Sergio Aguero scored two and set up another as Manchester City kept themselves in the chasing pack with their first away league victory of the campaign at West Ham United.
Ricardo Vaz Te’s acrobatic goal brought the hosts back into it after Aguero bagged a brace by scoring in each half, but David Silva then secured three points for the visitors to Upton Park.
Hammers boss Sam Allardyce named the same XI that beat London rivals Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 away before the international break. That meant he continued to use a formation without a striker.
City coach Manuel Pellegrini changed his entire back four that started the home win over Everton. James Milner dropped to the bench. The visitors were without captain Vincent Kompany through a thigh problem.
Micah Richards, linked with a January move away from the Etihad, Matija Nastasic, Javi Garcia and Gael Clichy all came in along with Samir Nasri. Aleksandar Kolarov, Joleon Lescott and Pablo Zabaleta were also among the subs.
West Ham got into promising positions time and again, but, without one of Allaryce’s customary target men to aim for, their threat was notably blunt. Set piece chances were particularly plentiful, yet nobody in a claret shirt could capitalise.
Clinical City took their first clear-cut opening on 15 minutes. Alvaro Negredo dummied Fernandinho’s through-ball and Aguero slotted home in the clear. Jussi Jaaskelainen later held a close range volley from the Argentine when his strike partner knocked the ball down to him.
Veteran Finnish stopper Jaaskelainen also kept out Yaya Toure when he romped forward and tried to blast in a second goal for the visitors. Hammers forward Ricardo Vaz Te meanwhile hit fresh air with the best first half glimpse the hosts got of Joe Hart.
Big Sam then saw his team concede again five minutes after the break from a dead ball. Aguero added his second by moving into near post space and nodded in Silva’s free kick from eight yards. Who in West Ham colours should have picked the City strike up?
Hart then flung himself at the feet of Mohamed Diame and stopped the Senegal star from lifting the ball over him. The Hammers did pull one back before the hour, however, as Allardyce acolyte Vaz Te netted an overhead kick.
Young Morrison made the chance with a ball over the top as the hosts kept the pressure on City defenders. Negredo then almost immediately restored the visitors’ two-goal cushion when he rattled the underside of the West Ham bar with a strike from an acute angle.
Jaaskelainen plunged dramatically to his left denying Aguero his hat-trick. The Hammers goalie also kept out City sub Kolarov. Pellegrini then moved to shut up shop, also introducing Milner for Nasri.
Silva sealed victory for the visitors as Aguero turned provider. He back-heeled to the Spaniard in space and a curling strike bent inside the far post leaving Jaaskelainen helpless. City march on, but Big Sam knows West Ham have now lost as many times as they’ve won at home.
- West Ham: 22 Jussi Jaaskelainen, 20 Guy Demel (17 Joey O’Brien 65’), 5 James Tomkins, 2 Winston Reid, 8 Razvan Rat, 23 Stewart Downing, 21 Mohamed Diame, 16 Mark Noble, 4 Kevin Nolan (c) (30 Mladen Petric 83’), 15 Ravel Morrison, 12 Ricardo Vaz Te (7 Matt Jarvis 65’) 4-6-0
- Goals: Ricardo Vaz Te 58’
- Man City: 1 Joe Hart, 2 Micah Richards, 14 Javi Garcia, 33 Matija Nastasic, 22 Gael Clichy, 42 Yaya Toure (c), 25 Fernandinho, 8 Samir Nasri (7 James Milner 74’), 16 Sergio Aguero (35 Stevan Jovetic 82’), 21 David Silva, 9 Alvaro Negredo (13 Aleksandar Kolarov 66’) 4-2-3-1
- Goals: Sergio Aguero 16’, 51’, David Silva 80’