Raheem Sterling was the hero of the day after recording a hat-trick as Manchester City defeated West Ham United 5-0 to get their Premier League title defence off to an impressive start.
The breakthrough came after 25 minutes, with David Silva playing in Kyle Walker, who cut the ball back from the byline for Gabriel Jesus to deftly flick in.
Kevin De Bruyne was a growing influence for City, and his penetrating run and pass set up Sterling to make it 2-0 six minutes after half-time.
Jesus thought he had scored a third for City, only for his goal to be disallowed after Sterling was adjudged to be offside in the build-up, making it the first decision to be overturned by a Video Assistant Referee in the Premier League.
The England winger chipped Fabianski to give City their third before substitute Sergio Aguero stroked home a penalty at the second attempt to ensure the Hammers were beaten.
Manuel Pellegrini’s side were not without their chances on an afternoon where VAR’s input was felt on numerous occasions. Diop went close with a headed effort while Chicharito and Manuel Lanzini also saw efforts well saved.
A match played in blustery conditions at London Stadium saw West Ham United’s first VAR check of the 2019/20 season made after seven minutes, after a coming together between Manuel Lanzini and Rodrigo in the City penalty area. The home players, and supporters, wanted a spot-kick, but the checks came back with a negative.
Riyad Mahrez proved to be a tricky option for the away side down the right-wing with the Algerian twice going close in the first period. An early shot was well-saved by the returning Fabianski before the winger pulled an effort wide midway through the first period.
Substitute Sergio Aguero added a fourth with a penalty after his first spot-kick was saved by Lukasz Fabianski but it was ordered to be retaken due to encroachment.
Sterling had the final say, beating Fabianski to score the first PL hat-trick on opening weekend since Didier Drogba for Chelsea in 2010.
Photo Credit: premierleague.com