West Ham 1 Manchester City 4: Hammers hammered by rampant champions

By Dom Farrell 29 April 2018 117
West Ham 1 Manchester City 4: Hammers hammered by rampant champions

The Manchester City Premier League title party steamed into the London Stadium to reel off a celebratory 4-1 win against an over-matched West Ham.

PFA Young Player of the Year Leroy Sane's 13th minute opener took a decisive deflection off Patrice Evra, whose belated home debut for David Moyes' side was generally a torrid experience, and an unfortunate own goal for former City favourite Pablo Zabaleta brought up 100 league goals this season for Pep Guardiola's men.

A touch of complacency crept into City's work before half-time as Aaron Cresswell's fine free-kick punished an error-strewn passage of play but they were rampant once more after the break.

Gabriel Jesus set in motion the move for his 12th top-flight goal of the campaign before fellow Brazil international Fernandinho got in on the act on his return from suspension.

City are now one shy of Chelsea's Premier League best haul of 103 goals having matched their mark of 30 victories from the 2009-10 season, while tumbling records could not be further from the minds of West Ham, who sit precariously three points above the relegation zone with as many games to play.

West Ham had been pegged into their own half for considerable periods by the time Sane's speculative drive spun off Evra's head to leave goalkeeper Adrian with no chance.

Raheem Sterling ended the game with a trio of assists but snatched at a chance created by Ilkay Gundogan and Sane in the 20th minute, although the second arrived when the winger rounded Adrian and confusion followed.

As West Ham defenders scampered back into the box Kevin De Bruyne arrowed in a low ball that Declan Rice diverted towards his own net, with the final touch coming off Zabaleta.

 

Sane stumbled when he tried to skip past Adrian in the 35th minute – that wasted opportunity arguably sparing Evra, who clattered through Jesus in the build-up.

City's underworked goalkeeper Ederson then dallied on the ball outside his box and, although Marko Arnautovic was rightly penalised for a foul before rolling home, the incident seemed to spark West Ham.

Gundogan's foul on Edimilson Fernendes should have resulted in a penalty but Cresswell averted controversy by whipping the free-kick past Ederson at his near post.

Adrian did well to beat away a Sterling strike but, as Nicolas Otamendi avoided a second booking for bringing down Manuel Lanzini, it was clear City's early control had loosened.

Guardiola's side needed to relocate top gear and Jesus elevated them again in the 53rd minute.

The Brazil international slid a brilliant pass down the right channel to Sterling and stole in front of Zabaleta to dispatch the return pass.

Referee Neil Swarbrick inexplicably failed to award a penalty when Cresswell swept through Sterling's ankles and the England international was West Ham's chief tormentor as the hour approached.

 

De Bruyne rattled his cutback just past the top corner and Adrian atoned for a dreadful clearance by denying Sterling in a one-on-one.

The ex-Liverpool man was inevitably the creator for number four as he picked out Fernandinho for an unhurried, unfussy 64th-minute finish.

City were once again enjoying themselves at a ground where they scored nine times in two visits last season, with West Ham engaged in damage limitation - safety still to be secured.

 

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