LONDON: Manchester City stormed to their eighth successive victory in all competitions as Leroy Sane’s brace capped a ruthless 4-0 demolition of West Ham on Saturday.
Pep Guardiola’s side were in clinical form in east London as the champions maintained their unbeaten start after 13 games of the Premier League season.
David Silva and Raheem Sterling struck in the first 19 minutes to put City in complete control.
Germany winger Sane netted before the interval and again in the closing stages to ensure leaders City remain two points clear of second placed Liverpool.
City have scored 19 goals in their last four games in all competitions, with their latest blitz serving as the perfect preparation for next week’s Champions League clash at Lyon.
In this mood, it is hard to imagine who can stop City and their former manager Manuel Pellegrini, now in charge of West Ham, clearly had no answers.
Pellegrini managed City for three seasons between 2013 and 2016, winning the title in 2014, the League Cup twice, and 100 of his 167 games in charge.
The Chilean became the only non-European manager to win the Premier League, and only the second City manager to win two major trophies in one season.
But his City team was nowhere near as potent as the Guardiola model.
And for all West Ham’s shortcomings, City worked as hard as ever to make the most of the openings presented to them.
Sterling, whose previous appearance in a City shirt ended with him being admonished by Guardiola for showboating near the end of the 3-1 victory over Manchester United, was direct and creative, providing the final pass for Silva’s and Sane’s goals.
West Ham had looked tentative and nervy even before City took the lead after 11 minutes, and they were largely spectators as Kyle Walker ran down the right.
He found Sterling, who crossed low for Silva to stroll between the immobile Issa Diop and Fabian Balbuena to slip a first-time shot past Lukasz Fabianski from four yards.
West Ham showed little inclination to hit back, and there was so little pressure on the ball that Fabian Delph, although lining up at left back for City, was able to move into the central midfield position and launch a series of attacks.
It was 2-0 to City after 19 minutes as Sane stepped past former City defender Pablo Zabaleta on the left and hit a low pass across goal for Sterling to stroke home.
West Ham briefly spluttered into life when Michail Antonio robbed Aymeric Laporte and set up Marko Arnautovic, but the Austrian’s shot was saved by goalkeeper Ederson.
Then Arnautovic found Antonio cutting in from the right but his well-hit shot rebounded off Ederson’s chest.
But City sealed victory when Fernandinho passed out to Sterling on the right, he volleyed back into the center, and the unmarked Sane controlled the ball, sidestepped Balbuena’s attempt to recover, and rolled in the third.
Fabianski denied both Sterling and Sane in the opening minute of the second half and West Ham’s best chance disappeared when Antonio ran clear of defenders only to hit his shot against the outside of the post.
Sane showed how it was done in stoppage-time, collecting Gabriel Jesus’s cross and shooting across Fabianski, the ball going in off Aaron Cresswell.
Elsewhere, Roberto Firmino ended his English Premier League goal drought and Mohamed Salah also scored as 10-man Liverpool maintained their unbeaten start by winning at Watford 3-0 on Saturday.
Firmino headed in a late third for Liverpool at Vicarage Road, for his first top-flight goal since Sept. 15.
Trent Alexander-Arnold's brilliant free kick made it 2-0 after Salah opened the scoring — with his sixth goal in his last seven club games — in the 67th minute from Sadio Mane's cross.
Liverpool will be without Jordan Henderson for next weekend's Merseyside derby with Everton, however, after the midfielder was sent off for two bookings — the second one coming just after he'd been warned by the referee.
Hard-working Watford will feel aggrieved after referee Jon Moss rejected its penalty claims when Andy Robertson appeared to trip Will Hughes in the second half, when the score was 0-0.
It was far from a vintage Liverpool performance but they remained unbeaten in 13 games and two points behind league leaders City.