LONDON, England — Manchester City maintained their impressive start to the season with an emphatic 4-0 victory over West Ham United. The game was over inside 35 minutes with goals from David Silva, Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane. The German would add a second in injury time as City remained two points clear at the top of the Premier League.
It’s been two weeks since City’s last game with much of Pep Guardiola’s squad disappearing all over the globe, but nothing seemed to have changed in that fortnight. They picked up exactly where they left off, dominating possession, pulling the opposition apart with their movement and passing and ruthlessly killing off any chance of an upset against the terrified Hammers.
Guardiola spoke before the game about his desire to stop the opposition from creating any opportunities, which they did effectively last time out in the 3-1 victory over Manchester United. West Ham, though, had a number of attempts on goal. For most teams winning so impressively away from home while giving up the odd chance would be seen as acceptable, only by Guardiola standards is that considered something to work on.
Manager rating out of 10
9 – Guardiola loves the wide open spaces at the London Stadium and his side have now scored 17 goals in four visits. With injuries to Bernardo Silva and Benjamin Mendy he was forced to reshuffle his side by bringing in Fabian Delph and Ilkay Gundogan and made further changes with Leroy Sane and Nicolas Otamendi recalled. His lineup had the right balance of freshness and continuity and it gives him the opportunity to bring back some regulars for the Champions League trip to Lyon on Tuesday.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Ederson, 7 — Had a couple of efforts to deal with and stood firm to keep his eighth clean sheet of the season. His footwork was as impressive as ever.
DF Kyle Walker, 7 — Had little to worry about defensively and got forward well to support the City attack as they overloaded West Ham with so many options.
DF Nicolas Otamendi, 7 — Making his first Premier League start in two months and looked like he hadn’t been away. Comfortably shackled Marko Arnautovic, who tried his best to bully him out of his stride.
DF Aymeric Laporte, 7 — Another strong performance as the consistent man at the heart of defence. How much longer can France coach Didier Deschamps ignore him?
DF Fabian Delph, 7 — He’s set for another extended run at left-back following another injury setback to Mendy. A solid performance against Grady Diangana who was the Hammers’ liveliest attacker.
MF Fernandinho, 9 — Has been winning rave reviews for his performances this season and seems to be revelling his new superstar status as opposed to his old unsung hero label. Another masterclass in winning and keeping the ball.
MF Ilkay Gundogan, 8 — His first start in six weeks after a slight injury and he replaced Bernardo Silva seamlessly. He was happy to gamble and get beyond Aguero as the furthest man forward, particularly after his late goal in the Manchester derby.
MF David Silva, 8 — Enjoyed another fortnight off after his international retirement and picked up refreshed. Scored the opening goal inside 11 minutes to claim four goals in four matches for the first time in his career.
FW Leroy Sane, 9 — Facing Pablo Zabaleta, who showed the fighting spirit that made him such a favourite in his nine years at the Etihad Stadium. But the German winger had too much speed and energy and contributed an outstanding assist and two goals..
FW Sergio Aguero, 6 — His link-up play was mostly good but strangely nothing fell to him in front of goal and it was a rare blank in a dominant performance.
FW Raheem Sterling, 9 — Fresh from signing a new contract, the forward showed why he’s been rewarded with a healthy new contract. An assist and a goal inside 35 minutes and a constant threat on the counter-attack.
MF Phil Foden, 6 — Neat and tidy as City pushed for more goals.
FW Riyad Mahrez, N/R — Added yet more attacking threat.
FW Gabriel Jesus, N/R — Late change and set up Sane’s injury-time strike.