Gabriel Jesus got his first goal in England as Manchester City ran riot in a 4-0 win at West Ham on Thursday, turning on the style and drawing level with fourth-placed Liverpool on points in the process.
City had been in indifferent form of late, having picked up just one win their last three games but manager Pep Guardiola seemed unfazed by media criticism as he chose to bench Sergio Aguero and put his faith in the 19-year-old Jesus.
And the young Brazilian set up Kevin De Bruyne for City’s opener in the 17th minute after a flowing move had caught the Hammers cold. The Belgian playmaker played a smart one-two with inside the West Ham box before cooly side-footing the ball into the net.
League leaders Chelsea had dropped points at Liverpool and while they are almost certainly out of City’ reach, the fact that Arsenal were upset by Watford and Tottenham Hotspur couldn't beat Sunderland spurred the Sky Blues to their most impressive away of the season.
Leroy Sane nutmegged a West Ham defender on the left wing before his low cross found an unmarked David Silva, who stroked the ball into an empty net to double City’s lead in the 21st minute.
And just three minutes after the half-hour mark, Jesus got his goal when Raheem Sterling unselfishly laid off the ball for the Brazilian after Sane’s through ball had found the two clean on goal.
The Hammers had just sold their star player, Dimitri Payet, to Marseille and were clearly missing the mercurial player’s talents as they were largely insipid in attack, registering just the one shot on goal.
City then got a fourth goal in the second half when Sterling was tripped by debutant Jose Fonte in the box, with Yaya Toure stepping up and nonchalantly beating Darren Randolph from the spot in the 67th minute.
West Ham’s new signing Robert Snodgrass’ introduction did make the game a little interesting but City somehow managed to keep a clean sheet despite two penalty claims from the home side.
As an added bonus for City, their arch-rivals Manchester United were unable to beat relegation-threatened Hull City at home on Thursday, with the match ending in a disappointing 0-0 draw on the night.
City are in fifth place on 46 points, level with Liverpool with Tottenham and Arsenal just a point ahead of them in the Premier League table.