City pip West Ham, close in on United
Manchester City climbed to within one point of third-placed neighbours United with a comfortable 2-0 Premier League victory over West Ham United on Sunday to end a difficult week on a high.
James Collins’s freak own goal and Sergio Aguero’s 20th league strike of the season secured a routine win and the only surprise was that City failed to add to their lead after the Argentine’s 36th-minute effort.
The victory came after a bad week in which City were beaten 4-2 by United in the Manchester derby, prompting speculation about the future of manager Manuel Pellegrini and a number of leading players.City playmaker David Silva was carried off on a stretcher in the second half with a head injury after he was caught by the elbow of Cheikhou Kouyate. Champions City have 64 points, one behind United who lost 1-0 at Chelsea on Saturday, and two adrift of second-placed Arsenal who have a game in hand.
West Ham, who climbed as high as fourth in the table in December, remained 10th having won just one of their last 11 league matches. City’s Old Trafford defeat had prompted talk of the realignment of the balance of power in Manchester so the visit of a sliding West Ham side was timely.The hosts fashioned a number of early chances with their slick passing but their breakthrough in the 18th minute came from an unlikely source. The marauding Jesus Navas burst down the right flank and his low cross careered off defender Collins before looping over goalkeeper Adrian and deflecting in off the crossbar.
The second goal, however, was more eye-catching. After intercepting a stray West Ham pass the hosts broke with searing pace and after exchanging passes with Navas, Aguero fired under Adrian.