City sound FA Cup warning as Hammers crumble

By dsguser
06 January 2017

Manchester City flexed their muscles in this season's FA Cup with a 5-0 third-round thumping of West Ham.

Yaya Toure's penalty, Havard Nordtveit's unlucky own goal and strikes from David Silva, Sergio Aguero and John Stones swatted aside the Hammers at the London Stadium.

The penalty decision which opened the floodgates may have been debatable, but the result was not and vindicated Pep Guardiola's decision to field a strong line-up.

The City boss has endured a strange week after a defeat at Liverpool and a series of tetchy post-match interviews following the win at Burnley .

But rather than weaken his team for his first FA Cup tie, the Spaniard proved he is taking the competition seriously by recalling Silva and Aguero.

West Ham, by contrast, started with their star man Dimitri Payet on the bench and immediately found themselves under the cosh.

Silva's early cut-back found Pablo Zabaleta, whose goalbound shot was bravely blocked by Winston Reid, before Gael Clichy set up Silva only for his effort to be kept out by Adrian at the near post.

Raheem Sterling was then denied by a superbly timed Reid tackle and from the resulting corner Adrian tipped Aguero's volley over.

The pressure was always going to tell, though, and in the 32nd minute Zabaleta tumbled to the floor under Angelo Ogbonna's challenge.

There was only minimal contact but referee Michael Oliver quickly pointed to the spot and Toure stepped up to lash the penalty past Adrian.

West Ham may have felt hard done by but there was no justification for the collapse which followed.

They did almost hit back immediately when Michail Antonio forced a save out of Willy Caballero, but Sofiane Feghouli was unable to tuck the rebound into an unguarded net.

That proved a false dawn as City doubled their lead in the 41st minute, Sterling arriving at the far post and forcing an own goal from Nordtveit as he tried desperately to clear Bacary Sagna's cross.

Suddenly it was all too easy for City as two minutes later Sterling took his turn to race down West Ham's unmanned left-hand side.

The England international laid the ball across goal to Silva, who from six yards out had time to take a touch, steady himself, and probably do a crossword had he felt like it, before slotting in the third.

Five minutes after the interval it was four, Toure rifling a shot through a crowded area and Aguero diverting the ball into the net.

A chastening evening for West Ham got even worse six minutes from full-time when Stones headed in Nolito's corner, as Guardiola served notice that City might just fancy a crack at lifting the famous trophy in May.

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