Raheem Sterling Hat-Trick Powers Dominant Manchester City Past West Ham

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 10, 2019

Manchester City's English midfielder Raheem Sterling (C) scores their second goal during the English Premier League football match between West Ham United and Manchester City at The London Stadium, in east London on August 10, 2019. (Photo by Ian KINGTON / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. /         (Photo credit should read IAN KINGTON/AFP/Getty Images)
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Raheem Sterling scored a hat-trick as Manchester City opened their Premier League title defence with a 5-0 win over West Ham United at London Stadium on Saturday.

Gabriel Jesus broke the deadlock in the 24th minute when he converted a cutback from Kyle Walker.

Sterling doubled the visitors' lead six minutes after the break. He looked to have turned provider for Jesus two minutes later, but the goal was disallowed for offside after a video assistant referee review. 

The England international made it 3-0 in the 75th minute when he latched on to a ball over the top from Riyad Mahrez.

Substitute Sergio Aguero added a fourth from the penalty spot in the 86th minute, before Sterling completed his hat-trick five minutes later.

The Hammers enjoyed a bright start without testing Ederson in the Manchester City goal, although they were able to force a nervy moment from Rodri after putting him under pressure high up the pitch.

City weren't at their best at the other end, but Riyad Mahrez nevertheless came close when he forced a save from Lukasz Fabianski and shortly thereafter shot into the side netting after cutting inside on his left foot.

Their opener came from a neat finish from Jesus after a blistering run to the byline from Walker.

The goal sparked City into life, and after finishing the half the much stronger of the two sides, they scored again early in the second period when De Bruyne slipped in Sterling.

Football journalist Jonathan Smith took issue with VAR after Sterling was penalised for a marginal offside call two minutes later, which resulted in Jesus having a goal disallowed:

Jonathan Smith @jonnysmiffy

Raheem Sterling gaining a clear advantage there by having his shoulder half a cm ahead. The wonderful world of VAR.

Sterling had his 50th Premier League goal when he found the net again after Ederson had produced an incredible double save to deny Javier Hernandez and Manuel Lanzini.

On this occasion, a VAR review went in his favour, but as football writer Tim Stillman observed, the two incidents were virtually identical:

Tim Stillman @Stillberto

We’ve essentially changed what offside is. There’s no way that Sterling had more of an advantage with the disallowed goal compared to the one that stood. There is no material difference between those scenarios. West Ham defended them the exact same way with different results.

VAR wasn't needed for referee Mike Dean to award a penalty to City when Issa Diop fouled Riyad Mahrez, but it aided the Sky Blues when Aguero was allowed to retake his spot-kick after his poor initial effort was saved by Fabianski, who had moved off his line.

Another cool finish from Sterling, courtesy of another fine ball from Mahrez, rounded out the scoring.


What's Next

West Ham travel to Brighton & Hove Albion on August 17, while City host Tottenham Hotspur the same day.