What we learned as Manchester City win 20th game in a row against tricky West Ham Utd

*Ctrl+C**Ctrl+V* - Manchester City won their Premier League match this afternoon.

Their Saturday lunchtime win over West Ham United now takes City's run to 20 - yes, TWENTY - consecutive victories in all competitions.

But Pep Guardiola's side didn't have everything their own way against a Hammers side that absolutely proved their top-four credentials against the league's runaway leaders.

Here's what we could take away from Saturday lunchtime's kick-off:

West Ham could be in the Champions League next season

West Ham showed plenty of quality despite their defeat at the Etihad
West Ham showed plenty of quality despite their defeat at the Etihad

David Moyes' men have probably been punching above their weight this season, but they showed more than enough to prove that they deserve to be where they are in the table.

Reserve goalkeeper Darren Randolph was thrusted into action on Saturday following an injury to Lukasz Fabianski, but the Republic of Ireland international was a sturdy presence between the posts in only his second Premier League appearance of the season so far.

There's still a long way to go in the Premier League this season, but Moyes' men have looked up to the task when it comes to going toe-to-toe with the league's elite.

Jesse Lingard is a man reborn

Manchester United loanee Jesse Lingard looks possessed on the pitch at the moment, with calls growing for an England recall in time for the Euros this summer through his current form.

"J Lingz" even trended on Twitter during the match, with swathes of supporters complimenting his performance against the Citizens as he was given the assist for Michail Antonio's equaliser late in the first half - which was the first home goal City had conceded in eight matches.

Europe's best centre-back pairing? Or Europe's best strike partnership?

John Stones and Ruben Dias have been absolutely sublime in defence in the last few months, but they showed their worth at the other end as well on Saturday afternoon.

Even though the Hammers had the better chances in the early stages, Dias would be on his game to convert the Citizens' first chance of the game, arrowing a header from a pinpoint Kevin De Bruyne cross past Randolph to open the scoring.

Stones' winner was an instinctive finish, too, firing first time from Riyad Mahrez's cutback to put three more points on the board for City.

Nothing can stop the two of them right now, it seems. To find out more about the pair's success, head to Football365 and see Joe Williams' detailed breakdown of the centre-backs' performance against the Hammers.

READ MORE: The striking figures of Jamie Vardy's record against Arsenal. Can he terrorise the Gunners again?

Fantasy stars

Even though they didn't keep a clean sheet, goals from Messrs Stones and Dias meant the city centre-backs finished with eight points apiece, with Hammers goal-scorer Antonio not far behind on six.

All three assist-makers, De Bruyne, Lingard and Mahrez all scored five apiece.

For anyone with Lukasz Fabianski, Raheem Sterling, Aymeric Laporte or Bernardo Silva on the bench, however, you've all drawn blanks on this occasion.

From the managers

Pep Guardiola spoke pragmatically after the match
Pep Guardiola spoke pragmatically after the match

Pep Guardiola, speaking to Sky Sports: "It was really difficult. They have the physicality. They have the quality of players in Lingard, Fornals.

"After 45 minutes today we realise we are not going to paint anything beautiful. Second half we were much better than the first half. When you play a lot of games, in the league and then the Champions League, this is normal.

"We were lucky to get all three points. The mathematics matter at the end of the season."

West Ham boss David Moyes told a post-match press conference (via Football.London): "Today we had a good performance but probably didn't get the result to go with it. Had we got a point there would be no question we deserved it. I can only give credit to our players for how well we played.

"There is a great self-belief in the squad but we are not getting carried away. I want to praise the players for how well they did against the best team in Europe."

Michail Antonio scores from close range
Michail Antonio scores from close range

Head over to TeamTalk to get a full match recap and post-game reaction from both managers.

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What's next?

Next up, Manchester City are straight back in action in midweek as they take on Wolves in the Premier League on Tuesday night (8pm kick-off GMT).

West Ham, meanwhile, benefit from their FA Cup exit by having a nine-day gap to their next game, where they'll take on the ever-entertaining Leeds United on Monday 8 March (8pm kick-off GMT).

Odds check

West Ham are still in the top four as the table stands and are very much in contention to be in the European places come season's end, and you definitely wouldn't have got them priced as short as 9/2 to be in the Champions League places in May, as they are with Paddy Power.

Unsurprisingly, as Manchester City are now 13 points clear at the top, you won't get much value on them to lift the Premier League trophy. They're best priced at 1/66 with Sky Bet to win the title outright.

READ MORE: Premier League's youngest debutants: Aaron Lennon, Jose Baxter, Gary McSheffrey and more

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