Raheem Sterling scored a hat-trick as Manchester City got their title defence up and running in style with a 5-0 win at West Ham, in a game where VAR made its first impact in the Premier League.
City’s new No 9 Gabriel Jesus showed deadly instinct to open the scoring with a near-post touch from Kyle Walker’s fine work down the right (25), and the champions were 2-0 up shortly after half-time through Sterling’s tidy finish (51).
The season’s first major VAR call came minutes later as Jesus’ tap-in was ruled out by a marginal offside call on Sterling (53), but after another tight VAR call, Sterling grabbed his second and City’s third, lobbing Lukasz Fabianski inside the box (75).
Sub Sergio Aguero then netted City’s fourth from the spot (86) at the second attempt after VAR ruled for a retake for his initial missed penalty due to encroachment, before Sterling wrapped up his hat-trick in stoppage time (90+2).
Just hours after Liverpool’s 4-1 win over Norwich on Friday Night Football, City were at their blistering best.
It started slowly, but the champions eventually moved through the gears at London Stadium. Riyad Mahrez forced Lukasz Fabianski into a fine low save with a 20-yard effort, before hitting the side-netting from 12 yards after superbly turning onto his left foot.
Sergio Aguero started the Premier League season on the bench for Manchester City, with Gabriel Jesus preferred up top. Bernardo Silva was also on the bench as Rodri made his Premier League debut. John Stones was preferred to Nicolas Otamendi, while new signing Joao Cancelo made the bench.
For West Ham, Sebastien Haller made his debut after his £40m move from Eintracht Frankfurt, while fellow new signing Pablo Fornals was on the bench.
With Aguero on the bench, Jesus took his chance well for the opener, but it all came from Walker’s pace. Overlapping on the right, Walker centred for Jesus, who neatly found the net at the near post after a slight touch off Issa Diop.