Man City held 1-1 by West Brom; Chelsea lose to Wolves
Sports Desk, Dec 15 (efe-epa).- Manchester City could manage no better than a 1-1 draw Tuesday against West Bromwich Albion, the second-worst team in the Premier League, while Chelsea fell 2-1 to Wolverhampton.
While the result at the Etihad was a disappointment for Pep Guardiola, West Brom’s Slaven Bilic was thrilled to become the first Baggies coach since 2011 to see his squad pick up a point against City.
Though Bilic bucked conventional wisdom by eschewing a park-the-bus approach against the vastly more talented hosts, City had nearly 80 percent possession.
Still, the match was in the 30th minute before Raheem Sterling’s pass from the byline met the onrushing Ilkay Gündogan and the German international hammered home to put City up 1-0.
Based on previous form, the club that won two consecutive Premier League titles should have been in full command from that point.
With two minutes left in first-half regulation, West Brom’s only real chance of the contest was transformed into an equalizer when Semi Ajayi’s strike from the edge of the area after a free kick took a deflection off defender Ruben Dias and slipped beneath City goalkeeper Ederson.
City laid siege to the West Brom goal for the entire second half, outshooting the visitors 26-5, but Baggies keeper Sam Johnstone made a string of impressive stops and the contest ended 1-1.
With 20 points from a dozen matches, Man City are sixth in the table. West Brom, on 7 points, remain 19th.
Earlier Tuesday, Chelsea lost 2-1 to Wolverhampton to slip to fifth place, while Wolves moved up to ninth.
Still adjusting to the absence of top striker Raul Jimenez as he recovers from a head injury, Wolves conceded 56 percent possession to the visitors from London but allowed them only three shots on target.
The highlights of the first half at Molineux were a Pedro Neto shot palmed away by Blues goalkeeper Edouard Mendy and a thunderous header by Chelsea’s Kurt Zouma that bounced off the post.
The sides remained deadlocked at 0-0 until four minutes into the second half, when Ben Chilwell’s cross found Olivier Giroud in front of the Wolverhampton net and the Frenchman scored.
Keeper Rui Patricio got his hands on the ball, but only after it was across the line and his attempt to sweep it back out fooled nobody.
The hosts drew level in the 66th minute with a magnificent goal by Daniel Podence, who shook off defender Reece James with his first touch before sending the ball into the top corner at the near post.
The referee pointed to the spot in the 81st minute after Neto went down in the Chelsea area, only for the penalty to be withdrawn after a VAR review.
Chelsea looked set to walk away with a point until Neto scored on the counter in the 95th minute to inflict a second consecutive defeat on Frank Lampard’s squad, who remain on 22 points, 3 points off the pace of Tottenham Hotspur and defending champions Liverpool.
Wolves emerged from their own two-game losing streak to go to 20 points. EFE