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Manchester City hammer West Ham again

SUCCESS: Gabriel Jesus

FOR THE second time in under four weeks, Slaven Bilic's side were torn apart as City moved closer to LIverpool in fourth on a night when Manchester United were held at home by Hull.

The 19-year-old Gabriel Jesus, making his first City start in place of Sergio Aguero, claimed his first goal and assist in helping his new team, whom he joined from Palmeiras last month, to their first Premier League win since beating Burnley on January 2. He was at turns tenacious and creative. City will hope they have found Aguero's long-term successor.

West Ham came into this match on the back of two impressive victories, which did much to assuage memories of the 5-0 beating inflicted City in the FA Cup last month, but Pep Guardiola's team were once again at their fluent best in winning 4-0.

Numerous opponents have rattled City in year one of Project Pep but three times now West Ham have lacked the talent and stamina to unsettle the Spaniard's men for long periods, both at the Etihad and in the wide open spaces of the London Stadium, which play into the hands of a team of City's refinement.

The rout started once City has eased into their stride. On 17 minutes, Aaron Cresswell's careless pass to no one in particular was picked up by Kevin De Bruyne, who is the last man anyone wants running through their midfield, particularly when he is allowed to proceed unimpeded.

The Belgian exchanged a nonchalant one-two with Jesus and stroked the ball past Darren Randolph with an elegant sweep of his right foot.

West Ham's Jose Fonte was another making his full debut, having arrived from Southampton during the January transfer window, and the Portuguese was left to lament his prominent role in two of City's goals.

De Bruyne, again in acres of space on 21 minutes, whipped the ball out wide to the dangerous Leroy Sane, the equal of Jesus on the night, who gave Fonte a hard time before he knocked the ball across West Ham's goal. Randolph got a foot to it but the ball fell to the unmarked David Silva, who completed the simple task of scoring a sitter.

It was 3-0 on 39 minutes through another well worked team goal. Pedro Obiang ceded possession to the rapacious Sane. The German made light work of slipping the ball to Raheem Sterling, who squared the ball for the unmarked Jesus.

In the second half, Fonte compounded his earlier culpability with the swipe at Sterling's legs that gave City their 67th-minute penalty. Randolph dived the right way but Yaya Toure's shot evaded his grasp.

Fonte and West Ham will enjoy better nights than this, particularly if the team's other new signing, Robert Snodgrass, a second half substitute, dovetails with Michail Antonio and co. in this post-Payet era.

As a footnote to the evening, Willy Caballero started his first Premier League match since August, in place of Claudio Bravo, yet it is doubtful that the hapless Chilean would have floundered here.

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