Manchester City 2-1 West Ham United - 20/20 as City's title rampage continues
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 27: Ruben Dias of Manchester City celebrates after scoring his team's first goal during the Premier League match between Manchester City and West Ham United at Etihad Stadium on February 27, 2021 in Manchester, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Manchester City continued their rampage towards the Premier League title as they edged past West Ham United on Saturday afternoon.

It was the Citizens centre half pairing of Ruben Dias and John Stones who proved the difference for the runaway league leaders, grabbing a goal apiece either side of a Michail Antonio equaliser as their hunt for their quadruple continues.

Story of the Match

The hosts came into the game looking to pick up an unprecedented 20th win in a row in all competitions, but they faced a tough task against an inform West Ham outfit looking to solidify their place in the top four.

There were changes aplenty for both sides but the big news came up top for Manchester City, who welcomed Sergio Aguero back into the starting eleven for the first time since October when the two sides met at the London Stadium.

It was a first-half devoid of many chances, with a heavily rotated Manchester City side struggling to fashion any clear cut sights at goal, despite dominating the ball in characteristic fashion.

In fact, it wasn't until the 30th minute that stand-in West Ham goalkeeper Darren Randolph was called into action, and that first action was to pick the ball out of the back of his net.

It was Ruben Dias who grabbed the opener - his first goal as a Manchester City player - but whilst it was Dias' name on the scoresheet, the credit has to go to Kevin De Bruyne.

The Belgian - who had been uncharacteristically sloppy through the opening exchanges - provided a moment of sheer brilliance as he brought the ball down on the right-hand side some 40 yards out, before delivering an inch-perfect ball to the Portuguese centre back.

Dias' powerful header burst through the hands of Randolph, who arguably could've done better.

Whilst many thought the opener could be the perfect tonic for Manchester City to go on and take the game to the Hammers it was the visitors who pulled themselves level just shy of half-time.

Vladimir Coufal's low driven ball was steered goalwards by Jesse Lingard, with Antonio on hand at the back post to turn the ball home.

It was the first goal that Manchester City had conceded at home in their last eight matches, but it was little less than David Moyes' men deserved, as the two sides entered the sheds level.

There were no changes for either side as the second half began, although there was a clear sense of attacking impetus from Manchester City, one that they had severely lacked throughout the first half.

The first major chance of the second half fell Manchester City's way with little under an hour on the clock.

It came on the back of a West Ham attack, with Kyle Walker kickstarting the hosts counter with a sublime cross-field pass to De Bruyne, who skipped past two West Ham defenders before delivering a low ball across the face of the Hammers goal.

If there was one man you'd want on the end of the ball, it would be Sergio Aguero. But unfortunately for the Argentine, he could not quite get his toe to the ball, and the visitors scrambled back to clear.

It would prove to be the last chance that Aguero would get to stamp his authority on his return, as he was replaced by Gabriel Jesus on the hour mark.

On the day that Manchester City's greatest ever striker would return to the fold, it was their defensive duo who decide the game, with Stones restoring his sides lead after 68 minutes.

The English centre back - who had conceded his first Etihad goal of the season in the first half - was Johnny-on-the-spot to turn home Riyad Mahrez' cutback.

West Ham sent on Said Benrahama and Jarod Bowen in search of a second equaliser of the afternoon and, whilst West Ham looked a threat from the dead ball, there was little in the way of action for Ederson between the sticks as Manchester City held on for an astonishing 20th consecutive victory in all competitions.

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