The real reason Man City have returned to title-challenging form

Whether the temptation is to get wildly carried away on the back of one game, or to err on the side of caution considering much of the Premier League marathon still lies ahead, there is little doubt that Manchester City’s 3-0 win over West Brom on Monday night was encouraging.

That the win came without Sergio Aguero, who was restricted to a substitute’s role through a lack of match fitness, is all the more pleasing, as three other vital cogs to the Citizens cause looked in fine fettle.

Chief among them was Yaya Toure, who was credited with the first two goals at the Hawthorns, but may have the opener taken off him by the infamous dubious goals panel.

When the Ivorian is on song, City tend to make more of a fist of their title challenge and Manuel Pellegrini himself hinted at the towering midfielder’s importance in his post-match comments, suggesting the former Barcelona man may return to his 20-goal form of two seasons ago.

Along with Toure’ driving City forward, David Silva also enjoyed a superb game and may yet be credited with the opening goal after getting a deft touch on Toure’s shot in the ninth minute.

Aside from that faint intervention, the Spaniard was City’s creative force and, even with Claudio Yacob man-marking him in the second half, endlessly found pockets of space with which to operate in.

While Silva has enjoyed a consistent Etihad career, the same cannot be said for his skipper. Vincent Kompany was roundly criticised for a lack of form in the latter part of last season, but looked back to his uncompromising best at the Hawthorns and capped his impressive outing with the third and final goal.

The triumph saw Ladbrokes move Pellegrini’s men into Premier League title favouritism, at 13/8, with Chelsea out to 2/1 in the race.

An early title clash, at the Etihad on Sunday, may not be pivotal to the outcome at this stage, but sees City take 11/10 favouritism for the win.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.