VAR in the Premier League: Man City decisions explained

Manuel Pellegrini: West Ham squad is stronger than last season

Pep Guardiola enjoyed the result but not the performance as Manchester City opened their title defence with a 5-0 thrashing of West Ham.

MANUEL PELLEGRINI he has a stronger West Ham squad than last season.

Joe Cole believes that West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini needs to start fresh with his players next week, as they suffered a beating at the hands of defending champions Manchester City on Saturday.

He could have added the third from the spot after Issa Diop fouled Riyad Mahrez but gifted the spot-kick to Sergio Aguero, which the substitute converted on a re-take, awarded following another VAR intervention.

Last season saw City pound West Ham 4-0 on the road with the Hammers keeping it a closer contest at the Etihad in a 1-0 City win.

Whilst a new season brings new hope to every team across every league, the Hammers couldn't have started with a harder opposition, and their record shows they don't often fare well against the Premier League champions.

The big games on Sunday see Arsenal visit Newcastle United, where a section of the home fans have promised to boycott the game in protest at club owner Mike Ashley.

Guardiola has already experienced the agony of VAR overturning a key decision when Sterling had what would have been a last-gasp Champions League victor against Tottenham ruled out for offside last season.

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The deadline day return of Andy Carroll to St James Park could raise spirits, but Brazilian striker Joelinton may be a more realistic short-term option to trouble an Arsenal defense which all too often leaked goals last season.

"In the first half we were sloppy in our passing".

VAR was needed again when Sterling grabbed his second in the 75th, timing his run for Mahrez's ball over the top before lifting it over Fabianski, but this time the goal was allowed.

"We were very unlucky with the first goal and then City are more unsafe".

Manchester City lead two-nil thanks to goals from Gabriel Jesus and Sterling with 20 minutes left on the clock.

Then Aguero was given a second chance to take his penalty after Fabianski saved his first effort.

A couple of minutes later, City did make it three as Sterling stole into the box and skilfully lifted the ball over the keeper.

In the end it didn't matter as City were easy winners, making it five in injury time as Sterling slotted in his hat-trick to make it five.

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