Manchester City

Unsung Hero: Manchester City’s Riyad Mahrez makes his mark in 5-0 win at West Ham

Unsung Hero: Manchester City’s Riyad Mahrez makes his mark in 5-0 win at West Ham

Premier League champions Manchester City got the defence of their title off to a resounding start last Saturday, going top of the table after the first weekend of games with a 5-0 thumping of West Ham at London Stadium.

Raheem Sterling stood out with the first hat-trick of the Premier League season, which was also the first treble scored on the opening day in the league since Didier Drogba’s for Chelsea against West Brom back in 2010, as noted by The Guardian.

Gabriel Jesus opened the scoring for Pep Guardiola’s side in the first half and the Brazil striker had another goal chalked off when a VAR review showed that Sterling was fractionally offside in the build-up.

VAR also had a part to play in Manchester City’s other goal on Saturday, with Sergio Aguero scoring a penalty that was retaken after his first kick, which was saved by Lukasz Fabianski, was nullified because of penalty box encroachment from West Ham’s Declan Rice, as reported by Sky Sports.

It maintained the champions’ record of scoring at least four goals on every visit to London Stadium since they first played there in an FA Cup match in January 2017, a run that now encompasses five games, as noted by Fox Sports.

While Sterling, Jesus and Aguero were the men on the scoresheet, another of Manchester City’s attacking players came to the fore in the 5-0 victory.

Riyad Mahrez was the only one of their forwards not to score on Saturday, but he did provide the assists for Sterling’s second and third goals. [via WhoScored.com]

He recorded three shots in the game, second only to Sterling’s four, and also had two successful dribbles, as well as getting back to make four tackles (the joint highest for Manchester City along with Kevin De Bruyne) and two interceptions. [via WhoScored.com]

Matt Atherton of the Daily Express gave Mahrez a rating of eight, describing his performance as “impressive” and adding that he “terrified [Aaron] Cresswell in the first half”.

The Independent had him down for a rating of seven, saying that he “started the season really well with some very nice runs from the right” and noting that he won the twice-taken penalty which Aguero ultimately scored.

Jack Gaughan of the Daily Mail saw fit to award Mahrez a nine rating and said that it was his “best performance in a City shirt”.

The Algeria winger contributed just four Premier League assists last season – he is already halfway to matching that tally for 2019/20 after Manchester City’s first match of the campaign.

With Leroy Sane ruled out for several months with a cruciate ligament injury, as reported by The Independent, and Sterling excelling in his place on the left-hand side at the weekend, Mahrez could make the right-sided attacking role his own this season if he continues to be as effective as he was against West Ham.

Manchester City fans, how well do you think Mahrez played on Saturday? Let us know your views in the comments section below!

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