Gabriel Jesus starred with a goal and an assist on his first Premier League start as Manchester City romped to a 4-0 victory at West Ham.
Pep Guardiola made two bold selection decisions in leaving Claudio Bravo and Sergio Aguero on the substitutes’ bench and was rewarded with only a second top-flight victory in five attempts.
Kevin De Bruyne put City ahead with his fourth league goal of the season having been set up by Jesus.
David Silva swiftly doubled the visitors’ lead with his second goal of the league campaign and Jesus struck himself before the break.
Yaya Toure added gloss to the scoreline with a second-half penalty, the midfielder’s fourth strike for City since Boxing Day.
Guardiola’s side had thumped West Ham 5-0 in the FA Cup last month and were similarly dominant here.
City now move level on points with fourth-placed Liverpool and to within 10 of leaders Chelsea.
West Ham stay 11th after their two-match winning streak was brought to an emphatic halt.
Both sides had early half chances, Raheem Sterling volleying wide for City before Michail Antonio shot straight at Willy Caballero – selected over Bravo – from 25 yards at the other end.
City struck first after 17 minutes when Aaron Cresswell lost possession with a terrible pass, as De Bruyne, one of three players brought back into Guardiola’s team, finished confidently from just inside the area following an excellent one-two with Jesus.
It was two for the visitors just four minutes later. Leroy Sane was the creator, impressively gliding past Sam Byram and debutant Jose Fonte before his deflected square pass found its way to Silva, who tapped in from inside the six-yard box.
City were rampant and Sterling headed off-target from close range after Sane and Silva had combined to create the opportunity.
West Ham threatened to respond, but Cresswell’s miserable evening continued as he lashed an effort over with only Caballero to beat having been set up by Andy Carroll’s impressive lofted pass.
And City put the result beyond doubt six minutes before the break, the superb Jesus rounding off a slick team move that saw Sterling latch on to Sane’s pass before squaring for the Brazil international to finish simply with a low, left-footed strike.
1 – Gabriel Jesus is the first player to both score and assist in his first @PremierLeague start for Man City. Intervention.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 1, 2017
Jesus fired wide after more good work from Sane early in a second half that started with fewer fireworks than the first.
Slaven Bilic handed Robert Snodgrass his debut from the bench, but City added a fourth before the winger could make an impact.
De Bruyne’s pass released Sterling and the England international was fouled by Fonte – who was having a debut to forget – in the area, with Toure’s low 67th-minute spot-kick too good for Darren Randolph, despite the goalkeeper getting a hand to it having correctly dived to his right.
Aguero was given 17 minutes off the bench from Guardiola, while West Ham’s hopes of a consolation were thwarted when Antonio’s thumping strike was ruled out after he strayed offside from Snodgrass’ pass, City cruising to victory with Caballero barely troubled.
Key Opta stats:
– Jesus became the second-youngest Brazilian player to score his first Premier League goal (19 years 304 days), after Rafael for Manchester United in November 2008 (18y 122d).
– David Silva scored his third away Premier League goal against West Ham – his highest tally of away goals against another opponent in the competition.
– West Ham have shipped 4+ goals in three of their 12 Premier League games at the London Stadium – the same number as in their final 106 top-flight games at the Boleyn Ground.
– Yaya Toure has scored all 11 of his Premier League penalties – the best 100% record in the competition.
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