The first Premier League winter break allowed batteries to be recharged and aching limbs to be rested as an epic few weeks loom on the horizon in the guise of four different competitions in 11 days. A goal in each half settled this one-sided contest with Rodrigo and Kevin De Bruyne each on the score-sheet. Also Read - Manchester City, Reigning Premier League Champions, Banned From Champions League For Two Seasons
City totally dominated the first-half with scant reward for their efforts. Gabriel Jesus – on another day – could have had a couple of goals after being put clear inside the box, but on each occasion he hesitated a fraction to long and the Hammers survived.
There were strong shouts for a penalty of 19 minutes as Sergio Aguero was played through by the impressive David Silva only for the offside flag to be raised as Arthur Masuaku appeared to pull the Argentine back – replays suggested he wasn’t offside and a penalty and possibly a red card could have been awarded.
Despite the numerous chances City created through intricate passing and crosses into the box, the breakthrough – thoroughly deserved – came from a corner as Kevin De Bruyne’s cross was glanced across the box by Rodrigo into the far corner of the West Ham net. The second half was again dominated by City, but it was another 18 minutes after the re-start before the lead was finally doubled – and it was a peach of a goal, too.
De Bruyne, probing on the edge of the West Ham box, played a short pass into the feet of Bernardo who instinctively played a reverse ball into space and at speed, De Bruyne arrived to drill home his eighth of the season from the corner of the six-yard box.
The cross Kevin De Bruyne provided for Rodrigo’s opening goal was his 16th of the season and put him six clear of any other Premier League player.
The Belgian goal-maker was impressive throughout, mixing industry with skill like few other top players can.
And since his City debut in 2016, only Lionel Messi has created more goals in Europe’s top five divisions – 62 to KDB’s 61 – quite a stat.