David Silva’s acrobatic strike seven minutes from time sealed a 2-1 win for Manchester City over West Ham United as the Citizens restored their eight-point advantage at the top of the Premier League table with the result.
After second-placed Manchester United had beaten Arsenal on Saturday, Pep Guardiola’s side were under pressure to register their 13th league win on the trot, but the runaway leaders were made to work extremely hard on Sunday.
For West Ham defender Angelo Ogbonna had headed the visitors into a shock lead on the stroke of half-time to silence the Etihad.
Guardiola responded by sending on striker Gabriel Jesus for defender Danilo at the interval and the switch paid dividends as the Citizens were level three minutes before the hour-mark.
The Brazilian striker sent in a low cross which centre-back Nicolas Otamendi touched into the goal to get the home crowd roaring once again and they urged their players to add a second quickly.
However, the Hammers had an inspired goalkeeper in Adrian on the night and time and again the Spaniard custodian denied the Sky Blues.
Kevin De Bruyne’s free-kick from the edge of the box seemed destined for the goal but Adrian made a superb stop to deny the Belgian and the keeper then made another top-drawer save to deny Jesus’s curling effort.
West Ham, managed by former Manchester United boss David Moyes, could barely get a touch of the ball and were ready to settle for a draw but Silva and De Bruyne had other ideas.
The Belgian curled in a smart cross for Silva, whose run had not been tracked by the Hammers defence, and despite the ball coming in at an awkward angle, the diminutive Spaniard jumped in the air and volleyed past to score his second league goal of the season.
Despite conceding a late goal, West Ham responded and had one final chance in the game but Diafra Sakho could not direct substitute Marko Arnautovic’s cross on target and City held on for a record-equalling 13 league win in a row.
The Citizens, who are the only unbeaten team in the English top-flight this season, have 43 points from 15 games while second-placed United are some way back with a tally of 34 points.
West Ham remain in the relegation zone with their fourth loss in five games and their tough run of fixtures doesn’t end here as they next entertain defending champions Chelsea on Saturday.
For City, the fact that they managed to eke out a win despite not being in top gear bodes well for them as they have a massive clash with derby rivals Manchester United on the horizon.
Saturday’s Manchester Derby may well decide the destination of the Premier League title but for now, it seems that the Blue half of Manchester is on top.