A Raheem Sterling hat-trick, plus a Gabriel Jesus strike and Sergio Aguero penalty, ignited the Champions’ 2019/20 campaign, as Pep Guardiola’s men extended our league winning streak to 15 by continuing our excellent record at the London Stadium.
City have a 100% record at the home of the Hammers, having won all five visits, scoring 22 and conceding just one, and the season opener proved another memorable affair for our tenth successive opening weekend triumph.
The opening exchanges proved fairly uneventful, as both sides eased into the new campaign. West Ham dominated the early action without threatening until the eighth minute, when Mike Dean waved away a penalty claim, as Manuel Lanzini went to ground, having dispossessed Premier League debutant Rodrigo.
Heeding the warning, City stepped up a gear and Riyad Mahrez – making his first start of 2019/20, after guiding Algeria to Africa Cup of Nations glory this summer – cut inside and fizzed a low effort towards the far corner, which Lukasz Fabianski did well to tip wide.
David Silva then went close and Mahrez struck the side-netting, before the breakthrough arrived on 23 minutes. Kyle Walker latched onto Mahrez’s inch-perfect through-ball before crossing for Gabriel Jesus to convert at the near post.
With the momentum, City went in search of a second, threatening on several occasions with our trademark rapid counter-attack. Kevin De Bruyne forced Fabianski into a stop, while Gabriel Jesus could not generate enough lift on his clipped effort to double his and City’s tally on the stroke of half-time.
West Ham opportunities meanwhile were few and far between with Sebastien Haller’s tame overhead kick the closest the Hammers came to a leveller in the opening 45 minutes.
City continued where we left off after the restart and doubled the advantage inside six minutes, as De Bruyne powered his way through the centre before releasing Sterling, who coolly slotted through Fabianski’s legs to continue his fine scoring form.
City thought we’d added a third a minute later when Gabriel Jesus finished off a glorious team move involving Silva and Sterling – only for the effort to be ruled out by VAR for offside.
Buoyed, West Ham rallied and Issa Diop almost halved the deficit, heading over the bar, before Ederson was called into action to produce a sensational double-save to deny Javier Hernández and then Lanzini.
City responded by adding a sumptuous third, as Mahrez floated the ball over the top to Sterling, who controlled before dinking the ball beautifully over Fabianski.
Aguero bagged his first of the season and seventh Premier League opening weekend strike with five minutes remaining, converting from the spot at the second attempt with the penalty retaken, after Mahrez had been upended by Diop.
Sterling then added the icing to the cake in injury time, slotting beyond Fabianski to complete his treble.
Up and running
A new season marks a new era and with new faces, a new kit and a new captain, that is certainly the case for City’s 2019/20 campaign.
Yet, there was a comforting familiarity to City’s play at the London Stadium, as the Champions produced a typically dominant display.
Clinical in attack and solid in defence, Guardiola’s men issued a real statement of intent for the season ahead.
Oleks Zinchenko made Premier League history, equalling Silva’s record for the longest winning streak.
The Ukrainian has been on the winning side in 23 consecutive league matches, starting 21 of those fixtures.
Man of the Match
Only one winner!
Carrying on where he left off in the Fourmidables campaign, Sterling continued his excellent scoring form with a fabulous hat-trick - his six, seventh and eighth goals of six games in 2019/20, which included his 50th Premier League goal for City.
A threat throughout, he was unfortunate not to add an assist to his name too, ruled out for offside.
A sign of things to come, let's hope!
Moment of the match
Persistence pays off...
With his assist nipped away and appointed penalty taker Aguero introduced from the bench, Sterling could have been forgiven to have felt a little frustrated, despite his two goals.
In the dying embers, his efforts were rewarded and he tucked away his third goal with aplomb - the joy on his face evident for all to see.
A composed finish - further evidence of his growing maturity - and the least he deserved.
City have a rare week between games and plenty of time to prepare for Tottenham Hotspur’s visit to the Etihad Stadium on Saturday 17 August at 5:30pm BST.