Verdict: Manchester City 2 West Ham United 1

Two early goals secured three vital points but gave way to a casual performance against a depleted West Ham side who should have been dispatched more comfortably. At least there were two welcome, if unlikely, scorers in the shape of Nigel de Jong and Pablo Zabaleta.

For the third game in a row Roberto Mancini named an unchanged starting eleven and substitutes bench. Rather than cohesion, such familiarity appeared to induce a casual approach. Gareth Barry was the brightest player in a start which was almost as one-sided as that seen at Blackburn.

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Player ratings: Manchester City v West Ham United

Hart – Required to produce one great one-on-one save against Robbie Keane. Otherwise spent most of his time beseeching others to maintain their focus. 7

Zabaleta – Attacked the space on West Ham’s flank excellently until they moved Ba across to give Pablo something to think about. By then the damage was done with a rare goal for the Argentine. 7

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Player ratings: City v West Ham

Given – Needed to be alert in the second half as West Ham pressed. His finest moment was turning over a stinging shot from Diamanti. 7

Zabaleta – Justified his selection ahead of Richards. The Argentine tackled well, and linked up with the forwards intelligently. 7

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