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TONE SET FOR MANCHESTER DERBY AFTER CITY 2-1 WIN AGAINST WEST HAM & POGBA RED CARD


The Blues showed their character to earn another Premier League victory but Jose Mourinho, who will not have Pogba available, will have been watching

Let the Manchester derby countdown begin! Manchester City picked up yet another win against West Ham on Sunday, and another win which proves the superb character of Pep Guardiola's team, yet all eyes will surely now turn to next Sunday's clash at Old Trafford.

Both sides have Champions League games in midweek, yet few of the City players who came from behind to beat the resilient Hammers will make the trip to Ukraine. Kevin De Bruyne, the man who laid on a wonderful assist for David Silva's winner, will head to Abu Dhabi with his family - at City's expense

He can do so with three points in the bag and his team eight points clear. After nearly slipping to a draw against Southampton in midweek, the Catalan picked a strong team against the Londoners here, knowing full well that this would be a far tougher assignment than the league and form tables suggest.

David Moyes' men came with a plan and they stuck to it. City had little space in which to work their magic and, when they did get some, they usually used it to fire a shot way over the crossbar.

City have faced defensive teams at the Etihad Stadium all season, but they have normally found the crucial breakthrough early enough for it not to be a problem. Here, though, they were too slow, and just before half-time they allowed Angelo Ogbonna a free run at Aaron Creswell's corner. The Italian powered in a header to give an opposition side their first lead over City in the Premier League since the end of August. Mourinho will have been making notes about City's set-piece problems.

Guardiola has handed out some dressing room rollickings on several occasions this season, even when his team have been winning, and he would no doubt have been furious with his side's poor first-half showing.

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Just as he did last week at Huddersfield, the City boss brought on Gabriel Jesus for a defender, this time Danilo, in a bid to change the game. It seemed to make an immediate difference.

City duly set about the Hammers with the kind of vigour which was absent in the first half. Adrian made several saves and, in doing so, firmly stated his case to usurp Joe Hart, on loan from City and therefore ineligible to play here, from the starting line-up on a permanent basis.

Yet he could do nothing to stop Nicolas Otamendi equalising with a goal reminiscent of his old mate Sergio Aguero. The two Argentines are similar in appearance but that was not the only uncanny aspect about the equaliser; the centre-back attacked the near post with the kind of killer instinct that has made Aguero City's all-time leading scorer. It was half-time substitute Jesus, set free by a clever Raheem Sterling backheel, who raced into space to set the goal up.

Credit Goal.com

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