Manchester City closes EPL gap with win over West Brom

Manchester City's Martin Demichelis celebrates his goal against West Brom on Monday.
Manchester City/AP

MANCHESTER, England (AP) - Manchester City stayed alive in the English Premier League title race by beating West Bromwich Albion 3-1 thanks to first-half goals by three Argentines on Monday.

Pablo Zabaleta and Sergio Aguero struck in the opening 10 minutes at Etihad Stadium to set third-place City on its way to a victory that trimmed the gap to league leader Liverpool to six points, with a game still in hand.

Graham Dorrans' spectacular 16th-minute volley halved West Brom's deficit but Martin Demichelis bundled in a close-range finish in the 33rd to help secure a routine win for the home side.

City, which moved a point behind Chelsea, likely has to win its final four matches if the team has any chance of reeling in Liverpool.

Manuel Pellegrini's side rediscovered the creativity and bite to its forward play that was lacking in last week's 2-2 draw with Sunderland that severely dented its hopes of catching Liverpool, and much of that can be put down to the return of David Silva.

The Spain playmaker prompted many of City's attacks in the opening blitz that proved too much for West Brom, but his match was ended in the 69th when he was carried off on a stretcher with his right leg in a brace following an innocuous challenge by Morgan Amalfitano.

With City facing upcoming trips to Crystal Palace and Everton, a long injury absence for Silva would be a huge blow to the team's title aspirations.

By the time he departed, the damage had been done by City's three Argentines.

Zabaleta stooped to head home a rebound after Aguero's shot was palmed out by the West Brom goalkeeper, and Aguero buried a low shot into the corner from 25 meters for his first goal since Jan. 29. Like against Sunderland, the striker lasted only around an hour as he looks to return to full fitness after a hamstring injury.

Dorrans finished off a fast counterattack, which had its origins in a botched free kick by City close to West Brom's area, by twisting and turning Gael Clichy and letting fly with a fierce volley that crashed into the net off the post.

Demichelis restored the two-goal lead after getting the end of Komapny's flick-on from Samir Nasri's corner.

The second half was a subdued affair, marred by the departure of Silva.

City climbed four points clear of fourth-place Arsenal but will be looking up in the standings, not below, as it goes in search of a second title in three years.

West Brom stayed 16th, three points above the relegation zone with four games remaining.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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