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Manchester City

 By David Mooney

Player Ratings: David Silva gets full marks as City beat Baggies

Champions Manchester City again made light of the absence of strikers as they cruised to a 3-1 win at West Brom.

Manchester City eased to a 3-1 win at West Brom on Saturday to make it six goals in two games without a recognised striker on the field. Such a fine haul is largely down to David Silva, who has netted half of them despite lacking confidence in his finishing ability.

The only blemish of the last few weeks for City is the rather haphazard defending that saw Joe Hart's shutouts end at 530 minutes. Having not conceded since the seventh minute of the win at Sunderland, Hart's missed punch allowed a corner...

 By David Mooney

Manchester City Report Card: The champions' Premier League season

ESPN FC's Craig Burley and Stuart Holden examine Manchester City's chances of getting revenge against Barcelona in their Round of 16 Champions League tie.

With the Premier League season edging towards its half-way point, who has starred for Manchester City and will the champions retain their crown? Here's a look at how Manuel Pellegrini's men have fared so far.

Grade: B

Season So Far -- In A Sentence

It's been a strange campaign so far, with mixed form and a sudden lack of depth up front, but on the whole the feeling has been positive, with the club sitting in second and into the knockout phase of the Champions League.

Highlight

The standout...

Lampard set for Man City stay, Milner on for free Liverpool move?

The ESPN FC crew select their best and worst transfers of 2014, with signs pointing to Liverpool's Mario Balotelli.

If you're not slumbering after a Christmas dinner demolition, then read on to find out all the latest January window gossip with Transfer Talk.

Lampard loan extension edges closer

With all three of his senior strikers -- Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko and Stevan Jovetic -- out injured, Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini is desperate for goal scorers, though it looks as if one Christmas wish may have been granted, as the Daily Mirror reports Frank Lampard will extend his loan contract.

Lampard...

 By Alex Shaw

Premier League Report Cards: How has your team fared so far this season?

The ESPN FC crew give their Premier League week 17 team of the weekend, which includes three Manchester City players and Queens Park Rangers hat-trick hero, Charlie Austin.

As we approach the midway point in the 2014-15 Premier League season, it's time to have a look back at the campaign so far. We asked our ESPN FC bloggers to tackle seven questions. Who's your side's unlikely hero, and who has work to do?

Premier League Report Card

1. Grade

2. Your Season So Far -- In A Sentence

3. Highlight

4. Lowpoint

5. Surprise Star

6. Must Do Better

7. Great Expectations

Each team's grade for the season so far is below. Click on the team name for a comprehensive summary.

Club-by-club guide

Countdown
Leicester
(C-)

Countdown
Hull City
(D)

Countdown
Burnley
(C-)

Countdown
Crystal Palace
(C-)

Countdown
QPR
(E)

Countdown
West Brom
(D)

Countdown
Sunderland
(C)

Countdown
Stoke City
(B-)








 By Simon Curtis

Manchester City are determined to finish 2014 on a good note

ESPN FC's Craig Burley weighs in on Manchester City's schedule as they look to pass Chelsea at the top of the Premier League table.

A match of vivid contrasts awaits us at The Hawthorns on Dec. 26, as second-placed Manchester City -- on the crest of a wave with eight consecutive victories behind them in November and December -- play in the home of a bedraggled-looking West Bromwich Albion.

West Brom's manager, Alan Irvine, is facing growing criticism due to recent results. He's similar to the type of coaches to lead the West Midlands side in recent years -- grateful for the chance to coach at a higher level, somewhat untried...

 By Chris Wright

Dani Alves dresses up as Santa ... again

With the big day now less than 48 hours away, Dani Alves has treated his legions of Instagram followers to a special festive treat.

The Barcelona man fetched his Santa Claus suit from the back of the wardrobe, adopted a suitably jolly demeanour and then wished his 3.5 million fans a very merry Christmas.