Manchester City beat West Ham 3-0 at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday. Goals from Nathan Ake, Erling Haaland, and Phil Foden helped the hosts pick up yet another domestic victory. West Ham now must regroup to avoid a drop to the second-tiered Championship.
The reigning Premier League champions lost their top spot in the standings after Arsenal dominated Chelsea on Tuesday. However, City jumped back atop the table with the win at home against the Hammers. The league leaders have now collected victories in each of their last nine top-flight matches. West Ham, on the other hand, remain just four points away from the relegation zone.
Both teams entered the match missing key players. City were without Kevin De Bruyne after the star midfielder failed to recover from a minor muscle injury. The Belgian last featured against Arsenal a week ago. Declan Rice missed the match on Wednesday, as well. West Ham’s captain was apparently sent home with a stomach bug.
Hosts dominate early, but can’t find back of the net
City, perhaps to be expected, dominated the early stages of the game. They recorded 75% possession during the opening 25 minutes. Riyad Mahrez and Erling Haaland both had decent shots on goal during this timeframe, but couldn’t find the back of the net. Hammers goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski made a quality low block to deny Mahrez in the first 10 minutes of the match. Haaland also headed over the bar from close range 15 minutes later.
The hosts then hit both posts within a two-minute span. Jack Grealish first hit Fabianski’s right post with a strong shot in the 30th minute. Two minutes later, Rodri then hit the opposite post with a low-placed shot. The midfielder was able to get through the West Ham defense and beat Fabianski, but the ball came off the woodwork and back across goal without crossing the line.
Haaland breaks goal record, City finds three points with three goals
City finally found the breakthrough goal from an unlikely source. Defender Nathan Ake headed passed Fabianski from a quality free kick from Mahrez. The Algerian international put the ball on a platter for Ake and the center back just had to make decent contact for the goal. It was the Dutch defender’s first goal for the club in just over a year.
Haaland would then double City’s lead in the 71st minute with a neat finish above the Hammers keeper. Grealish played the star center forward in on goal with a through ball that cut the defense. The Norway international then cleverly chipped Fabianski as the ball bounced into the open net. Haaland now has a record 35 goals in the English top flight this season.
Second-half substitute Phil Foden added a third goal with only a few minutes remaining on the clock. The England international struck a vicious shot towards goal that deflected off of Emerson and landed in the back of the net. Fabianski was stuck to his position as the heavy ricochet confused the keeper.
City have now regained their one-point advantage over Arsenal in the standings. The reigning English champions will also play one more match before the Gunners next take the field. City host 17th-placed Leeds on Saturday as Arsenal next face Newcastle the following day.
PHOTO: IMAGO / PA Images
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