Manchester City kept in touch with leaders Chelsea as the blues edged past West Ham at a snowy Etihad Stadium. Goals from Ilkay Gundogan and Fernandinho sealed the three points despite Manuel Lanzini’s last minute effort.
City were again without midfield trio Kevin de Bruyne, Phil Foden and Jack Grealish, all of whom missed Wednesday’s 2-1 victory over PSG in the Champions League, but in-form Raheem Sterling started the match, as did Gabriel Jesus, who came off the bench to score the winner against the French side.
The Hammers are looking in good form this season, with manager David Moyes guiding the team to fourth place in the Premier League, having won seven of the thirteen games so far this season. But it was City who maintained their excellent record against the Hammers to keep up with Chelsea, who were only able to manage a 1-1 home draw with Manchester United.
The blues have won ten of their eleven Premier League matches under Pep Guardiola, but they had to work hard against a stubborn Hammers side, and also battled the elements as the snow fell throughout the match.
But, as they did against PSG, City attacked from the first whistle and were unlucky not to be at least two goals to the good by half time. An attempted clearance rebounded off Sterling and fell for Riyad Mahrez. The Algerian raced forward and fired home, only for the goal to be chalked off due to offside.
But it was a short reprieve for the Hammers, who found themselves a goal down on 33 minutes. Mahrez was found in acres of space on the right and his ball into the six-yard box was tapped home by Gundogan.
It was a deserved goal for City, who had managed to keep the Hammers in their pockets while knocking on the door at the other end. Such was City’s dominance that goalkeeper Ederson had little to do except stop a Declan Rice shot that looked to secure his 100th clean sheet for City.
And when Brazilian Fernandinho fired home City’s second in the 90th minute, City were on their way to another home victory and three precious points.
City were playing keep ball on the left of the field, but when the West Ham defence finally claimed the ball, they instantly gave it away and City pounced. Gabriel Jesus beat the offside trap and cut back to Ferna, who was just inside the penalty area, and his precision strike into the bottom corner secured the points.
It was the Brazilian’s first Premier League goal since October 2018, but it gave the faithful an opportunity to breathe easily going into injury time. And they needed it too.
In the final minute, Lanini’s looping effort beat Ederson and found the back of the net via the post to give the Hammers a consolation goal.
But the afternoon belonged to the blues, and they now travel to Aston Villa on Wednesday, knowing that a win at Villa Park, coupled with a Chelsea draw or defeat at Watford, will see them top the league for the first time this season.
Final score: Manchester City 2-1 West Ham United