Manchester City Is Just Toying With The Rest Of The Premier League Right Now
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There were moments in the Manchester City vs West Ham match when Arsene Wenger might have considered breaking out the champagne like the 1972 Dolphins to celebrate another season in which his Invincibles remained the only unbeaten side in English Premier League history. But as always seemed inevitable, Manchester City found another late goal to equal the English top flight record with a 13th straight victory on Sunday at the Etihad.
Kevin De Bruyne picked out a dime to David Silva in the 83rd minute to cap a 2-1 victory over West Ham, which went ahead in the first half. Nicolas Otamendi had equalized in the 57th minute.
Manchester City is cruising through the Premier League right now with 14 wins, one draw and no losses. Only Wenger’s 2003-04 Arsenal side has gone unbeaten through a full campaign but Pep Guardiola’s group looks more capable than any team since. The Citizens have done it with blowout wins (they have a plus-36 goal differential, already more than Leicester City's when it won the title in 2016) and late victories (they edged Southampton with a 95th-minute winner from Raheem Sterling on Wednesday). City seems like it's just toying with opponents, given them false hope before violently snuffing it out.
Sunday’s match was expected to be a blowout given West Ham had the league’s worst defense (2.14 goals allowed per game) and City the best offense (3.14 goals per game). And yet the Hammers led at halftime thanks to a header from Angelo Ogbonna off a well-worked corner kick routine.
Manchester City poured on the attacks in the second half, finishing with 24 shots, eight of which were on target. Leroy Sane and De Bruyne peppered shots at Adrian’s goal like it was a shooting drill. Eventually Otamendi bundled in a goal in the 57th minute, though West Ham won’t be happy with the foul call that led to the goal.
West Ham fought valiantly but everyone knew it was only a matter of time before Manchester City scored the winner. It came with seven minutes left in the 90 when Silva was quickest to De Bruyne’s eighth assist of the season, tying Silva’s mark for best in the league (Sane is third with six).
Manchester City set the mark for best start to a season and regained its eight-point lead atop the EPL table ahead of Manchester United following the Red Devils’ impressive (and entertaining) 3-1 win at Arsenal on Saturday. The two clash at Old Trafford on Sunday, but with Paul Pogba suspended and City’s indomitable form, don’t expect Wenger to need his champagne.