Cancelo of Manchester City scores their team's second goal during the Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Manchester City at The Hawthorns on January 26, 2021 in West Bromwich, England.  ( Photo by Manchester City FC/Manchester City FC via Getty Images )

Tuesday night's game at the Hawthorns was realistically over before half-time as a rare strike from Joao Cancelo was sandwiched between a stunning double from İlkay Gündoğan, handing Manchester City a very comfortable lead inside 30 minutes.

Raheem Sterling assisted a Riyad Mahrez fourth just on the stroke of half-time, with the roles reversed as the Algerian winger put the ball on a plate for Sterling to make it five before the hour-mark.

West Bromwich Albion made multiple chances in the early stages of the game, giving Ederson, Ruben Dias, and City a few scares before the Blues turned on the style to punish a sorry West Brom side.

The win for City takes them top of the Premier League table, one point above their Manchester rivals - Manchester United.

  • Gündoğan shines once again

Although a regular occurrence now, Gündoğan's importance in this City team is glaringly obvious, especially with Kevin De Bruyne missing through injury.

The two goals tonight make it five goals in seven Premier League games for the German, with seven goals total in 14 appearances. These stats, along with his experience and leadership skills, City are looking hopeful even without their star man.

As well as inspiring a win for City against Sam Allardyce's West Brom, he has also boosted the confidence of many Citizens after the news that De Bruyne could be out for four to six weeks. City are in safe hands.

  • Walker's successor

Cancelo has shown time and time again this season his talent and skill. With Kyle Walker missing through a hip injury sustained during the league win versus Aston Villa, the Portuguese man had to step up to fill in for the experienced City full-back. 

After coming on against Cheltenham Town in the FA Cup, and being one of the substitutes to help salvage a win against the League Two, Cancelo performed once again with a goal and an assist against West Brom - his first Premier League goal in Man City colours. This rightfully so earned the defender the Man of the Match award.

Walker may be back in the side soon due to his injury not being serious, but it is clear Cancelo can also play on the opposite side of the pitch. So, this means City can play with two extremely talented defenders without having to leave one of them on the bench, despite them both being right-footed.

  • Confidence boost for Sterling

Sterling has been struggling to find his form this season, with only six goals in 18 appearances. Pep Guardiola has kept his faith in the deadly winger which has paid off recently with the last goal against Crystal Palace, and now against West Brom.

The Englishman also recorded an assist for Mahrez's goal, taking him up to four for the season. Although a very simple tap-in for the experienced winger, it was the cherry on the top of a superb team display and also, a brilliant team goal.

  • Class recognises class

"Sam Allardyce is a genius to take these teams - when everyone believes it’s over - and gets results," Guardiola told the Mail Online.

"If it happens once or twice then it’s lucky but not in this case as he’s done it I don’t know how many times."

The City manager was full of admiration for the man known for escaping relegation with Championship-bound clubs. Guardiola also knew from the last meeting between the two sides that West Brom are not a side to underestimate, a game which ended 1-1 at the Etihad.

Saying this, the Baggies are currently six points adrift from 17th-placed Brighton & Hove Albion (and safety) with one more game played. West Brom will need a genius to get them out of this situation.

  • A special moment for Foden

Tuesday's dominant display marked 100 Man City appearances for the 20-year-old, and in fine fashion. Despite not getting on the score sheet or assisting, Phil Foden continues to make his presence known in midfield and on the wing. 

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Foden joins Gündoğan in having to step up for the next few weeks, even at such a young age. The England international has so much potential and is a rising star in the world of football. If Guardiola continues to play the youngster, Foden could be a world-class player - Citizens will hope so anyway.