Pep Guardiola made it five consecutive victories as Manchester City manager as his side held on to defeat West Ham 3-1 in the Premier League.
City made an electric start, with Raheem Sterling opening the scoring. Fernandinho continued by heading in his first Premier League goal in almost a year.
Guardiola’s men continued to dominate at the Etihad Stadium, although Michail Antonio’s second headed goal in as many top-flight games threatened to tear up the script in the second half.
But City were able to take the sting out of proceedings from then on, before Sterling wrapped up the points in injury time with a brilliant strike to ensure Guardiola’s winning run continued.
The victory means both City and rivals Manchester United will go into their mouth-watering derby clash after the international break with 100 per cent records.
City came flying out of the traps and had already produced three attempts on goal before Sterling put them ahead in the seventh minute.
In a slick passing move, David Silva linked up with Nolito, whose cut back found fellow winger Sterling 10 yards out and he did the rest with a confident first-time finish.
Eleven minutes later, City doubled their lead when Kevin De Bruyne arrowed in a free-kick from the right and Fernandinho rose to direct his impressive header into the top corner – a day short of the anniversary of his last top-flight strike.
De Bruyne shot narrowly over when he went for goal from his next free-kick opportunity, while Ashley Fletcher was off-target with two efforts for West Ham at the other end on his first Premier League start.
Belgium international De Bruyne should have made it three prior to half-time, somehow missing the target after Silva had laid it on a plate for him to conclude another spell-binding attack.
Nolito had a goal ruled out for offside when he chested in another De Bruyne delivery early in the second half and then hit the side-netting with another attempt soon afterwards.
However, West Ham got a goal back in the 58th minute after Arthur Masuaku made good ground down the left and stood up a cross to the far post that caught out Willy Caballero, allowing Antonio to thump home a header from close range.
City had to replace the injured John Stones immediately after the goal and a missed chance from Sergio Aguero created some tension, while the Argentina striker was fortunate not to be penalised for what looked like an elbow on Winston Reid, who had to be taken off.
But West Ham were unable to create a single attempt on goal to grab an equaliser in the closing stages and it was City who wrapped up a deserved victory in stoppage time.
Just a few seconds after Silva had struck the post from substitute Samir Nasri’s pass, Sterling rounded Adrian and sent a cheeky, deft finish inside the near post from a tight angle to cap a fine individual display.
Key Opta stats:
- This is only the second time in Premier League history that both Manchester clubs have won their first three league games in the same season (also 2011-12).
- It is the first time Pep Guardiola has won his first three games of a league campaign in consecutive seasons (Bayern Munich 2015/16 and Manchester City 2016-17)
- Raheem Sterling has had a hand in five goals in four appearances under Guardiola (2 goals, 3 assists); as many has he produced in his last 22 matches under Manuel Pellegrini.
- Nolito has scored three and assisted two more in his first five games for Manchester City in all competitions.
- Michail Antonio has scored a league-high eight headed goals in the Premier League since the start of 2015-16.
- Since August 2015, no English midfielder has scored more Premier League goals than Antonio (10) – level with Dele Alli.
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