Sergio Aguero scored two goals and created another as Manchester City gathered their first away win in the Premier League this season, beating West Ham United 3-1 at Upton Park Saturday night.
Aguero scored in each half to give City a 2-0 lead before Ricardo Vaz Te pulled one back for West Ham with a spectacular bicycle kick. David Silva then sealed the points with 10 minutes left, set up by Aguero's classy back-heel.
City entered the match having collected just one point from nine available so far on their travels this season. Manager Manuel Pellegrini cleared out his back four, selecting four new players from City's last match, a 3-1 win at home over Everton.
The gamble worked, as City were rarely threatened apart from a brief bright spell by West Ham after Vaz Te's goal. The Hammers had won 3-0 at Tottenham Hotspur in their previous match but lost for the third time at home this season.
After an open start, City took the lead in the 16th minute with a familiar combination. Yaya Toure picked out Aguero with a long ball through West Ham's midfield and defence, and Aguero kept his cool to beat Jussi Jaaskelainen for his fifth league goal of the season.
City came close again six minutes later when Jaaskelainen spilled Aguero's shot, but Guy Demel cleared before the visitors could convert the rebound.
The visitors dominated possession thereafter, bossing the midfield for the rest of the half. But it wasn't until early in the second half that City doubled their advantage. After winning a free deep on the left, just outside West Ham's box, Silva curled an outswinger to an unmarked Aguero, who headed in high at the near post.
Look at the marking for Sergio Aguero's second goal. No West Ham player within 5 yards of him defending a set piece. pic.twitter.com/5nx91lfGgw— Squawka Football (@Squawka) October 19, 2013
Extremely clever free kick, wrong-foots CBs anticipating run on goal from Aguero. Interesting near-post approach, requires neck strength— Sam Tighe (@stighefootball) October 19, 2013
1 - That was Sergio Aguero's 41st Premier League goal but the first with his head. Nod.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 19, 2013
West Ham pulled one back in the 58th minute after laying siege to City's goal. With the ball bouncing around the area, Ravel Morrison flicked over a defender and Vaz Te finished with a sweet overhead kick.
The hosts gained impetus from the goal but failed to find the equaliser. Instead, City wrapped up the points 10 minutes from time via the impressive Toure, Aguero and Silva.
Toure played another through-ball to Aguero, who cleverly passed back to Silva with his heel. Silva took a couple touches before curling his shot into the top corner for an unassailable 3-1 lead.
With the win, City moved up to fourth, three points behind early leaders Arsenal. West Ham are 14th.
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West Ham play at Swansea City next Sunday.
Manchester City visit CSKA Moscow in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday before playing at Chelsea in the Premier League next Sunday.