It was back to the busy business of the Premier League following the international break yesterday. Despite being relieved of Bernardo Silva, the latest high-profile victim of the controversial weeks-off, but you wouldn’t have known it as City’s galaxy of stars provided their own S3 in the shape of David Silva, Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane.
Well-loved ex-City boss Manuel Pellegrini decided it was a day to “have a go” and selected a decent-looking team capable of attacking most other sides in the division, but not Manchester City.
And it didn’t take the Blues long to dismantle his plans as a typical driving move, after only 11 minutes, started by the scorer and included Fernandinho and Walker, saw Sterling remove the cover to slide a pitch-perfect ball into Silva who nonchalantly steered it home for his second right-footed goal in as many matches. Gone is the necessity to change feet and let the chance go, arrived is a new-found desire to add to his growing goal tally often referred to as his Achilles heel.
The Irons, whose line has been crossed now something like 17 times in four matches by City tried their best to stem the second-gear tide but it was in danger of becoming a tsunami as the Blues swept forward at every opportunity finding enough space all over the field.
It was only 8 minutes later that City doubled their lead with sane using his blistering pace to get in behind Zabaleta and send a daisy-cutter along the six-yard line for Sterling to tap in.
The assist was returned a mere 15 minutes later when a neat cross-field pass was cushioned by Sterling into the path of Sane who feigned planted both Balbuena and Fabianski on their bottoms while the German coolly slid the ball into an empty net.
Some might say that the second half saw something of a revival by the Hammers, who did have an array of not-so-clear-cut chances but this City team hasn’t accumulated a 35+ goal difference by being generous. Ederson actually made a couple of saves to maintain the integrity of the scoreline as City took an in-match break which included the introduction of Foden, de Jesus and Mahrez for Sterling, Aguero and Gundogan.
It took City until stoppage time toad to their goal yield in a move pretty much involving all the replacements and it was de Jesus’ pin-point cross that took out the entire Hammers defence to find an unattended Sane who again threaded the ball between Fabianski and Cresswell to make it 4-0.
In his post-match interview, Guardiola insisted this was a job done but not a job well done as City had allowed a number of chances to fall to Arnautovic, Antonio and even a free header from a corner to Balbuena. It simply isn’t good enough. He went on to say that when players get introduced during the match, they know they have to maintain their levels or they don’t get selected next week!
The boys look completely focussed on their task and pundits are already suggesting that last seasons point tally and goal tally and goals against tally are breakable records.