Manchester City bounced back from two disappointing results last week by picking up a comfortable enough victory over West Brom in the English Premier League, a win which was tempered a little by a possibly serious injury to their pivotal playmaker David Silva.
City needed nothing short of a victory to keep the pressure on Liverpool, who were yet again impressive at the weekend, seeing off the challenge of Norwich, and Manuel Pellegrini's men did just that, pretty much putting the game to bed in the first half by scoring all three goals in the opening 45 in a 3-1 win.
Pablo Zabaleta opened the scoring for the home side in just the third minute, heading home off a rebound after an initial excellent save from Ben Foster off Sergio Aguero. Aguero, then, would get his name on the scoresheet, finding the back of the net with a low drive from 20 yards on ten minutes.
Graham Dorrans reduced the deficit six minutes later with a wonderful strike, but City regained their two-goal lead on 36 minutes via defender Martin Demichelis, the third Argentine to score for the club on Monday night.
City are now six points behind Liverpool, with a game in hand, and the Manchester side will hope for a Chelsea victory when the Reds host the Blues at Anfield next Sunday.
"I see the title race as the same this week as I did last week," Pellegrini said. "We knew we had two or three games postponed so it was difficult to be at the top of the table in that situation.
"We lost the game against Liverpool and we know we lost the chance to control our destiny but we have a duty to win the rest of our games and then see where that leaves us.
"In the first half we played very well, that was the team we've seen in the whole season at the Etihad. Maybe the goal they scored made us more nervous in the second half as we didn't play as well but we didn't concede a goal and that's important."
The win, though, did come at a price, with Silva picking up an ankle injury in the 67th minute after clashing with West Brom's Morgan Amalfitano and Billy Jones. The midfielder left the pitch with his right leg in a brace and Pellegrini revealed it was the same ankle which kept Silva out of the 2-2 draw against Sunderland last week.
"We will see tomorrow what happens with the doctor," Pellegrini said on Monday night. "He couldn't recover in three days from his problem and that's why he didn't play against Sunderland. It's the same ankle.
"He had a kick some weeks ago and last week he has played with pain."
West Brom's survival hopes remain in lingo after the loss, with the Baggies in 16th place at the moment, just three points above third from bottom Cardiff. "Tonight it really was a very difficult game for us," manager Pepe Mel said. "The fact we conceded in the third minute and by the tenth minute we were 2-0 down.
"We had to therefore change everything we'd been working on during the week. But from then the team really did go on and do very well. Now we have to look forward to Saturday's game [against West Ham], which is an absolutely vital game.
"It really is the most important game. It can be the game that can spur us on and give us that life. I hope the stadium will be full and the fans will be with us, they can really help us in this game. The most important thing is to have a positive attitude. This game really is a final for us."