Manchester City put in one of their best performances of the season against a woeful West Ham side to progress to the fourth round of the FA Cup with consummate ease. The visitors scored five but could have had so much more, and were in complete control for the entire 90 minutes.
This performance was a flashback to some of City's best in recent years. At a time when the manager is coming under pressure and the focus had been on the team's lack of clean sheets and cutting edge, Pep Guardiola's side couldn't have answered the critics better. The free-flowing attacking was back; the defence was resolute; and the result was the joint-biggest win under the new manager -- along with the success in Romania at Steaua Bucharest.
To pick a negative in that performance would be nitpicking. The only word of caution should come that West Ham were utterly terrible.
Manager rating out of 10
10 -- Guardiola tweaked his system to a diamond in midfield to give his team control and got his line-up and substitutions spot on to dominate the match.
Player ratings (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Willy Caballero, 7 -- It was a quiet night for the 35-year-old, but the few shots he did have to stop were dealt with comfortably. His footwork also kept his team moving when they needed him as an outlet.
DF Bacary Sagna, 9 -- Defensively solid, the Frenchman was also very dangerous in attack. He was tireless up and down the right flank, and his cross for the second goal was superb.
DF Nicolas Otamendi, 8 -- The Argentine moved the ball well and was comfortable bringing it forward when he needed to. There were also few wild challenges, and he held his position to keep a handle on big Andy Carroll.
DF John Stones, 8 -- Finally, the centre-back has his first goal for the club after several gilt-edged chances missed and disallowed strikes in his first half-season with City. Again, he was solid on the ball and defended well -- as well as being a threat from set pieces.
DF Gael Clichy, 8 -- Just as with Sagna on the right side, Clichy was up and down the left wing all evening. He was another who did a great job defensively and was always an option for the forward players to give the team some width.
MF Pablo Zabaleta, 9 -- It was hard to believe this Pablo Zabaleta is the same 31-year-old who's looked a yard short of pace and slower in mind lately. He was often the farthest man forward, breaking into the box, and his screening in front of the defence was admirable. He also made an intelligent run to win the penalty.
MF Yaya Toure, 8 -- The Ivorian pulled the strings in the centre of midfield all evening, and his influence was what kept City in control of the match throughout. He showed a cool head to open the scoring from the penalty spot.
MF David Silva, 9 -- The Spaniard put in one of his best performances of the season, consistently finding space and displaying a range of passing that left the visiting fans purring. His finish for the third goal was sublime, as his first touch sold a dummy to West Ham goalkeeper Adrian.
MF Kevin De Bruyne, 7 -- It was a quiet evening for the Belgian, who's still looking a little tired in the City midfield. He was creative and sat a little deeper than usual, moving the ball well to keep his side on the front foot.
MF Raheem Sterling, 9 -- The winger was a constant thorn in the West Ham side all evening and looked as if he'd cause chaos every time he got onto the ball. His pace was more than the defence could live with, and he was unlucky not to have got a goal, as the second will go down as an own goal.
FW Sergio Aguero, 8 -- The forward moved above Colin Bell into third on City's all-time goal scorers list with his 154th strike for the club. It was a cute flick from a Yaya Toure shot -- but that alone didn't tell the story of his game, as he cropped up all over the pitch to help his teammates out.
MF Nolito, 7 -- Replacing Silva on 58 minutes, Nolito kept the ship steady in the midfield and was as dogged and determined as ever.
MF Aleix Garcia, 7 -- The youngster showed signs that he could really settle into a Guardiola midfield with some neat passing and tough tackling when he came on for De Bruyne on 68 minutes.
MF Fabian Delph, NR -- Delph's introduction allowed Toure some rest after the 78th-minute substitution, and the Englishman was energetic on his return from injury.