Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola hailed the “incredible” numbers produced by his side as they reached 100 Premier League goals for the season with a 4-1 win at struggling West Ham.
The champions’ emphatic victory at London Stadium left the Hammers in a precarious position above the relegation zone.
“The numbers are a consequence of what we have done,” Guardiola said.
“We are so happy to be getting close to history. We will try to surpass the number of goals and points.
“We wanted to win today so that we can get the record of 96 points at home when we get the trophy in front of our people next week.”
City – who are now on 93 points – took the lead when Leroy Sane’s shot deflected off the head of Patrice Evra and wrong-footed Hammers goalkeeper Adrian.
A series of West Ham defensive mishaps culminated in a Pablo Zabaleta own goal which gave City a two-goal advantage and saw them reach the landmark century.
Aaron Cresswell gave the Hammers a foothold in the game shortly before the break when he curled home a free-kick inside Ederson’s near post.
However, inspired by a brilliant performance from Raheem Sterling, City reasserted their control of the contest early in the second half.
Having earlier teed up Sane, Sterling claimed a hat-trick of assists after the break when he set up Gabriel Jesus and Fernandinho to finish clinically from inside the box.
West Ham is three points clear of 18th-placed Southampton, who occupy the final relegation place.
Nervous times for the Hammers
Moyes confident Hammers will beat the drop
West Ham kept City at bay for nearly an hour when the sides met at Etihad Stadium last December, as Guardiola’s side came from behind to win 2-1.
In this encounter, a slick City team possessed the creativity to open the Hammers up at will, with the home side’s defenders left dazed and confused.
David Moyes’ side did not help themselves with an error-strewn defensive display, epitomized by City’s second goal, which bordered on slapstick.
Adrian rushed off his line but failed to win the ball, Angelo Ogbonna botched a headed clearance and then Declan Rice and Zabaleta contrived to put the ball into their own net.
West Ham had nine players in the penalty area yet still conceded.
Moyes, arms folded with a furrowed brow, cut a nervous figure on the touchline, aware of their position in the table.
“When we came in here, we were in the bottom three. We’re not now. There are other teams who would rather be in our position,” said the Scot.
“We are good enough to win another game at least and let’s hope we can do that.”
Hammers fans will also be tense, especially given this is the second 4-1 defeat in as many weeks to damage their goal difference.
West Ham (-23) have worse goal difference than relegation rivals Southampton (-19) and are only two better off than Swansea (-25).
With things so tight at the bottom of the table could it prove crucial in the final reckoning?
West Ham – City heatmap. Manchester City’s dominance at London Stadium is reflected by their heat map (right) compared to West Ham’s (left).
A century of goals for City
City’s second goal took their tally to 100 goals in 35 games this season as they became the fastest team to the milestone since Everton achieved it in 32 games in the 1931-32 season.
It was perhaps a little unfortunate the landmark moment came courtesy of some shambolic West Ham defending rather than a piece of City play.
Guardiola said in the wake of City’s 5-0 thrashing of Swansea that chasing records would keep them focused on the remainder of the season.
City’s players were true to his word as they continued to play with swagger and determination despite the title being won.
The margin of victory could have been greater, with Sterling denied what looked a clear penalty after a mistimed challenge from Cresswell.
Two more goals and three more points and City will break two of Chelsea’s Premier League records.
Equally sweet for Guardiola will be the fact he takes them from two of his managerial rivals.
Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea won 95 points in 2004-05 while Carlo Ancelotti’s Blues netted 103 goals in the 2009-10 season.
At London Stadium, City showed no signs of easing up.
- Records-Manchester City can still break:
Most points (previous record – 95 set by Chelsea in 2004-05)
Most wins (previous record – 30 set by Chelsea in 2016-17)
Most goals (previous record – 103 set by Chelsea in 2009-10)
Biggest title-winning margin (previous record – 18 points set by Manchester United in 1999-00)
Man of the match – Raheem Sterling (Man City)
A dazzling display from Raheem Sterling. The England winger provided three assists in a single game in all competitions for the first time in his career for club or country
You need fortune against City’ – reaction
West Ham boss David Moyes: “We didn’t play well. There are reasons for that, and also the quality of Manchester City.
“We didn’t do things as well as we should. You need things to go for you and a bit of good fortune when you play a team like Manchester City.
“We grew into the game. I thought we did it better in the last 15 minutes of the first half. You need to have the quality off all-round top defenders if you are doing things further up the pitch. Now the big thing is to try to win the next game.”
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola: “We created a lot of chances as well as scoring lots of goals.
“We are an honest team and are still pushing to achieve. It is about how you react, not with arrogance or presumptuousness.
“We have something special in terms of confidence and we needed some targets to set in front of us.”
A brilliant return for Jesus – the stats
- This is the fourth occasion a team has scored 100+ goals in a single Premier League season and City are the first side to do so twice.
- The city has won 30 Premier League games in 2017-18, equalling the English top-flight record for most league wins in a 38-game season (Chelsea 2016-17).
- The city is the first team since Arsenal in 2012-13 to have four different players score 10+ Premier League goals in a single season.
- Jesus has been directly involved in 24 goals in 25 Premier League starts for Man City (18 goals, six assists).
- Sane has scored 10 goals in a single top-flight season for the first time in his career.
- West Ham has conceded 67 goals in the Premier League this term – the most they have shipped in a single season in the competition since 2010-11 (70) when they were relegated.
West Ham face Leicester at the King Power Stadium on Saturday in a match which kicks off at 15:00 BST while Manchester City host relegation-threatened Huddersfield Town at the Etihad on a Sunday in the day’s early kick-off (13:30).