Manchester City 2-1 West Ham United
West Ham United pushed Manchester City all the way, but were ultimately unable to prevent Pep Guardola’s men from registering a 20th straight win in all competitions.
The Hammers gave as good as they got at Etihad Stadium on Saturday, and went in at the break level after Michail Antonio cancelled out Rúben Dias’ 30th minute header.
But John Stones found the space inside the box to net his side’s winner midway through the half to hand the Hammers a first defeat in five Premier League games.
West Ham set themselves up solidly and did a good job of limiting the space for Manchester City to attack in the opening stages.
In fact, it was David Moyes’ men who were first to threaten, when Jesse Lingard’s deflected 19th minute shot bounced up invited Tomáš Souček to attack at the far post. He nodded back into the centre, where Antonio challenged Ederson, and the Brazil goalkeeper did just enough to ensure Dias could clean up behind him.
Manchester City didn’t have a shot on the Hammers goal until Dias headed them into a 30th minute lead. The Hammers may have thought the danger had passed when Kevin De Bruyne’s overhit corner travelled all the way thorough their box, but the hosts retained possession and worked the ball back to the Belgian. This time his cross was perfect, and Dias timed his run to perfection to plant his header beyond Darren Randolph.
Ferran Torres shot at Randolph from range shortly afterwards, but to the Hammers’ credit they regrouped and put the home side under pressure as the first half drew to a close.
With 39 minutes on the clock, Pablo Fornals touched Lingard’s low cross onto Antonio. He took a touch and shot on the turn. The connection wasn’t the cleanest, but it was still enough to beat Ederson, only for the ball to brush the outside of the near post.
West Ham’s No30 went one better with his next chance, though. Vladimír Coufal’s lung-busting overlapping run was spotted by Fornals, who slipped the ball into his path for the Czech to pull back to the edge of the six-yard box. Lingard helped it on and Antonio was on the spot at the far post to knock home.
The second half began in the same pattern as the first, with West Ham remaining compact in their shape and looking to hurt City on the break, although they were nearly undone on 58 minutes when De Bruyne beat Issa Diop to a ball in the left channel and drove into the area. He teased a pass across the six-yard box, but couldn’t connect with the onrushing Sergio Agüero and the Hammers survived.
Ten minutes later they weren’t so fortunate. Not to be outdone by his centre-back partner, Stones popped up with a striker’s finish, sweeping home first time after he stayed up following a set piece to convert Riyad Mahrez’s cut back.
Guardiola’s men managed the game well having moved back in front, but there was still time for one final chance for the Hammers right at the death. Diop got his head to Lingard’s deep cross, but could find neither the far corner, nor Souček’s run as City’s relentless march towards the Premier League title continued.