West Ham United's five-game unbeaten run was brought to an end by Manchester City on Saturday, who scored either side of half time through Sergio Aguero and Yaya Toure to maintain their bid for a second-place finish.
City may have had their grip on the league title released this week by local rivals Manchester United, but the FA Cup finalists still produced enough quality to see off the Hammers.
Their goals oozed class in different methods - Aguero's for the slick team move which preceded it and Toure's for the arrow-like thunderbolt from outside the area.
West Ham showed great spirit and gave their hosts moments of worry, particularly in the second period, and Andy Carroll's injury time consolation at least gave their travelling supporters something to cheer.
After a low-key start to the game, City began to click into gear and were not far away from taking an 18th minute lead when the visitors only half cleared a corner and David Silva sent in a left-footed drive which wistled past the post.
Four minutes later they went even closer, with only the woodwork saving West Ham on this occasion. Aguero should have done better as Silva's pass inside deflected off Kevin Nolan and dropped perfectly for him, but concerned by James Collins who was trying desperately to get back, the Argentine scuffed his shot against the far post.
Both sets of supporters rose to applaud in the memory of Marc-Vivien Foe with 23 minutes on the clock, and as their fitting tribute took place, Mohamed Diame tested Joe Hart with a well-struck volley from the edge of the box.
City's threat was growing tangibly, however, and they opened the scoring with a goal of real quality after 28 minutes. Aguero made amends for his earlier miss, stroking home from six yards after Samir Nasri drove into the box, played a neat one-two with Silva and squared for his striker to finish.
It was very nearly two immediately afterwards, but Jussi Jaaskelainen made a double stop to save his side, springing up quickly after he could not hold Nasri's drive to block Pablo Zabaleta on the follow up.
The Hammers struggled to affect the game as an attacking force before the break, but they were able to force City onto the back foot at the start of the second period as Sam Allardyce's men flew out of the traps.
Matt Jarvis was more involved and he supplied a couple of dangerous crosses, but Carroll was being well marshalled by Vincent Kompany and he could not get enough purchase on his headed chances.
West Ham appeared to grow in belief as the game wore on, but at the same time City possessed a constant threat and Jaaskelainen had to stand up by his near post to deny Nasri after the former Arsenal man found space inside the box.
Joey O'Brien then made an excellent block to divert Carlos Tevez' close range effort over the bar. The former Hammer looked set to score after strike partner Aguero danced away from James Collins inside the area and knocked the ball square.
With 18 minutes left Nasri was similarly profligate, miskicking when left with the goal at his mercy by Tevez' low cross.
At the other end Collins dragged a left-footed shot just wide of the mark after a Matt Taylor free kick bounced around the box.
But seven minutes from the end the Hammers' challenge was effectively killed off by a thunderbolt from Yaya Toure, who fired into the top right-hand corner of Jaaskelainen's net with his left foot from 25 yards.
West Ham nevertheless deserved a goal for their second half efforts and it arrived in the last knockings when Carroll brought down Guy Demel's cross on his chest and drilled through Joe Hart's attempted save to notch a consolation.
Manchester City: Hart; Zabaleta, Kompany, Lescott, Clichy; Y.Toure, Silva (Milner 78), Barry, Nasri (K.Toure 87); Aguero, Tevez (Garcia 83)
Subs: Pantilimon (GK), Dzeko, Kolarov, Nastasic
Goals: Aguero 28, Y.Toure 83
West Ham United: Jaaskelainen; Demel, Collins, Reid, O'Brien (C.Cole 81); Diame, O'Neil, Nolan (Taylor 81); Vaz Te (Collison 66), Carroll, Jarvis
Subs: Henderson (GK), Noble, Pogatetz, J.Cole
Goal: Carroll 90+4
Booked: Carroll, Collison, O'Brien
Referee: Howard Webb