Premier League Preview: Manchester City vs West Brom

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  • Manchester City sits six points adrift of Chelsea with 10 games to play
  • Manchester City has not dropped a point against West Brom in their last 6 league meetings
  • Brown Ideye has 5 goals in his last 8 matches, better than Sergio Aguero’s 3

With things teetering on the brink of a freefall, Manchester City has to pick up the pieces, and fast. More and more pressure is being heaped on Manuel Pellegrini as the parallels continue to be drawn with the failed title defense and eventual sacking of Roberto Mancini just a few short years ago.

If there’s anyone to get back on track against, it’s West Brom. The Baggies visit the Emirates Saturday (Watch live, 8:45 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra) having collected a whopping zero points against City in their last six league tries. The last time these teams squared off, a Yaya Toure goal proved the winner as City strolled to a 3-1 win.

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Things are vastly different now. Toure is out injured with an Achilles knock he picked up midweek as the team crashed out of the Champions League, joined by James Milner and Alekander Kolarov on the sidelines. That 3-1 win over West Brom marked the final victory in a seven-match streak for the Citizens. Since that game, City has won just four out of 11 league matches and have shrunk into a distant second in the title race.

West Brom, meanwhile, is buzzing. Since Tony Pulis’s appointment on New Year’s Day, West Brom has lost just twice and has been steered a cool eight points clear of the relegation zone. They won’t want to get comfortable now, however. This fixture aside, the Baggies’ soft 2015 schedule remains so until they finish up the year with a daunting five-spot against Liverpool, Manchester United, Newcastle, Chelsea, and Arsenal. That looming at the end of the year is enough to have fans hoping for as big a cushion as possible to weather the eventual storm.

What they’re saying:

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini on title race: When you have a mathematical chance, you have a chance to win the title. The reality is that it’s more difficult to do so now. Every point we drop will be more difficult. When you have mathematical chances you must continue fighting and see at the end of the season where you will finish. We are not worried about just our team. We know every time we drop it is more difficult. We have 27 points more we must fight for.”

West Brom manager Tony Pulis on striker Saido Berahino: “I think if he gets selected for the Under-21s that’s a big honour in itself. The lad’s been very good lately in his attitude and his approach to everything we have done has been excellent. He’s not said anything to me about it. He has been carrying an injury for the past few weeks but has still shown great character.”

Prediction:

Manchester City will be desperate. Never take on a desperate team. Yaya Toure has been in poor form recently, which minimizes the impact of his injury miss. Pellegrini will get City back on track – at least temporarily – with a 2-0 victory.