It also means we are now 27 matches unbeaten - one short of equalling the Club record of 28.
The first-half hour of the game was disjointed by City’s lofty standards, with the tempo slower than it has been of late and a number of uncharacteristic, misplaced passes.
In fact, there had been no shots on target in those opening 30 minutes by the Premier League leaders – but the first moment of real quality changed all that, as Kevin De Bruyne, out on the right flank, checked on to his left foot and then pinged a superb ball into the Hammers six-yard box where Ruben Dias ghosted in to head home his first goal for the Club.
The visitors – well organised and solid - came close to an equaliser when Antonio struck the outside of the post if a reminder was needed of their potential threat – their next attack resulted in a goal.
City lost possession near the halfway line, were caught out of position and as the Hammers worked the ball out to the right, Coufal’s low cross was directed at goal by Jesse Lingard and Antonio turned in from close range.
The second-half followed a similar pattern, with West Ham camping in their final third and City lacking the usual zip and verve, though a lunchtime kick-off after a midweek Champions League game hardly helped matters.
But this group of players know how to dig deep when they need and on 68 minutes, City were back in front as Oleks Zinchenko played it out to Riyad Mahrez and his low cross into the centre was swept home by John Stones to make it 2-1.
Thereafter City looked much brighter, creating one or two half-chances without ever troubling the keeper.
City pass tough examination
Pep Guardiola says he learns more about his players when they 'suffer' during games.
Today, the exertions of three magnificent months, endless games and travelling and an always-difficult lunchtime kick-off against a very good side showed guts, steel and bucket-loads of desire.
Fantastic stuff, City.
defensive giants ADD GOALS TO CLEAN SHEETS
With so few chances against the Hammers, our central defenders made a huge difference in attack with goals at crucial times of the game.
Stones now has four this season and Dias has come close on a number of occasions.
What it means?
City are now 13 points clear of United and Leicester who both are yet to play this weekend.
"To have 20 wins in this period, I think this could be the greatest achievement we have done.
“It doesn’t mean we have won the title of course, but in winter time in England, every three days a game, COVID-19 situation, injuries... winning, winning, winning shows strength, mentally.
“When you have a run of many, many victories, you have games like this. I remember against Brighton we suffered a lot for 20 minutes, Fulham as well.
“Every person who saw the game today knows it was really tough - the opponent is incredibly difficult.
“So a big compliment to West Ham - after 26 games they are in the Champions League positions and that is because of a lot of work.”
West Ham: Randolph, Coufal, Dawson, Diop, Cresswell, Rice, Soucek, Johnson (Bowen 84), Fornals, Lingard, Antonio (Benrahma 84)
Substitutes: Martin, Trott, Balbuena, Lanzini, Noble, Bowen, Odubeko
There’s no time for rest as City take on Wolves on Tuesday evening at the Etihad - kick-off 8pm.
Then it’s the Manchester derby next a week tomorrow - kick-off 4.30pm.
Kevin De Bruyne is now joint-top in the Premier League assists list with Harry Kane on 11.
De Bruyne has now moved into Premier League top 10 assists list of all-time and is just three behind David Beckham with 77 in total.
City are enjoying the longest competitive winning streak in history by an English top-flight team. 14 of our 20 successive victories have come in the league.
City are unbeaten in 27 games across all competitions (W24, D3) - two matches shy of their longest run without defeat under Pep Guardiola, set in 2017.
City have not trailed at any point in their past 18 league fixtures, conceding just five goals.
Our tally of 15 clean sheets is the most by any team after 25 top-flight games since 2008-09.
Riyad Mahrez capped a fine display with yet another assist.
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