Lescott: City will fight on
Manchester City return to action on Wednesday vowing to fight on in their now apparently doomed title bid.
City's hopes of claiming a first league crown in 44 years seem in tatters after a sequence of damaging results over the past month. Roberto Mancini's men trail rivals Manchester United by eight points at the top of the Barclays Premier League with just six games remaining - a month after they held a two-point lead.
City have collected just five points from their last five outings with Sunday's defeat at Arsenal seeming the decisive blow. The full ramifications of that loss - for City and for controversial striker Mario Balotelli, who was sent off and left facing a lengthy ban after another incident - are still to be felt.
But for the players to feature as West Brom visit the Etihad Stadium, there remains a strong will to at least go down fighting. Defender Joleon Lescott said in the Manchester Evening News: "It's out of our hands but we've got to keep going and if United slip up then we've got to be there to capitalise.
"If they don't, then obviously it's going to be impossible for us to catch them now. We're professional and we owe it to the fans that we're not going to roll over and die.
"We've got to apply ourselves in the right way in every game."
As well as Balotelli's ban, City may also have to cope without influential midfielder Yaya Toure after he limped off with a knee injury in Sunday's loss at the Emirates Stadium.
Playmaker David Silva (knee) will be assessed while striker Carlos Tevez could push for a start after four successive substitute appearances.
West Brom head coach Roy Hodgson believes City's season should be viewed as a success despite appearing to have lost the Barclays Premier League title battle with United.
Hodgson insists City have made substantial progress this season under Mancini despite their recent slump in fortunes.
United could secure the title by this weekend if results go in their favour before Sunday's encounter with Aston Villa at Old Trafford.
Hodgson said: "They've done very well. Unfortunately for Roberto, there is some negativity surrounding them because they haven't been able to keep the championship race going down to the wire.
"That is a bit of disappointment on everyone's part. We were all hoping for a last-ditch battle between United and City to see who wins the championship. Now, with five or six games to go, it is pretty obvious it is going to be Manchester United and congratulations to them.
"As a result City, who have made it such a fascinating battle and made life so hard for them, they are now not receiving the praise they deserve for keeping the fighting going for as long as they have.
"To be honest, finishing second isn't such a bad thing either. It's a long while since City have finished second. You've got to go back to the Joe Mercer-Malcolm Allison days."