For 75 minutes, it looked as though it might not be Manchester City’s day. Seventeen shots had come and gone in the first half alone for the Citizens, and their infamous edge of ruthless efficiency seemed dullened by a pseudo-tropical mugginess weighing heavy on every shoulder.
Erling Haaland, that great executor of inevitable goalscoring mayhem, had missed five significant chances with varying levels of seemingly ludicrous simplicity.
West Ham, through an ingenious masterplan of lumping eleven men behind the ball and running like
they were being chased by rabid wolves when they finally got it, had opened the scoring.
Nayef Aguerd and Tomas Soucek had both miraculously stopped the ball on the goal-line, and Alphonse Areola was enjoying one of those rare afternoons where everything seemed to be going his way. Even Lucas Paqueta, a changing wind from playing in sky blue on Saturday, remained unpunished for a register of unnecessary skills and risks.
City’s new weapons
But City’s great skill is in making a day theirs, changing luck by the overwhelming force of unbelievable talent.
They carpe every diem like an insufferable personal trainer,
They appears to be forging a fresh horde of geniuses to help them
Improvements year-on-year, Pep Guardiola reminded us that this is the great strength of his City side too.
Jeremy Doku had previously been considered a will-o’-the-wisp talent, a bright sprite without any real substance,
A hugely intelligent dribbler whose wits desert him in front of goal.
He scored just 12 times for Rennes in 92 games, yet scores the opener at the London Stadium with a clinical class suggesting it was the first of many.
He has been a Guardiola disciple for just over a month,
But is already demonstrating the cool confidence that pervades throughout this City squad.
Julian Alvarez is not a new addition per se, but this version, this blossoming superstar no longer easy
The Argentine’s greatest skill is his ability to create time and space, not unlike his World Cup-winning teammate Lionel Messi.
He can craft them, bend them, manipulate them to his will with the deft skill of a master glassblower.
He has two goals and three assists from his five league games this season,
His first was a rapidly intelligent through ball for Doku.
The second was a catapulted scoop for Bernardo Silva from a standing start, finding time and space for himself
Then creating it for his teammate somewhere it simply didn’t seem possible.
After the game, Guardiola praised Alvarez, a second fiddle now permanently promoted.
He said: “He’s learning a lot how to move in the pockets, he’s a threat with goals and assists,
We are happy that the club brought him last year.