There’s no neutrality in terms of this fixture, City have been ruthless against the bottom feeders this season and with the accolade of top spot for 2012 as an added incentive, WBA will need to brave the inevitable onslaught with which City have become synonymous with.
These defining few months have seen the Citizens maintain their title challenge with only the Chelsea defeat blotting an otherwise perfect season. Despite this, Roberto Mancini’s side still have United breathing down their necks (an unwelcome experience many an ageing prostitute has endured with a certain Mr Rooney).
City have a decent record against West Brom, notching up three wins in their last three meetings with the midlands side. That said, no game is easy – especially over the congestive festive period. Roy Hodgeson`s side recorded a well earned victory against Newcastle United in their last fixture, a result that will provide a huge boost in an otherwise poor season.
Adversely, City couldn`t possibly gain anymore confidence. A 3-0 win against Stoke has become the status quo and only complacency now stands in the way of a victory at the Hawthorns.
WBA Team News:
Steven Reid, Youssouf Mulumbu and Jerome Thomas all picked up knocks and may be rested over this busy period.
Fortunately for WBA, James Morrison looks ready to return to action and will prove a welcome addition to an otherwise underwhelming line-up.
Player to watch: Peter Odemwingie
Peter Odemwingie has had a dreadful start to this season, injury and a range of other factors contributing. Roy Hodgeson has publicly criticised his star striker, but their is no denying his talent provides a massive threat for the home side.
Scoring against Newcastle last week could kickstart his season and he will need to be kept an eye on if Joe Hart hopes to maintain another clean sheet.
Manchester City Team News:
Micah Richards and Edin Dzeko are likely to be rested for another game as they struggle to overcome their respective injuries.
If so, they will be joining Aleksandar Kolarov on the sidelines as City’s only long term absentee watches on from the stands.
Player to watch: Yaya Toure
The Ivorian’s power and pace is truely a force to be reckoned with. Brushing aside even the most solid of defenders with unnerving ease, Toure has become almost symbolic of City’s power.
Against the likes of WBA, Toure can cause all sorts of problems, his link up play through the middle providing the cutting edge than can carve aside teams in the blink of an eye.
Match Facts & Stats
The Baggies have lost five of their last eight Premier League games at the home.
West Brom have lost all of their Premier League games on Boxing Day to date.
Lee Mason takes charge on this Boxing Day mismatch.
City fans have been accused of arrogance recently – but don’t mistake arrogance for belief. Vincent Kompany recently stated he has a ‘gut feeling’ that this is our year. Many City fans would agree – including myself. Football being the unpredicable beast that it is, anything could happen today. Manchester City being the predictable beast that they are, all things point to a resounding victory. WBA 1-4 Manchester City
Premier League: Away to Sunderland on Sunday 1st January 2012 @ 3pm.