London - Manchester City strengthened their grip on fourth place in the
Premier League with a 2-0 win at home to West Ham on Sunday but at the
cost of seeing David Silva carried off on a stretcher.
influential Spanish playmaker was on the receiving end of what appeared
to be an accidental elbow from West Ham's Cheikhou Kouyate midway
through the second half and needed lengthy treatment on the field before
being taken off the field amid concerns he might miss the rest of the
Reigning champions City's hopes of a successful title
defence were all but over before last week's 4-2 derby defeat by
But this win saw them move to within a point of
United and, significantly, go seven clear of fifth-placed Liverpool -
in FA Cup semi-final action against Aston Villa on Sunday - having
played a league game more than the Merseysiders.
For an injury-hit City side and their under-pressure manager, Manuel Pellegrini, this was a timely victory.
were in complete command against the Hammers almost from the moment the
match kicked-off and they went ahead in the 18th minute when West Ham
defender James Collins sliced Jesus Navas's cross over the head of
goalkeeper Adrian, the ball bouncing off the underside of the crossbar
for a spectacular own-goal.
But there was no denying the quality
of City's second, which came nine minutes before half-time, with winger
Navas again a key figure in the build-up.
Yaya Toure won the ball from West Ham and England winger Stewart Downing to launch a rapid counter-attack.
Aguero took the ball forward and then exchanged passes with Navas,
collecting a superbly-weighted return ball, before sliding a precise
shot under Adrian.
Defeat meant mid-table West Ham had won just
two of their last 16 league matches, with this reverse doing little to
calm the speculation surrounding the future of manager Sam Allardyce at
the London club.
Sunday's other top-flight match sees Tottenham
Hotspur looking to strengthen their bid for European football next
season away to Newcastle United, with some unhappy home fans planning to
boycott the St James' Park clash in protest at what they see as owner
Mike Ashley's mismanagement of the north-east club.