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Manchester City move top of the Premier League after West Brom rout

Ilkay Gundogan’s brace helped inspire City to an 11th straight win.

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Manchester City’s Ilkay Gundogan, centre, celebrates his opener in the win at West Brom (Nick Potts/PA)

Manchester City’s Ilkay Gundogan, centre, celebrates his opener in the win at West Brom (Nick Potts/PA)

Manchester City’s Ilkay Gundogan, centre, celebrates his opener in the win at West Brom (Nick Potts/PA)

Ruthless Manchester City returned to the top of the Premier League after hammering West Brom 5-0.

The in-form Ilkay Gundogan scored twice while Joao Cancelo, Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling also netted in the Hawthorns rout.

City moved above Manchester United, who can reclaim top spot by beating Sheffield United on Wednesday, after an 11th straight victory in all competitions.

It is their longest winning run for over three years and they sent an ominous message to their title rivals – moving seven points clear of Liverpool and making light work of Kevin De Bruyne’s injury-enforced absence.

In contrast, the Baggies have now lost their last five top-flight home games – their worst run at The Hawthorns in the Premier League in 17 years – while conceding 22 goals in the process.

Albion remain second bottom and six points from safety with Sam Allardyce yet to see his side score at home, having overseen a scoreline of 0-17 in those four matches.

They actually started well enough before Phil Foden, making his 100th appearance for City, forced Sam Johnstone to turn his low drive onto the post after a quick break.

It was the early warning before City grabbed the lead after six minutes thanks to Gundogan’s sixth goal in 10 games.

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Ilkay Gundogan,left, opens the scoring (Michael Regan/PA)

Ilkay Gundogan,left, opens the scoring (Michael Regan/PA)

Ilkay Gundogan,left, opens the scoring (Michael Regan/PA)

Cancelo’s searching pass was expertly collected by the midfielder and he turned before curling a fine effort into the bottom corner from 20 yards.

It was the cue for City to take control and Cancelo and Mahrez fired over.

Albion had to keep their nerve but controversially went 2-0 down after 20 minutes.

Bernardo Silva teed up Cancelo but had been flagged offside – with some of the home defence stopping before Cancelo curled into the top corner from 18 yards.

A lengthy VAR check showed Darnell Furlong had played Silva onside but assistant referee Sian Massey-Ellis had incorrectly signalled early to leave Albion fuming.

Yet, there was no way back for the Baggies and City went for the kill to make it 3-0 after half an hour.

Albion were the masters of their downfall as they failed to clear and Gundogan robbed Romaine Sawyers on the edge of the box before turning Dara O’Shea and firing past Johnstone.

Effortless City had barely broken sweat and continued to put sorry Albion to the sword with a fourth in first-half stoppage time.

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Goalscorers Riyad Mahrez, left, and Raheem Sterling, right, celebrate (Laurence Griffiths/PA)

Goalscorers Riyad Mahrez, left, and Raheem Sterling, right, celebrate (Laurence Griffiths/PA)

Goalscorers Riyad Mahrez, left, and Raheem Sterling, right, celebrate (Laurence Griffiths/PA)

Sterling picked out Mahrez in the box and he was allowed to check inside before sweeping past Johnstone.

City’s domination continued after the break, with Rodri’s 25-yard drive clipping the bar, and a fifth goal arrived after 57 minutes.

This time Mahrez returned the favour for Sterling, steering Rodri’s lofted pass across for the England forward to net his ninth goal of the season from close range.

City continued to toy with their hosts but failed to find another goal, with Johnstone gathering from Cancelo in stoppage time.

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