Manchester City’s lack of cutting edge proved costly again as Pep Guardiola’s stuttering side was held to a 1-1 draw by next-to-last West Bromwich Albion on Tuesday to remain off the pace in the Premier League.
Ilkay Gundogan put City ahead on the half-hour mark but after Ruben Dias’ own-goal brought West Brom level in the 43rd minute, the hosts struggled to find a way through the most porous defense in the league.
There was late drama as West Brom goalkeeper Sam Johnstone made point-blank saves to deny Gundogan and Raheem Sterling in stoppage time, but a late twist would have been harsh on the visitors and flattered this City performance.
It was the first time City had failed to beat West Brom since 2011, ending a run of 13 consecutive league victories in this fixture, and the result leaves the team five points off Tottenham and Liverpool, the top two who meet Wednesday.
City, widely criticized for being pedestrian in Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Manchester United at Old Trafford, did not start much faster here as West Brom sat back.
The big early chance went to the visitors as City right back Joao Cancelo tried to cut out Conor Gallagher’s pass but succeeded only in playing in West Brom striker Karlan Grant, who should have scored as Ederson got down low to his left to save.
Guardiola had restored Phil Foden to the starting lineup but, even against a side in 19th place in the league, looked conservative in his tactics with Gundogan sitting deep alongside Rodri.
City did not manage a meaningful chance in the opening 25 minutes and the first that did come its way was from a set piece as Rodri headed over from Kevin De Bruyne’s corner.
The breakthrough came when Sterling got to the byline and cut the ball back for Gundogan to sweep home a finish from close range.
The game sparked into life as Gallagher sent a shot narrowly wide at the other end before Cancelo had two chances, the first a shot straight at Johnstone from the edge of the area before his ambitious volley from De Bruyne’s corner flew wide.
Chelsea lose 2-1 at Wolves for 2nd defeat in 4 days
Chelsea lost in the Premier League for the second time in four days as Pedro Neto scored in the fifth minute of stoppage time to earn Wolverhampton a 2-1 win on Tuesday.
Arriving at Molineux on the back of a 1-0 defeat at Everton, Chelsea missed the chance to move into first place in the standings despite taking the lead through Olivier Giroud in the 49th minute.
Daniel Podence equalized off a deflected shot in the 66th and Neto, a fellow Portugal international, completed the turnaround when he was played in down the left on a Wolves counterattack before driving a low finish past goalkeeper Edoaurd Mendy and into the bottom corner.
Chelsea has lost two straight games after going on a 17-match unbeaten run in all competitions and appears to be missing the creativity of playmaker Hakim Ziyech, who didn’t play against either Everton or Wolves because of injury.
Even with the return of U.S. winger Christian Pulisic — back from his latest injury setback and making just his third start in the league this season — Chelsea struggled to create many clear-cut chances and only went ahead in slightly fortunate circumstances.
Giroud’s volley from a left-wing cross from Ben Chilwell went straight at Rui Patricio — only for the Wolves goalkeeper to carry it inadvertently over his own line. The referee only belatedly awarded the goal after being given a signal on his watch that the ball had crossed the line.
It was Giroud’s seventh goal in his past seven games in all competitions.
Wolves is known for being a team which plays better in the second half and so it proved against Chelsea, with Podence equalizing after a fine piece of skill. He produced a couple of feints to leave two Chelsea defenders wrong-footed, before unleashing a shot with little back-lift that took a slight deflection off Reece James and beat Mendy at his near post in the 66th minute.
Chelsea escaped conceding a penalty in the 81st minute after a spot kick was awarded when Neto tumbled under a challenge from James. The decision was overturned after replays showed James didn’t touch Neto.
Neto complained bitterly but had the last laugh with his goal after Chelsea’s players poured forward looking for a winner.
Owen Otasowie, a 19-year-old New York-born midfielder who made his senior debut for the United States last month, came on at halftime for Wolves for his Premier League debut. He has been at Wolves since joining the academy in 2017.