Manchester City will fall short in their attempt to repeat as English Premier League champions in 2013, but you wouldn't know it by watching the Citizens on Saturday vs. West Ham.
Roberto Mancini's squad dominated from the opening kickoff, applying tons of pressure and coming away with a hard-fought 2-1 victory at Etihad Stadium. The score hardly reflects how impressive City was in front of their home supporters, however.
The Citizens tested West Ham early and never let up, creating chance after chance.
Finally, nearly a half hour into the match, Sergio Aguero finished off a sensational play by City, putting the home team ahead 1-0 heading into halftime.
The Blues would create more scoring chances in the second half, and Yaya Toure would ultimately leave no doubt as he blasted one into the net, doubling his side's lead in the 83rd minute.
On the other end, West Ham was able to score a cheap one late, when Joe Hart made a mess of Andy Carroll's shot. Overall, though, the Hammers were unable to break through, and their bid to at least force a draw at Etihad fell short.
While West Ham manager Sam Allardyce certainly can't be too surprised by the result, he'll definitely be disappointed with the effort displayed from his side on Saturday.
The win means that City will remain comfortably ahead of third place in the league table with four matches left to play. Meanwhile, the defeat marks the first in over a month for West Ham.
Sergio Aguero, Manchester City: A
City striker Sergio Aguero was one of the most aggressive players on the pitch all day long, and it paid off for him as he put home the match's first goal.
The 28th-minute strike was Aguero's 11th EPL goal for City this season.
Andy Carroll, West Ham: C
Andy Carroll had his chances for West Ham, but he failed to capitalize behind enemy lines when it mattered most. His 19th-minute booking certainly didn't help his match grade.
He recorded a goal late thanks to Joe Hart's poor keeping, but it does little to ease the pain for West Ham.
Carlos Tevez, Manchester City: B+
Carlos Tevez was very active on Saturday, creating chances early and often. He was unlucky not to come away with a goal, but he'll certainly be content to pocket three more points for City in the EPL table.
The veteran forward attempted four shots on Saturday before coming off late in exchange for Javi Garcia.
Jussi Jaaskelainen, West Ham: B-
No, West Ham goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen didn't record a clean sheet on Saturday. But had anyone else been between the sticks for the Hammers, City may have registered two or three more goals.
While the result reflects poorly on Jaaskelainen, he did well to keep the bleeding to a minimum. He recorded six big saves on Saturday, adding to his league-leading total.
Jaaskelainen definitely outplayed City's Joe Hart.
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