Custom Search 1

Raheem Sterling’s Man City begin where they left off

GET IN: Raheem Sterling slots home

CHAMPIONS Manchester City picked up their customary victory in east London with Raheem Sterling bagging a hat-trick, but this was a match in which VAR loomed large.

In a sure sign of things to come this season, the video assistant referee ruled a goal offside, another onside, awarded a penalty, and subsequently ordered its retake.

Each decision adhered to the letter of the law and each caused considerable consternation around the ground, but it is a paradigm shift all will have to accept if such reports as these are not to be dominated by VAR and the question of whether or not it infringes spirit of the game. VAR is here to stay.

Out on the pitch, Pep Guardiola’s side are sure to find even greater fluency in the weeks ahead, which is as ominous as it sounds for the rest of the Premier League, particularly with a fully fit Kevin De Bruyne to call upon.

The champions wanted to make a statement after Liverpool’s emphatic opening win last night and responded with a 5-0 rout that also included goals for Gabriel Jesus and substitute Sergio Aguero.

Manuel Pellegrini’s West Ham kept themselves within swinging distance of their illustrious opponents until the final 15 minutes when superior ability and resources began to tell. When Guardiola’s side found extra gears the visitors were able to put the result beyond any doubt.

By the time Jesus gave the visitors a 24th-minute lead, the champions had fended off early excursions from West Ham and were beginning to find their range in trademark fashion.

Riyadh Mahrez slipped in Kyle Walker, who beat Aaron Cresswell and flicked the ball towards the West Ham goal. Issa Diop slid in, attempting to force a City corner, but succeeded in merely knocking the ball on for Jesus to dink beyond Lukasz Fabianski.

The visitors built on their lead after the interval when Mahrez collected possession in midfield and shuttled possession on to the highly influential De Bruyne. The Belgian charged forward and fed the marauding Sterling to his left by giving the England international the simplest of chances to open his account for the season.

Jesus nearly had his second moments later but Sterling’s shoulder was deemed offside during the build-up by VAR and the goal was subsequently scratched off by referee Mike Dean.

By the 75th minute it really was 3-0 to City. This time, Sterling would prove to be the beneficiary of VAR, as he was adjudged to have correctly timed his run onto Mahrez’s pass before hooking the ball over Fabianski.

Aguero, having just emerged from the bench, saw a penalty saved only for Fabianski to be penalised by VAR for coming off his line early. The Argentine made no mistake with his second attempt.

There was little to check City’s ascendency at that point and Sterling slotted home his third in second half added time.

Subscribe to The Voice database!

We'd like to keep in touch with you regarding our daily newsletter, Voice competitions, promotions and marketing material and to further increase our reach with The Voice readers.

If interested, please click the below button to complete the subscription form.

We will never sell your data and will keep it safe and secure.

For further details visit our privacy policy.

You have the right to withdraw at any time, by clicking 'Unsubscribe'.

Facebook Comments