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Toure propels slick City to victory at West Brom

Toure propels slick City to victory at West Brom

WEST BROMWICH: Yaya Toure’s first-half double provided a timely reminder of his enduring class as Manchester City began their Premier League campaign with a slick 3-0 victory at West Bromwich Albion on Monday.

The Ivorian, linked with a move away from the Etihad in the close season after some inconsistent displays, gave the former champions a ninth-minute lead following a fortuitous double deflection and added a sublime second with a wonderful curling finish after 24 minutes.

Captain Vincent Kompany headed in the third in the 59th in a fluid team performance that signalled that Manuel Pellegrini’s side will again be serious contenders for the league title after relinquishing the crown to Chelsea last season.

City handed a league debut to Raheem Sterling but the England winger spurned a one-on-one chance in the 41st and was generally overshadowed by his dazzling team-mates Toure and David Silva before he was withdrawn in the second half.

The margin of victory puts City atop the standings after the opening weekend. And with Chelsea held to a draw, Arsenal losing and Manchester United and Liverpool both earning unconvincing 1-0 wins, this was by far the best performance of the first round.

Even more worrying for their rivals is that City did it largely without star striker Sergio Aguero, who only came on as a substitute for the last 25 minutes.

He’s likely to be back in the starting line-up for a tougher test next weekend, when City host Chelsea in an eagerly anticipated matchup.

Toure and Kompany were among City’s most heavily criticised players last season when they failed to reach the high standards of the previous title-winning campaign. But both signalled they’re back to their best this time around.

Toure’s first goal came with a bit of luck as his low shot was deflected by Craig Dawson and trickled slowly over the line past a stationary Boaz Myhill in goal.

Albion were penned into their own half by City and looked bereft of attacking ideas.

That City doubled their advantage came as no surprise and it was a goal made in the Ivory Coast as Toure played a neat one-two with Wilfried Bony — handed a start with Aguero left on the bench following his Copa America exploits — before wrapping his foot around an superb curling shot that flashed into the top-right corner.

Saido Berahino had an effort disallowed for offside moments before halftime and the hosts enjoyed their best period of the game immediately after the break.

Yet any home hopes of a revival were stopped in their tracks when Kompany met Silva’s corner at the near post to beat Myhill with a looping effort which appeared to come off his shoulder.

The Belgium defender celebrated by jumping up and down in front of the travelling City fans, showing just how badly he wants redemption after last season.

“I think for us we have something to prove as last season was below what we are used to,” Kompany told Sky Sports. “This is a team with a lot of intent.

“For us it was a good way to start our first game. We came out here today knowing we had a point to prove. As a team we all have to improve this season. Me more than anyone else probably. ... I just want to get back to my best level.”

Judging by this performance, Kompany and City are almost there.

Published in Dawn, August 12th, 2015

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