An early strike from Victor Moses and Diafra Sakho’s bundled second were enough to claim another remarkable away victory for West Ham in a season that has already seen them humble Liverpool and Arsenal in their own back yards.
City’s much-hyped record signing Kevin De Bruyne pulled one back just before the break but the men who had started the season with five straight Premier League victories had nothing to show for their second half onslaught.
Moses did his parent club Chelsea a big favour by stunning the hosts with a sixth minute opener. When the West Ham loan man embarked on a run and was not challenged, he opened up his body and caught England goalkeeper Joe Hart cold with a shot that snuck in the near post from a good 25 yards.
That was the first goal City had conceded in the league this season, sending a shockwave right through the Etihad Stadium.
Even their brightest star Sergio Aguero was affected by this unexpected turn of events, as he shot wide after he’d given Adrian the slip just minutes later. He snatched at another chance when De Bruyne – making his first start for the club – did well to overlap Jesus Navas and cross.
Pellegrini’s men looked hesitant at the back without club captain Vincent Kompany, and incredibly with half an hour on the clock, West Ham went two up. When Winston Reid nodded a corner towards goal, the ball was not cleared and Sakho bundled it into the net.
But where Aguero seemed unable to finish, Manchester City’s £54m purchase, De Bruyne was able to weigh in with a crucial goal to close that gap in first half injury time. The Argentina forward showed great vision to keep the ball alive with a flick to his Belgian team-mate, who showed great control with his left foot before powering low to Adrian’s right to send them into the break 2-1 down.
Although Sakho went close to netting a third for the visitors when he rounded Hart but stroked wide, the men in sky blue did make their inevitable second-half onslaught.
First Raheem Sterling freed Yaya Toure, whose chipped effort was repelled by the onrushing Adrian, then on the hour mark Aguero was felled by Winston Reid in the box, but penalty appeals were waved away. Then Toure turned smartly to shoot wide and Adrian blocked a cross from Navas as the home side threw the kitchen sink at the Hammers.
But their heels were firmly dug in, and Adrian was there to palm a Nicolas Otamendi header over the bar from close range in a breathless defensive effort which saw Carl Jenkinson subbed off with cramp as West Ham held out for a win to send them second in the Premier League table.
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