Sergio Aguero and Yaya Toure scored a pair of fine goals as Manchester City began life as former Premier League champions by winning 2-1 at home against West Ham United yesterday.
City relinquished their league crown to Manchester United earlier in the week, but their success over mid-table West Ham tightens their grip on second place and takes them closer to Champions League qualification.
Aguero opened the scoring with a well-worked effort after 28 minutes on a bright, sunny day at the Etihad Stadium.
Samir Nasri and David Silva exchanged passes on the left before the Frenchman centred for Aguero to clip the ball beneath Finnish goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen.
It was the Argentina striker’s 16th goal of the season, his 11th in the Premier League.
The goal meant City equalled an 83-year-old club record of scoring in a 48th consecutive home league game.
Ivory Coast midfielder Toure settled the game seven minutes from time with another memorable strike that saw him arrow a rising left-foot shot into the top-left corner from the edge of the area.
Wayward efforts from West Ham’s James Collins and Andy Carroll threatened the home goal late in proceedings, before the only blemish on City’s day came in injury time, when goalkeeper Joe Hart allowed a powerful Carroll shot to squirm between his legs and over the line.
West Ham are not mathematically safe from relegation but have no realistic worries lying 10th in the table.