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Man City were handed a scare at the weekend when visiting League Two outfit Cheltenham, as they required three goals in the final 10 minutes to avoid an embarrassing loss, despite fielding a fairly strong team featuring the likes of Gabriel Jesus, Phil Foden, Ferran Torres and Riyad Mahrez in attack.
However, such is the depth at Pep Guardiola’s disposal that he was able to hand rests to Ederson, John Stones, Rodri, Bernardo Silva and Raheem Sterling, while Ruben Dias, Joao Cancelo and Ilkay Gundogan were only utilized as second-half substitutes.
The visitors have now won 10 on the trot following that result, whilst the concession against Cheltenham was the first time they’d conceded in six appearances.
The partnership of Stones and Dias at the back has been the platform for success, and with neither starting at the weekend, expect City to be miserly at the back once again.
In fact, that pairing have kept clean sheets in 10 of 11 matches they’ve started together now since late November, with the exception when conceding in a 3-1 win away at Chelsea.
West Brom were actually the last side to avoid defeat to Man City in what was Slaven Bilic’s final game at the helm.
The Baggies are only W1-D1-L4 against Premier League sides since that result, though they did take a point from Anfield, while their last two outings have given cause for optimism.
Sam Allardyce oversaw victory in a derby with Wolves, while his side went down narrowly to an in-form West Ham last time out.
Man City/Man City HT/FT
There’s little reason to think his side can claim a scalp here though. Allardyce has faced Guardiola three times across his spells with Palace and Everton, but City have won each of them by a combined 11-1 scoreline, as the Citizens netted at least three times on each occasion and were ahead by half time in each.
Big Sam loves nothing better than to frustrate the top teams, but in all competitions his side have shipped at least two goals in six of seven outings so far.
That includes when taking on League One outfit Blackpool in the FA Cup, with the Seasiders winning on penalties, while they’ve suffered heavy defeats in all three encounters at the Hawthorns under new management to Aston Villa (3-0), Leeds (5-0) and Arsenal (4-0).
City can return to the top of the standings with a victory here, ahead of Man Utd’s fixture with Sheffield Utd the next day, and should feel confident with West Brom’s sole home win this term coming over rock-bottom Sheffield Utd.
They’ll be without injured duo Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero, but Guardiola doesn’t exactly lack the necessary tools to break the Baggies down.
Man City have only led at both half time and full time in four of eight away matches in the league this term, though three of the four exceptions came against top-half sides Man Utd, Tottenham and West Ham.
In fact, that W/W double has landed in 11 of their 13 trips to bottom-six sides since the start of last season, while West Brom have trailed at the break in each of their six league appearances under Big Sam so far.