Manchester City finished Sunday at the top of the Premier League after a hard-fought victory over West Ham, with the Citizens escaping with a 3-1 result.. Raheem Sterling (2) and Fernandinho scored for City, with Michail Antonio scoring for West Ham. City played beautiful football in the first half and could have gotten a blowout win, but the game was nervous until the end when the Hammers got a second half goal. It was tough, but City got a vital win.
To say that the first half was fantastic might be an understatement. Manchester City were simply mesmerizing, and every aspect of Pep Guardiola's football came to light: plenty of possession, intensity without the ball, lots of chances, strong defense and goals. David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne were incredible, dominating possession in midfield and giving the front three plenty of chances.
Silva created the first goal almost all by himself, carrying the ball up the middle and finding Nolito with a through ball, with Nolito then finding Raheem Sterling for the first goal. De Bruyne then created the second goal, with a perfect cross to Fernandinho, who placed a powerful header to the top corner to double the lead.
At halftime, a sensational game, no trouble from West Ham, and a victory well in the way. If the second half was anything like the first, the win would be big.
City began the final period with same intensity and nearly got a third goal just two minutes in, but Nolito was offside and the goal was rightly called off by the referee. Nolito nearly scored again a few minutes later, and it seemed like a matter of time before City got the third.
Then a referee decision had an effect in the game. After a clear scoring chance from Sergio Agüero was wrongly ruled offside, West Ham scored in the very next play, with a cross from Masuaku finding Michail Antonio in the box, and the Hammers were back in the game.
It took City a while to recover from the goal, but City went back to keeping possession and controlling the game. Pep Guardiola surprised everyone when he introduced Samir Nasri for the first time all season, and the Frenchman was tasked with using his talents to provide a spark of the bench and help City scored the goal that would kill the game.
Nasri had a golden chance when he found himself in front of the keeper, but couldn't get the goal. Guardiola didn't want to risk the win and replaced Agüero with Fernando to retain possession and close spaces for the Hammers. City had quite a few chances on the counter, and Raheem Sterling scored in the last minute to ice the game.
In the end, an impressive performance despite the narrow result, nine points from three games and the first place in the Premier League table. What a start for Pep Guardiola. City look good.
Man City: Caballero | Zabaleta, Stones (Kolarov), Otamendi, Clichy | Fernandinho | Sterling, De Bruyne, Silva, Nolito (Nasri) | Agüero (Fernando)
Goals: Sterling (7', 92'), Fernandinho (18'),
West Ham: Adrian | Antonio, Collins, Reid (Calleri), Ogbonna, Masuaku | Töre (Byram), Noble, Kouyate | Fletcher, Valencia (Lanzini)
Goal: Antonio (58'),