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Man City secure 20th straight victory

Published on: 27 February 2021

John Stones' third league goal of the season secured the points Manchester City

Manchester City extended their winning run to 20 matches and moved 13 points clear at the top of the Premier League as John Stones' second-half strike was enough to seal victory over a resilient West Ham United.

Stones fired home his fourth goal of the season from Riyad Mahrez's neat lay-off to keep Pep Guardiola's side in control of the title race.

Fourth-placed West Ham gave City a decent game at Etihad Stadium and fought back to level through Michail Antonio before the break, after Stones' central-defensive partner Ruben Dias had put the hosts in front.

But Guardiola, likened to celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal by Hammers counterpart David Moyes before Saturday's fixture, once again came up with the right ingredients as his side improved following the second-half introductions of Gabriel Jesus and Phil Foden.

City's unbeaten record now stretches to 27 games and they will equal their longest run without defeat under Guardiola if they do not lose against Wolves on Tuesday.

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Normal service resumed for De Bruyne

After about 20 minutes, City midfielder Kevin de Bruyne lined up a free-kick, about 40 yards out, to the right of the West Ham box.

The execution was terrible - the ball barely got off the ground and ran straight into the wall, allowing the visitors to clear. It was a notable moment because it was so unusual.

What De Bruyne did with another crossing opportunity from a similar position not long afterwards was more in keeping with the Belgian's normal standards.

Delivered with his left foot, the ball curled towards goal, too far out for stand-in West Ham keeper Darren Randolph to come for, and begged Dias to head it home.

It was De Bruyne's 11th assist of the season - equal with Tottenham's Harry Kane - and proved to be a rare moment of inspiration for a City side well shackled up to that point, with the returning Sergio Aguero barely having a touch.

The Argentina forward has been beset by a series of setbacks since last summer.

He made it to the second half this time around after being replaced at the break on his last Premier League start, also against West Ham in October.

But the 32-year-old was off the pace and did not react quickly enough to tap home a De Bruyne cross on City's last attack before he was replaced by Gabriel Jesus after an hour.

Beaten but not broken Hammers

They may have been beaten but West Ham did enough to show there is substance behind their drive towards the top end of the Premier League this season.

Jesse Lingard's arrival on loan from Manchester United during the transfer window has added another attacking element to their play and restored the 28-year-old forward to the form that brought him England recognition.

Lingard had a powerful shot blocked by Stones and it was his misdirected effort that was turned home by Antonio to pull the Hammers level.

Considering it was the first time an opposition player had scored at the Etihad since Mohamed Salah's penalty for Liverpool on 8 November, it was no mean achievement.

There were moments when it appeared West Ham might take it further as the pace of Lingard and Antonio, allied to the midfield industry of Declan Rice - who Guardiola said he admired in the build-up - caused anxiety in the home defence.

Antonio hit a post just before he scored and, in injury time, Issa Diop had goalkeeper Ederson scrambling to reach a header that bounced narrowly wide.

City eventually found a winner though, just as they have done every other time they have played West Ham at home with Guardiola in charge.

Moyes' side are now relying on Manchester United avoiding defeat at Chelsea on Sunday to preserve their place in the top four.

What's next?

Manchester City are next in action on Tuesday when they entertain Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League (20:00 GMT). West Ham's exit from the FA Cup means they are spared a rearranged midweek game and now have a nine-day break before the host Leeds United on 8 March (20:00).

More to follow.

Player of the match

AntonioMichail Antonio

with an average of 7.78

    Man CityManchester CityManchester CityWest HamWest Ham UnitedWest Ham United

Manchester CityAvgSquad number3Player nameRúben DiasAverage rating

7.38

Squad number5Player nameStonesAverage rating

7.38

Squad number17Player nameDe BruyneAverage rating

6.61

Squad number26Player nameMahrezAverage rating

6.51

Squad number47Player nameFodenAverage rating

6.49

Squad number8Player nameGündoganAverage rating

6.42

Squad number11Player nameZinchenkoAverage rating

6.36

Squad number25Player nameFernandinhoAverage rating

6.25

Squad number31Player nameEdersonAverage rating

6.21

Squad number2Player nameWalkerAverage rating

6.18

Squad number9Player nameGabriel JesusAverage rating

6.05

Squad number16Player nameRodriAverage rating

5.95

Squad number10Player nameAgüeroAverage rating

5.92

Squad number21Player nameTorresAverage rating

5.62

West Ham UnitedAvgSquad number30Player nameAntonioAverage rating

7.78

Squad number5Player nameCoufalAverage rating

7.07

Squad number41Player nameRiceAverage rating

6.93

Squad number15Player nameDawsonAverage rating

6.89

Squad number28Player nameSoucekAverage rating

6.87

Squad number11Player nameLingardAverage rating

6.79

Squad number3Player nameCresswellAverage rating

6.70

Squad number18Player nameFornalsAverage rating

6.59

Squad number23Player nameDiopAverage rating

6.58

Squad number9Player nameBenrahmaAverage rating

6.35

Squad number35Player nameRandolphAverage rating

6.20

Squad number31Player nameJohnsonAverage rating

6.12

Squad number20Player nameBowenAverage rating

6.07

    Line-upsMatch StatsLive Text

Line-upsMan City

Formation 4-3-3

31Ederson2Walker5Stones3Rúben Dias11Zinchenko17De Bruyne25Fernandinho8Gündogan26Mahrez10Agüero21Torres

    31Ederson2Walker5Stones3Rúben Dias11Zinchenko17De Bruyne25FernandinhoBooked at 90mins8GündoganSubstituted forRodriat 89'minutes26Mahrez10AgüeroSubstituted forGabriel Jesusat 61'minutes21TorresSubstituted forFodenat 65'minutes

Substitutes

    7Sterling9Gabriel Jesus13Steffen14Laporte16Rodri20Bernardo Silva22Mendy27Cancelo47Foden

West Ham

Formation 3-4-2-1

35Randolph23Diop15Dawson3Cresswell5Coufal28Soucek41Rice31Johnson18Fornals11Lingard30Antonio

    35Randolph23Diop15Dawson3Cresswell5Coufal28Soucek41Rice31JohnsonBooked at 28minsSubstituted forBowenat 84'minutes18Fornals11Lingard30AntonioSubstituted forBenrahmaat 84'minutes

Substitutes

    4Balbuena9Benrahma10Lanzini16Noble20Bowen25Martin34Trott45Odubeko

Referee:Michael OliverMatch StatsHome TeamMan CityAway TeamWest HamPossessionHome63%Away37%ShotsHome10Away9Shots on TargetHome3Away3CornersHome4Away2FoulsHome8Away11Live TextPost update

Match ends, Manchester City 2, West Ham United 1.

90'+5'Full Time

Second Half ends, Manchester City 2, West Ham United 1.

90'+4'Post update

Attempt missed. Issa Diop (West Ham United) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Jesse Lingard with a cross following a set piece situation.

90'+3'Booking

Fernandinho (Manchester City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

90'+3'Post update

Foul by Fernandinho (Manchester City).

90'+3'Post update

Jarrod Bowen (West Ham United) wins a free kick on the left wing.

90'+2'Post update

John Stones (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

90'+2'Post update

Foul by Tomas Soucek (West Ham United).

90'+2'Post update

Foul by Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City).

90'+2'Post update

Jesse Lingard (West Ham United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

90'Post update

Corner, West Ham United. Conceded by Oleksandr Zinchenko.

89'Substitution

Substitution, Manchester City. Rodrigo replaces Ilkay Gündogan.

87'Post update

Offside, Manchester City. Ederson tries a through ball, but Gabriel Jesus is caught offside.

87'Post update

Phil Foden (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

87'Post update

Foul by Pablo Fornals (West Ham United).

86'Post update

Foul by Fernandinho (Manchester City).

86'Post update

Jesse Lingard (West Ham United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

85'Post update

Offside, West Ham United. Pablo Fornals tries a through ball, but Jarrod Bowen is caught offside.

84'Substitution

Substitution, West Ham United. Jarrod Bowen replaces Ben Johnson.

84'Substitution

Substitution, West Ham United. Saïd Benrahma replaces Michail Antonio.

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