Match Report

Gutsy City grind out 20th win in succession

GROUP HUG: The players gather to congratulate Stones after his fourth goal in all competitions this season.
Premier League
Premier League
Sat 27 Feb
2
1
Ruben Dias 
(30’), 
John Stones 
(68’)
Michail Antonio 
(43’)
View highlights
City had to work hard to see off a stubborn and determined West Ham at the Etihad and record a 20th win on the bounce.

Goals from Ruben Dias and John Stones either side of an Antonio equaliser gave City a 2-1 win which extends our lead at the top - ahead of this weekend's fixtures - to 13.

It also means we are now 27 matches unbeaten - one short of equalling the Club record of 28.

Summary

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

No longer happy with keeping goals out, John Stones and Ruben Dias have now added goals to their repertoire. 

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.

Aymeric Laporte is always a threat from set-pieces, it yet another weapon in the armoury of this ever evolving City team.

What it means?

City are now 13 points clear of United and Leicester who both are yet to play this weekend.

Pep reaction

"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.”

Teams

City: Ederson, Walker, Ruben Dias, Stones, Zinchenko, Fernandinho, Gundogan (Rodrigo 89), Mahrez, De Bruyne, Ferran Torres (Foden 65), Aguero (Jesus 61)

Substitutes: Steffen, Sterling, Laporte, Bernardo Silva, Mendy, Cancelo

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

What’s next?

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.

Stats

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.

English Premier League
1 Manchester City Man City 26 19 5 2 52 16 36 62 WWWWW
2 Manchester United Man United 26 14 8 4 53 32 21 50 WDDWD
3 Leicester City Leicester 26 15 4 7 45 30 15 49 WDWWL

STAR MAN

Riyad Mahrez capped a fine display with yet another assist.

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

WATCH: Dias delighted after scoring first City goal

Next Fixture

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Wolves

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WATCH: Guardiola surprised by City's consistency

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