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03rd-Feb-2017

Jesus fires Man City, Jakupovic foils Man Utd

By AFP, London


Gabriel Jesus opened his Manchester City account in a 4-0 stroll at West Ham United on Wednesday that sent his side level with fourth-place Liverpool in the Premier League.
Pep Guardiola's team took full advantage of slip-ups by the other teams in the leading pack on Tuesday to move level on points with Liverpool, 10 points below leaders Chelsea.
"Gabriel Jesus is a fighter with an instinct for the goal," beamed Guardiola of his œ27 million ($33.6 million, 31.3 million euros) recruit from Palmeiras. "He's good at assists too."
Manchester United could not follow suit, however, a damaging 0-0 draw at home to struggling Hull City leaving Jose Mourinho's men four points below Liverpool and City in sixth place.
Just a point now separates the teams sitting second, third, fourth and fifth, with Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal level on 47 points, a point above Liverpool and City.
Guardiola made two bold selection choices at West Ham's London Stadium, dropping goalkeeper Claudio Bravo for Willy Caballero and keeping City talisman Sergio Aguero on the bench.
And it worked as the visitors streaked into a 3-0 lead inside 39 minutes through goals by Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva and 19-year-old Brazil starlet Jesus.
De Bruyne opened the scoring in the 17th minute, picking up a loose ball and exchanging passes with Jesus before sweeping a first-time shot into the bottom-right corner.
Leroy Sane created the second goal four minutes later, neatly nutmegging Sam Byram and slipping past West Ham debutant Jose Fonte before squaring for Silva to convert at the back post.
Jesus then opened his account with a delightfully constructed goal, slotting in after Sane's through ball had been steered across goal by Raheem Sterling.
West Ham manager Slaven Bilic gave Robert Snodgrass his debut as a 64th-minute substitute following his move from Hull.
But three minutes later Yaya Toure made it 4-0 from the penalty spot after Sterling was clumsily fouled by Fonte, sealing a second convincing win for City at West Ham after last month's 5-0 FA Cup romp.
"We played a front three with an average age of 20. I like the fans to be excited," Guardiola told BT Sport.
"Those players are the future of the club. They will be important players for the next few years."
- Crouch milestone -
Hull's draw at Old Trafford gave them a small measure of revenge for last week's League Cup semi-final defeat at Manchester United's hands.
Mourinho made nine changes to the United team that had crushed Wigan Athletic 4-0 in the FA Cup on Sunday, but Hull goalkeeper Eldin Jakupovic repelled everything the hosts threw his way.