Oh what a night it was! Manchester City supporters were undoubtedly nervous even though the Blues had beaten West Ham United twice already this season. This was a team on the rise, though the Hammers still have their issues with playing at the London Stadium. City went and tore apart the hosts for the majority of the 90 minutes on Wednesday evening. Whether through endless possession or blistering counter attacks, City could not be stopped.
Right off the bat major props have to go to Pep Guardiola and his starting lineup selection. It would have been so easy to put the old boys back in. The returning Fernandinho and now knock-free Sergio Agüero. Instead Guardiola stuck with the same attacking boys who beat Crystal Palace in the FA Cup at the weekend and he was rewarded. Leroy Sané, Raheem Sterling, and Gabriel Jesus were dynamic, electric, and just about any other adjectives to describe incredible against West Ham.
Pep’s interesting decisions were not limited to in the attack either. Starting Yaya Touré as the lone holding midfielder was interesting against a team that could have hit City on the break. But the Ivorian continued his resurgences with another strong game. In goal Pep opted for presumed backup Willy Caballero and the Argentine posted his second clean sheet in a row. Perhaps Pep will give Caballero more chances.
Below are the ratings for an excellent showing by City’s players. From front to back this was a dominating performance.
Willy Caballero: 6.5
The Argentine keeper wasn't tasked with much on Wednesday evening but was strong when he had to be. With Claudio Bravo’s awful current form, perhaps Caballero will get more starts in the Premier League.
Bacary Sagna: 7.0
Despite playing at the weekend, Sagna got the nod over the rested Pablo Zabaleta. While both may be past their primes, both can still do the job in different ways. Sagna was very good defensively in this one and provided more than a few good overlapping runs on the right.
Nicolas Otamendi: 7.0
Otamendi continues to be City’s best and most consistent defender this season. While the Argentine does receive flack for some of his more reckless decisions, there’s no denying how strong Otamendi has been for City this season.
John Stones: 7.5
The young Englishman was preferred ahead of the fully fit Vincent Kompany and proved why in this game. Whether it was winning tackles or clearing the ball when in danger, Stones had a very good night against West Ham.
Aleksandar Kolarov: 7.0
Every time I see Kolarov line up at left-back I get a nervous twitch. The Serbian defender is not most amazing player ever, but it’s easy to see why Pep prefers him with the ability to deliver cross field balls that he has.
Yaya Toure: 8.0
The Ivorian was magnificent in this one. Seeing Touré track back nearly the full length of the pitch is something we haven't seen in a couple of years. Despite the craziness that happened at the beginning of the season, Yaya has become an integral part of this team.
David Silva: 8.5
Silva continued his blistering form adding a goal in this game. The Magician really is deserving of the moniker as he consistently escapes trouble I don't think any other player could avoid. Whether it’s through mesmerizing dribbling or exceptional passes, David Silva was terrific against West Ham.
Kevin De Bruyne: 8.5
Speaking of exceptional City midfielders... De Bruyne being absolutely brilliant is becoming a familiar sight for City supporters. The Belgian might become one of City’s best ever players if he continues the way he has over the last two seasons.
Raheem Sterling: 8.0
Sterling drew a penalty and provided Gabriel Jesus with a tap in, and was a force to be reckoned with on the night. Using his blistering pace the Englishman constantly put West Ham’s defense under siege.
Leroy Sané: 9.0 (Man of the Match)
Sané was untouchable in the first half. While he dipped slightly in the second, the young German created Silva’s goal and constantly made runs freeing up City’s other forwards. It’s easy to gush over the performance of every City’s forward, but Sané stood out in this one.
Gabriel Jesus: 8.5
This kid is going to be great. Not good, but great and it’s only a matter of time. Jesus tracks back and attacks the ball with a tenacity rarely seen from the number nine position and this certainly gives the opposing defense even more to worry about. Add that to the fact Jesus can drift wide allowing his wingers to cut in and City may have found the most dynamic attacker in the league.
Sergio Agüero: 6.5
Agüero did not seem pleased to start the game on the bench but did look good once coming on, even if the game was long over by that point.
The Brazilian was welcomed back after his latest ban and saw the game out for the winning side.
Fabian Delph: N/A
No real time to mark the Englishman as the game was simply done and dusted by this point.