Review and Player Ratings on a record-breaking night for Erling Haaland – Man City 3-0 West Ham Utd
A record-breaking and guard of honour-worthy Erling Haaland, a returning Nathan Ake, and Phil Foden's second half goals put the game beyond a resiliant first 45 minute display from West Ham United and returned Manchester City to the top of the table, whilst they scored their 1000th goal under Pep Guardiola.
Stefan Ortega started his first Premier League match of the season as Ederson needed a rest, according to Guardiola, whilst Nathan Ake was named in the starting XI straight away after returning from injury – he replaced Manuel Akanji.
It was a fairly quiet opening ten minutes of the game as City tried to click into rhythm, and Riyad Mahrez forced Lukas Fabianski into an outstanding save down to his right-hand side to deny the hosts from taking an early lead.
It is fair to say it wasn't the Blues' most convincing start to a game. A few stray passes and Michail Antonio causing a few problems were cause for concern for the reigning champions.
The hosts had to endure a period of West Ham possession, but no serious trouble was created, and City came out of it unscathed. They went down the other end to try and land their own blow, and it was the most dangerous they had looked all game, with two crosses from Jack Grealish being attacked by Haaland, but it always seemed too much of an ask, even for the 50-goal-season man.
Jarrod Bowen got in behind the City defence from a throw-in, and he tried squaring it across goal to Emerson, but Ortega made himself big and removed any potential danger. Moments later, Grealish found himself on the ball inside the 18-yard box and cut inside to get a powerful shot, which was smartly stopped by Fabianski.
City were getting all of their joy out wide, but an unsuspecting run into the box was made by Rodri and found by Haaland; the Spaniard tried passing it into the far corner, and it bounced off the inside of the post and momentarily looked like it was going to trickle in but it rolled across the line and around the opposite post and out of play.
Rodri was proving to be the danger man for Guardiola's side in the latter stages of the first half as Thilo Kehrer had to deal with his late run into the box; from the resulting corner, he was tasked with heading the ball back across goal for John Stones, but the centre half couldn't direct his header on target.
Despite City's struggle to break down West Ham in the first half, it was immediately rectified in the first five minutes of the second half. Mahrez's pinpoint free-kick found Ake with ease, and all the Dutchman had to do was knock in a free header from six yards out. Not a bad way to return to the starting lineup, as Ake scored his first Premier League goal of the season.
The hosts had a couple of what looked like very valid penalty shouts, once on Haaland and the other on Stones, but John Brooks and VAR were not interested in either claim.
Julian Alvarez attempted to replicate his long-range goal against Fulham, but unfortunately, the Argentine's shot was at the ideal height for the West Ham goalkeeper.
West Ham had their most positive period of play in the second half – the outcome? Haaland becoming the outright leading Premier League goalscorer in one season. An electric turn of pace from Grealish, and he set the Norwegian on his way to score a delightful chip over the oncoming Fabianski.
That was City's 999th goal during Guardiola's tenure and Haaland's 35th in the Premier League and 51st in all competitions, leaving the Norwegian scoring 5.11% of the goals Guardiola has overseen. Bear in mind he has only made 48 appearances in a sky-blue shirt.
Foden came on as a second-half substitute and still found time to get his name on the scoresheet before the final whistle. The ball dropped to him on the edge of the box, and a sweetly struck volley was aided by a deflection that caught Fabianski off guard, meaning City scored their 1000th goal since their Catalan boss came over. Coincidentally, the first City goal scored under Guardiola came against a David Moyes-led side when Sergio Aguero scored a fourth-minute penalty against Sunderland in August 2016.
The game might have been over, but the entertainment didn't finish there as Guardiola organised a guard of honour for the man of the moment, Erling Haaland.
Not a bad first season in England for the 22-year-old.
City will host Sam Allardyce's Leeds United at the Etihad on Saturday as they look to extend their lead over Arsenal to four points on an equal number of matches played, with only four games of the Premier League season left to play for the Blues after the weekend.
Man of the Match
There wasn't a particularly outstanding City player throughout the 90 minutes, but our Man of the Match award goes to Rodri. The Spanish international is playing an unbelievable amount of football, and somehow, his performance levels never seem to drop. When City needed a spark today, he was that man; he lead by example and gave City the platform they needed to build on in the second half.
Ortega - 7
Walker - 6.5
Stones - 7.5
Dias - 7
Ake - 8
Rodri - 8.5
Bernardo Silva - 7
Mahrez - 6.5
Alvarez - 6.5
Grealish - 7.5
Haaland - 8
Substitutes: Foden - 7.5, Akanji - 6, Phillips - N/A
Written by: @DanGP17_
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