On they march, the unstoppable force, to make it 20 consecutive wins and with a flourish worthy of the great adaptability of Pep Guardiola’s teams Manchester City’s goals were supplied by his two centre-halves.
This is the team whom no-one can stop, not even a resurgent West Ham who scored an equaliser before half-time and contained City for the most part with the confidence you might expect of David Moyes’ upwardly mobile side.
But this feels like the time of the season when City can win any way they choose, Guardiola selecting a side that had seven changes to the one that triumphed over Borussia Monchengladbach on Wednesday.
They find new ways to win and with centre-halves who can finish like this, they could carry the unusually ineffective Sergio Aguero for the first hour.
It was Ruben Dias who headed in his first City goal from Kevin De Bruyne’s left-footed right-sided cross on the half hour with West Ham’s own centre-halves distracted by the presence of John Stones.
Both had stayed up after a corner. The Englishman scored the second from Riyad Mahrez’s second-half cross with the assured touch of a regular goalscorer.
Gabriel Jesus and Phil Foden had come on before then to help decide the game, with the Brazilian replacing Aguero. He had started his first league game since the equivalent fixture in east London in October and looked slow and untidy with his touch.
His wayward attempt to bring the ball under control with his chest had ceded possession for West Ham’s goal, a crisp move out right before Vlad Coufal’s cross was turned goalward by Jesse Lingard and prodded in by Michail Antonio.
Back came City to create the winner although they were restricted in chances by a West Ham backline that was often five-strong before Moyes opened things up in the closing stages. They even had a late chance with Issa Diop’s late header.
City’s lead over Manchester United in second place was 13 points at the full-time whistle, with 12 games remaining. This was their 14th straight Premier League win. The pressure is all on the teams beneath them.
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