Fernandinho rewarded for consistent season in Man City’s win at West Ham

Man City eclipsed a century of Premier League goals for the season and matched Chelsea’s record of 30 wins in a season with a 4-1 victory at West Ham.
Man City eclipsed a century of Premier League goals for the season and matched Chelsea’s record of 30 wins in a season with a 4-1 victory at West Ham.
Raheem Sterling feels Man City slowed down after their fourth goal at West Ham, but lauds how they closed out the match at London Stadium.

A fabulous season from Manchester City reached 100 goals in uncharacteristically sloppy fashion with No. 99 a deflected goal off Patrice Evra’s head and the 100th of the season going to old favourite Pablo Zabaleta. Beforehand, West Ham manager David Moyes had mused that there was probably no good time to play this City side. The evidence on this 4-1 victory for the Premier League champions — as two more made it 102 for the season — is that his assumption was accurate.

Positives

Strolling, controlled performance with injections of pace whenever needed. The way City have overpowered sides in possession (overloading on the right flank with Kyle Walker, Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne) and without the ball (hunting the ball down in packs of two and three) has been a feature of the season and continued unhindered at the London Stadium to great effect.

Negatives

Profligacy seems a trite complaint as the champions of England passed the 100-goal mark, but the four scored here could easily have been doubled.

Manager Rating out of 10

9 — Clearly not a manager to take a rest, Pep Guardiola once again named a full-strength side and asked them to repeat what they had been doing all season. His commitment to excellence at all times has been the major reason for City ending up so far ahead of the field this year, with a record approaching an incredible three goals per game.

Player ratings (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Ederson, 6 — Had started well enough, but — as with the majority of his teammates — sloppiness began to creep into his game. Caught in possession by Marko Arnautovic and nowhere near Aaron Cresswell’s free kick for the home goal.

DF Kyle Walker, 7 — Part of a heavy presence down the right flank, with De Bruyne and Sterling, that gave 36-year-old Evra no respite. Quieter second half, before being replaced by Danilo on 60 minutes.

DF Aymeric Laporte, 8 — Tidy and comfortable on the ball, whether cushioning out with head or chest, or bringing the ball out of defence on his left foot. Composed and elegant at all times.

DF Nicolas Otamendi, 7 — Overzealous at times and lucky to be in possession of a yellow card at half-time after a second foul on Manuel Lanzini went unpunished. Important toe-end to nick the ball from a marauding Arnautovic, but not his tidiest afternoon’s work.

DF Fabian Delph, 8 — Swift to support Leroy Sane and linked well with Laporte inside. Form has been constant throughout a tremendous season and he didn’t waver here.

Fernandinho celebrates scoring during Manchester City's win at West Ham.
Fernandinho scored a goal in another impressive performance in Man City’s midfield.

MF Ilkay Gundogan, 7 — Lucky not to give away a penalty after flipping Edimilson Fernandes on the edge of the box. Patient and accurate in setting up De Bruyne in the build-up to the second goal.

MF Fernandinho, 9 — Keeping a simple, constant rhythm across a game is one thing, but doing it through a full season is quite another. Started the move that ended with him sweeping in the third goal, an apt reward for another afternoon’s sterling work.

MF Raheem Sterling, 9 — A little wasteful at times but still instrumental in causing plenty of unrest in the home backline, to the extent that the last two goals were down to his excellent prompting. Only thing missing was to have converted one of the many chances he had to score himself.

MF Kevin De Bruyne, 8 — Strolling through a first half of long periods of possession and many openings for his team. No luck with shots on goal, which drifted high, wide or straight to Adrian.

MF Leroy Sane, 7 — Elegant and poised in possession during a busy first half, but faded after the break and was petulant in wanting to take the free kick that might have given Yaya Toure a farewell goal.

FW Gabriel Jesus, 7 — Quietly effective linking with midfield. Unlike Sane, grew into the game as it progressed, starting and finishing the move for the third goal with a beautiful pass out to Sterling on the right wing and quick feet dealing with the return, to avoid Zabaleta’s challenge and net past the onrushing goalkeeper.

Substitutes

DF Danilo, 7 — Came on for Walker on 60 minutes and produced a solid 30 minutes patrolling the right flank.

MF Yaya Toure, NR — Came on for Gundogan on 70 minutes to stretch those long legs. Despite being urged to shoot from various positions by the City fans, he produced a variety of accurate short passes instead.

MF Lukas Nmecha, NR — Late run out up front in place of Jesus for the youngster.

Simon is one of ESPN FC’s Manchester City bloggers. Follow him on Twitter @bifana_bifana.