With just hours remaining until Manchester City starts their pursuit of another Barclays Premier League trophy, the Citizens face a tough test to open the new season. City will travel to West Brom to face a resilient Albion side that has proven difficult to beat, especially in front of their home fans.
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Meanwhile, City will be looking to break the trend of title challenging teams that have struggled to make a statement on the opening weekend. Title favorites Chelsea earned a 2-2 draw against Swansea City. Manchester United survived a tough test from Tottenham to earn a 1-0 win. Liverpool needed an 86th minute stunner from Philippe Coutinho to grab a narrow victory over Stoke. Arsenal was shocked by West Ham, falling to a 2-0 defeat. A convincing victory for City could see the club leap to the front of the table after the first weekend of fixtures.
When it comes to goal scoring, Manchester City is expected to be one of the most prolific clubs in the Premier League this season. Led by Sergio Aguero, the City attack will not be short of goals throughout the campaign.
For West Brom, the attack is led by one of the breakout stars of last season, Saido Berahino. The 22-year-old notched 14 goals last season for the Albion and attracted the attention of some of England’s biggest clubs. ESPN FC reports that Berahino has been linked with a move to Tottenham, but Tony Pulis is more than happy to have the player, for now. Berahino has been good, but if he isn’t scoring goals, the rest of the squad struggles. The signing of Rickie Lambert could be a massive addition for the Albion, especially if Berahino moves on.
In this matchup, goals will be at a premium as West Brom will be setup looking for a draw in this contest. A rusty Sergio Aguero will create plenty of goal scoring chances, but his finishing will leave something to be desired. A late first half strike from Saido Berahino will cancel out a goal from the midfield courtesy of David Silva and the teams will enter the half tied at one. Berahino will expose the lack of pace in the Manchester City defense and raise even more questions about the back four.
In the second half, a late goal from Aguero will see the Citizens grab a lead they will not relinquish. The Argentine in mid-season form would grab a hat-trick, considering the chances he will create against the Albion. However, the late goal will be enough to give City all three points.
Manchester City 2, West Brom 1