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2012 league champions get back on track with a 3-1 win over struggling West Brom
Manuel Pellegrini's side secure three points after claiming just one in previous two games
City now trail league leaders Liverpool by six points but have a game in hand
Normal service was resumed at the Etihad Stadium on Monday night as Manchester City overcame West Bromwich Albion 3-1 in the English Premier League.
After taking one point from their last two matches, City snatched all three to rekindle their title challenge and deepen West Brom’s relegation woes.
A frantic first 15 minutes saw three goals with Pablo Zabaleta opening the scoring with a diving header in the third minute.
The Argentine right-back responded first after goalkeeper Ben Foster had palmed away Sergio Aguero’s rasping drive to steer the ball home.
Seven minutes later City were two up as Aguero played a neat one-two with Samir Nasri before thumping home a precise low shot past a helpless Foster.
Graham Dorrens showed that Sunderland could also finish in style with a superb goal in the 15th minute – the Scottish midfielder flicking the ball over his shoulder before hitting a volley past keeper Joe Hart.
But the Sky Blues restored their two-goal cushion nine minutes before the break when Martin Demichelis was gifted a simple tap-in following a corner kick.
In the second half, City continued to dominate but couldn’t add to their tally – a fact that wasn’t helped by the departure of David Silva who was stretchered off with an ankle injury in the 65th minute.
“I think we made a very good first 45 minutes – we scored three goals and had more chances to score,” City manager Manuel Pellegrini told Sky Sports.
“The second half we were not so clear with the ball but we (got) the result and that’s what is important.”
The win means City now have 74 points and trail league leaders Liverpool by six points, but they do have a game in hand.
Defeat for West Brom keeps them perilously close to the relegation zone in 16th place with 33 points and only four games remaining with West Ham United up nest at the Hawthorns.
City, meanwhile, have two testing away fixtures to contemplate. On Sunday, they travel to in-form Crystal Palace who have won their last five games before heading to Goodison Park to face Everton on May 3.
Roberto Martinez’s side sent David Moyes’ Manchester United packing with a 2-0 defeat on Sunday.
Several reports in the British media on Monday suggest that Moyes, who took over from Alex Ferguson last year, is on the verge of losing his job with The Telegraph reporting that the 50-year-old Scot has lost the support of owners, the Glazer family.
When CNN contacted United for a response to the reports, Phil Townsend, the club’s director of communications, said: “Nothing has happened at all. I don’t know where the suggestion has come from.”