Manchester City cruised to a comfortable 2-0 win over West Ham United to keep their hopes of a top four finish on track, though the game was overshadowed by a facial injury to David Silva.
A bizarre own goal by James Collins and a rapid counter-attack ending in a customarily well-taken Sergio Aguero goal sealed the points for City, who bounced back from a derby day pounding by Manchester United to close the gap on their city rivals to just one point.
City started the game in near complete control of proceedings, dominating the midfield with Yaya Toure and Fernando spraying passes around under little pressure.
West Ham's game plan was to sit deep and attempt to keep Manuel Pellegrini's team at arm's length, but it proved an unsuccessful strategy. Aleksandr Kolarov went close with a curling free-kick, but the hosts took the lead through a comical own goal after 18 minutes.
Jesus Navas picked up the ball on the right wing following a poor goal-kick from Adrian and the Spain international's cross was inadvertently turned home by Collins, whose attempted clearance looped over the West Ham goalkeeper and in off the underside of the crossbar.
Collins did somewhat atone for that error as he produced a goal-saving tackle to prevent Silva from adding a second at the end of a well-worked City move, but his blushes for the goal itself were unavoidable.
Navas made a lively start to the game and would go on to create a game-high 8 chances.
West Ham provided a sporadic attacking threat, yet they were given a mountain to climb when a brilliant City counter-attack ended with Aguero scoring his 20th Premier League goal of the season.
Yaya Toure won the ball in midfield and set Aguero free, the Argentina striker then rounding off the attack with a clever low finish under Adrian after combining brilliantly with Navas.
Only an excellent last-ditch Carl Jenkinson tackle stopped Aguero from converting Toure's sublime reverse pass early in the second half as City continued to dominate after the restart.
City more or less cruised to a win from the second goal, despite West Ham creating the occasional glimpse of a possible fight-back. Pellegrini was understandably very satisfied with the win.
"It was very important for our team to win because we had come from two defeats in a row and when one of those defeats is a derby it's worse," Pellegrini said, after a week of speculation about his future.
For West Ham it's now just one win in 11 league games, a dreadful run. The match was overshadowed when Cheikhou Kouyate caught Silva with an elbow in the second half, which resulted in the Spaniard being stretchered off and taken to hospital. Sam Allardyce claimed the elbow was not deliberate post-match, but Kouyate was perhaps fortunate to escape with just a yellow card.
- Sergio Aguero scored his 101st Man City goal in his 159th appearance for the club.
- Man City have taken 12 points from their last 4 Premier League home games.
- City have kept clean sheets in their last 4 Premier League home games.
- Aguero is the first player to reach 20 goals in the Premier League this season.
- City’s starting XI had an average age of 29 years and 307 days, their second oldest line-up of the season (after 29 years and 345 days away at Palace).
- City had 18 shots in this game but only 3 were on target.
- Collins scored his second Premier League own goal, and West Ham’s 30th in the competition.
- West Ham conceded only 6 fouls in the game.
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