Manchester City extended their winning run to 20 matches and moved 13 points clear at the top of the Premier League as John Stones’ second-half strike was enough to seal victory over a resilient West Ham United.
Stones fired home his fourth goal of the season from Riyad Mahrez’s neat lay-off to keep Pep Guardiola’s side in control of the title race.
Fourth-placed West Ham gave City a decent game at Etihad Stadium and fought back to level through Michail Antonio before the break, after Stones’ central-defensive partner Ruben Dias had put the hosts in front.
Defensively, they have been superb all season and Antonio’s 43rd minute equaliser was the first goal City had conceded in open play from an opposing Premier League player at the Etihad Stadium since Leicester’s James Maddison, 12 games ago in September.
But Guardiola, likened to celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal by Hammers counterpart David Moyes before Saturday’s fixture, once again came up with the right ingredients as his side improved following the second-half introductions of Gabriel Jesus and Phil Foden.
City’s unbeaten record now stretches to 27 games and winning 24. It is their second-longest such run in their history, after 28 games between April and December 2017. They will equal their longest run without defeat if they do not lose against Wolves on Tuesday.
Manchester City’s victory was former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss Guardiola’s 500th as a manager.
It was also his 200th win as City boss in his 273rd game in charge – the fewest games needed by a manager of an English top-flight side to reach that mark.