Manchester City 5-0 West Ham: Quick start shows 'why Man City are top of league'

Manchester City could hardly have dreamed of such an impressive start against West Ham.

After a mere 174 seconds, they were already two goals ahead and embarking on a statement game in their push for the Women's Super League title.

It was a controlling, determined beginning which showed "why Man City are top of the league," according to former England goalkeeper Rachel Brown-Finnis.

They added three more goals to their tally and flourished as the early cushion gave them the chance to play at their creative best, with freedom.

Beating West Ham meant City returned to the summit of the table and are three points above Chelsea having played a game more.

City's display prompted former England midfielder Fara Williams to say she has been left "lost for words" by their performances.

They have notched up 13 successive wins in the league in their push for a first league title since 2016.

City boss Gareth Taylor said the victory is "a big one".

"It's a good scoreline for us," he told BBC Sport. "They hit the woodwork on a couple of occasions but overall I'm really pleased with the performance. I thought we started the game tremendously well.

"It gave us a good platform to speak at half-time about what we wanted to achieve in the second half. To score two towards the end there was important for us."

West Ham "completely outplayed"

The visitors had a handful of chances but the early cushion meant there was little chance of them finding a way back.

Riko Ueki and Viviane Asseyi both hit the woodwork, but nobody found a way past Khiara Keating as City strolled to victory.

"Not even in jest, West Ham have been completely outplayed, they don't seem to have any answers," said Brown-Finnis.

City had 68% possession and had 18 shots, regularly testing Mackenzie Arnold.

While they once again opted against starting both Lauren Hemp and Chloe Kelly and therefore lacked their usual partnership on the wings, it made little difference as City adapted and were fluid in the final third.

Jess Park, 22, has been handed a run of starts as a result of regular strong performances and showed her prowess once again.

Her runs towards the West Ham defence, having the vision to spot when there were gaps to exploit, proved difficult for the visitors to handle.

By scoring City's fifth she netted her fourth league goal of the campaign, showing that she has adding the much-needed final product to her game now, too.

City "clinical" in front of goal

Managing 18 shots was an excellent tally against a West Ham side who sat back, but it is the fact that 13 of those hit the target which was crucial.

"Two shots, two goals, clinical. That is why Man City are top of the league," said Brown-Finnis at 2-0.

It was a form they maintained in the final third throughout the game.

They emerged from the break leading 3-0 and struggled to extend their advantage but remained determined to break down West Ham.

City continued to press in the final third and two more late goals could make all the difference as they look to beat Chelsea to the title .

Should both teams win their remaining games, they will finish the season level and it will come down to goal difference and City now have a three-goal advantage.

For now, though, City are top of the league and will likely remain there until 15 May, when Chelsea will have played their rearranged fixtures.