Pep Guardiola appreciates Raheem Sterling's willingness to listen but insists the Manchester City star's development into a world-class player is entirely of his own making.

England international Sterling has blossomed into one of the Premier League's most dangerous attackers under Guardiola's stewardship.

The former Liverpool winger scored 18 and 17 goals in successive title-winning campaigns and boasts four in two appearances this term, including a hat-trick against West Ham on the opening weekend.

Guardiola believes it will be tough for Sterling to beat out-and-out strikers to the Golden Boot but praised his appetite for improvement.

"I think he's a better player, like I said last season. It's all [to] his credit, his desire to be better," Guardiola said.

"I think every player is good when they understand what we want to do as a group... he's a guy who is incredibly receptive when we have our talks, when Mikel [Arteta, City first-team coach] speaks with him or myself.

"It's nice, when they don't get that feeling like 'oh, always pushing me or criticising me'.

"He's open. From day one since we arrived. That's why he's becoming an incredible, exceptional player.

"After that his physicality [is excellent], he plays every three days and no injuries. He runs a lot and his genetics are so strong. It's good."

Sterling's injury free run could not contrast more sharply with the difficulties faced by Benjamin Mendy.

The France left-back has suffered two serious knee injuries since joining the club in 2017 but is now back in training and, according to Guardiola, can still realise his potential.

"Yes, if he's fit he'll have success," the City boss said.

"He has a special quality. Right now I'm happy. I don't want to say any big words, but I'm satisfied because for two weeks, the day after training sessions, he feels good.

"He doesn't feel pain and that's good.

"I think he's training well. The people from Barcelona [where Mendy underwent surgery in November] told me he's working incredibly, like an animal. Hopefully he can maintain that because it's not one day, it's not one week. It's every day doing that."

Bournemouth's poor record against Manchester City is inspiring Eddie Howe to oversee an improvement and he believes halting Raheem Sterling will be vital to avoiding defeat.

The Cherries won promotion to the Premier League under Howe in 2015, yet they have never beaten City in the competition, losing all eight of their top-flight meetings by an aggregate score of 25-3.

But Howe says Bournemouth's dismal recent history in this fixture – with City set to visit on Sunday – does not cause him concern, instead providing a motivating factor.

"It inspires me," Howe told a news conference. "We've got to try to turn that around and use that record to inspire us in this game.

"I don't think we're the only team to suffer a bad record against Manchester City in recent years.

"They're an outstanding team and, every time we've played against them, we've come off the pitch learning more about ourselves and what we have to do to grow and become better.

"We try to embrace these challenges and not look at it fearfully.

"I think the two games against them last season were pretty strong [3-0 and 1-0 defeats]. We felt we were competitive without showing our best attributes, but we managed to limit their main strengths for spells of the games.

"They've just got quality and they can hurt you in any moment of the game and we've just come on the wrong side of the games against them, but I'd like to think we're getting closer.

"We know historically that, if we perform at our very best, we've got a chance of beating anybody and I think that's been the story of our Premier League journey."

Sterling has been a particularly problematic figure for Bournemouth, netting eight goals in seven meetings, along with a pair of assists.

The England forward hit the first Premier League hat-trick of his career in his first match against Bournemouth in 2015 and has since developed into a proven lscorer, netting four times in his opening two league games this term.

Howe said: "He's a player who's done very well against us in recent seasons and he's an outstanding talent.

"He's added a huge consistent run of goals to his game, which has made him even better, and he's certainly someone who we'll have to keep quiet.

"You look through their team though and they've got other players in the attacking positions that you're going to have to deal with, but we hope to keep him quiet and nullify his strengths. He's certainly in very good form at the moment."

Arsenal and Liverpool can boast 100 per cent records after two games of the new Premier League season, while four sides have failed to pick up a point from their opening pair of matches.

Aston Villa, Newcastle United, Southampton and Watford all suffered defeats on matchday two, while Manchester City and Chelsea dropped points at home.

With every team desperate to get into a winning habit, Opta's data helps us take a closer look at the patterns unfolding after the weekend's big games.

 

REDS WIN AGAIN TO EQUAL RODGERS' RECORD

Liverpool racked up their 11th consecutive top-flight victory with a 2-1 win at Southampton, equalling the club record set under Brendan Rodgers in April 2014.

Sadio Mane's third goal in four days sent Jurgen Klopp's men on their way just before half-time at St. Mary's and the Senegal international has scored 20 goals for the club in 2019 - eight more than Liverpool's next sharpest shooter, Mo Salah (12).

Roberto Firmino doubled the European champions' lead 19 minutes from time to ensure Danny Ings' late goal - courtesy of Adrian clearing the ball into his shin - was nothing more than a consolation as the Reds made sure they started the season with two wins for the second consecutive campaign, a feat they last achieved in 1993-94 and 1994-95.

Mane also became the first player to score in his first Premier League start of four consecutive seasons since Mark Viduka did so between 2002-03 and 2005-06.

CITY DROP POINTS DESPITE DELUGE OF SHOTS

Manchester City failed to win a Premier League match for the first time in 16 games, despite attempting 30 shots in their 2-2 draw with Tottenham at the Etihad Stadium.

The last time Spurs faced as many shots in a Premier League fixture was against Fulham (31) in November 2011, but they emerged with a point after Gabriel Jesus' late strike was ruled out by a VAR handball decision in the build-up.

Raheem Sterling put City ahead after 20 minutes with his fifth goal in four matches against Spurs at the Etihad, and, after Erik Lamela equalised for Tottenham, Sergio Aguero scored his 97th Premier League goal at the champions' home ground.

Only Thierry Henry (114 at Highbury), Wayne Rooney (101 at Old Trafford) and Alan Shearer (97 at St. James' Park) can boast equal or better scoring records at a single Premier League stadium than Aguero, who was teed up by Kevin De Bruyne's third assist in two league games - one more than he managed in the whole of last season.

But City's hopes of extending a Premier League winning streak that began on February 3 were undone when Lamela turned provider for Lucas Moura to equalise.

Lamela has scored and assisted for Tottenham in three different Premier League matches, all of them against Manchester clubs (twice against City, once against United).

PUKKI TREBLE EXTENDS MAGPIES' TRAVEL WOES

Newcastle United have won just two of their last 29 Premier League away matches in the month of August (D10 L17) after Teemu Pukki scored a hat-trick as Norwich City beat the Magpies 3-1 at Carrow Road.

The last time Newcastle won their first away league game of the season was in 2011-12 against Sunderland and they failed to cope with the threat of Finland international Pukki as Canaries boss Daniel Farke became the first Norwich manager to win his opening Premier League home game since Mike Walker in 1992.

Norwich fans had to think back 26 years to remember the last time they had a player score a Premier League hat-trick, Efan Ekoku doing so against Everton in September 1993.

Pukki, who also scored in Norwich's opening day defeat at Liverpool, has scored 33 league goals for the club since the start of last season, more than any other player across the top four tiers of English football.

LEICESTER LEAVE LAMPARD WINLESS IN THREE

Leicester City came from behind to draw 1-1 with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and make Frank Lampard the first Blues boss since Rafael Benitez (2012-13) to fail to win any of his first three games in charge.

After a Premier League opening day defeat at Manchester United and a UEFA Super Cup loss on penalties to Liverpool, Chelsea took the lead through Mason Mount's home debut goal only to be pegged back by Wilfred Ndidi's second-half equaliser.

Mount's opportunist strike made him the first English player to score on his first home Premier League appearance for Chelsea since Paul Hughes netted against Derby County in January 1997, while Ndidi's bullet header was his fifth goal in 90 Premier League appearances.

Ndidi scored from a corner by James Maddison, who has created 50 chances from set-pieces in the Premier League since the start of 2018-19 - at least six more than any other player in the division.

Manchester City were denied a last-gasp winner by VAR as Lucas Moura's goal secured a 2-2 draw for Tottenham, ending the Premier League champions' winning run.

Lucas scored 19 seconds after coming on from the bench to level things up at 2-2, but Gabriel Jesus thought he had settled Saturday's thriller in stoppage time. 

In scenes reminiscent of April's Champions League epic, however, City were denied a 16th straight league win when VAR spotted a handball by Aymeric Laporte.

City had hit the front through Raheem Sterling, with Sergio Aguero nudging the home side back ahead after Erik Lamela's equaliser.

And, with Bernardo Silva having hit the crossbar and Danny Rose making a goal-line clearance, City's misery was compounded when Jesus' would-be winner was chalked off.

Pep Guardiola sees no reason why Raheem Sterling cannot break through the 30-goal barrier for Manchester City this season.

England winger Sterling has started the new campaign in sparkling form, opening the scoring against Liverpool in the Community Shield before netting a hat-trick in last weekend's 5-0 demolition of West Ham.

The 24-year-old hit 17 Premier League goals last season and 25 in all competitions as City won an unprecedented domestic treble.

Sterling's West Ham treble brought up 50 top-flight goals in City colours, 38 of which have come since the start of the 2017-18 campaign.

Guardiola has no desire to set targets for his forward line but has no doubt the ex-Liverpool man's numbers can improve further.

"Yeah, hopefully. It will be good for him and for the team," he said, ahead of Saturday's keenly anticipated home game against Tottenham.

"When he's in front of the goal, he puts it in the net. So, he can do it, yeah. He scored 25 [last season] and 25 to 30 is only five goals. He can do it.

"But I don't know. I never spoke with Sergio [Aguero] or Gabriel [Jesus] or Raz, with any of the people up front, about what are their dreams and targets and these kinds of things. I don't know, honestly. They are happy when they are scoring goals.

"I think goals are a consequence of the way we play - their mood, how the team's playing, no injuries. 

"I wouldn't judge him if he scored 30 goals, or 35 or 20. When he scores goals, I'm happy. But if he does what he has to do for him and the team, it's enough."

 

Guardiola has experienced a number of enjoyable tussles with Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino, dating back to the Argentinian claiming his first senior coaching win at Espanyol with a victory over mighty city rivals Barcelona in 2009.

When that rivalry transferred from Catalonia to the Premier League in 2016, new City boss Guardiola won his first six straight top-flight games before his side were ransacked in a 2-0 defeat to Spurs at White Hart Lane.

City have not lost a league game to Tottenham since, winning the past four, but were dumped out of the Champions League in April when Pochettino's men prevailed in a dramatic quarter-final.

"About Tottenham, I think my colleague can speak better about his team," Guardiola said. "I said from the first day when we played at White Hart Lane and lost 2-0, I never said a wrong word about the capacity, quality and possibilities of this team, the manager and the club.

"I said many times, it is not necessary to repeat again. They are a strong team, a good team."

It was not hard to detect a slightly terse tone to the praise of a man who took umbridge at Guardiola labelling Tottenham as "the Harry Kane" team in 2017.

Asked how good a job Pochettino had done in north London, Guardiola indicated his praise might fall on deaf ears.

"Overwhelming, extraordinary, I said many, many times," he added,

"I don’t know if Pochettino receives many compliments as other managers like me, I don’t think so.

"My opinion about him is high standards, even if he doesn’t believe me. He’s a top, top, top, top manager."

Manchester City take on Tottenham in an early-season Premier League blockbuster on Saturday, pitting two of English football's surest things against one another.

Harry Kane typically stepped up when Spurs needed him on the opening weekend, netting a second-half brace to see off freshly promoted Aston Villa.

The fact City's 5-0 rout of West Ham featured a hat-trick from Raheem Sterling also felt somewhat par for the course.

Two leading lights in Gareth Southgate's England team, Kane and Sterling have operated at an increasingly prolific level over recent seasons – something that undoubtedly bodes well for the Three Lions with Euro 2020 on the horizon.

Here we look at the rise and rise of two phenomenal forwards.

 

2014-15

After doing his time in the loan ranks, Kane flourished during Mauricio Pochettino's first season in charge at Spurs. His 21 goals placed him second behind Sergio Aguero in the Golden Boot standings. Add in four assists and Kane averaged a goal involvement every 103 minutes.

The year after Liverpool's close-shave in a title race with City (sound familiar?), Sterling chipped in with seven goals and seven assists – a goal involvement every 218 minutes as Brendan Rodgers' Anfield tenure ran into problems and speculation mounted over the winger's future.

2015-16

Sterling sealed an acrimonious move to City and endured a mixed campaign. Six goals and just two assists meant his goal involvement average dropped to 241 minutes.

Kane, meanwhile, was going from strength to strength as he claimed the first of back-to-back Golden Boots.

He only supplemented his 25 goals with a solitary assist, however, for a goal involvement every 130 minutes. This placed him below Leicester City's title-winning heroes Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez in the overall league standings for goals and assists.

 

2016-17

Kane bolstered his all-round game and hit a sublime level as Spurs spent a large chunk of the campaign as Chelsea's most credible title challengers. He hit 29 goals and seven assists, giving him the most goal involvements in the division – two ahead of Alexis Sanchez – at an astonishing average of one every 70 minutes.

Sterling scored seven and set up six for a goal involvement every 193 minutes. But Pep Guardiola was in town and things were heading in the right direction.

 

2017-18

City stormed to the title with a record-breaking haul of 100 points, made possible by a succession of crucial late strikes by Sterling. He doubled his previous best Premier League campaign to finish with 18 goals, while 11 assists meant he was involved in a goal every 89 minutes.

That edged Kane's average of 96, but 30 goals and two assists meant the Spurs star hit greater numbers overall, before collecting the World Cup Golden Boot playing in an England attack alongside Sterling that reached the semi-finals of Russia 2018.

2018-19

Sterling and City retained their remarkable levels of consistency to go back-to-back, the 24-year-old scoring 17 and laying on a further 10. His 27 goal involvements were the fifth-best in the division.

Despite an injury-interrupted campaign, Kane also scored 17 times and assisted four. His excellent goal involvement average of 116 minutes was shy of Sterling's superb 103.

Pep Guardiola does not believe the Premier League title race will be contested between just Manchester City and Liverpool, adamant Tottenham will be challengers.

Champions City host Mauricio Pochettino's side on Saturday, with both teams having got their respective campaigns off to a winning start on the opening weekend.

Phil Foden's early goal handed City a 1-0 win in their last meeting with Spurs, which came three days after Tottenham – with the help of VAR – had edged their way past Guardiola's side in the Champions League quarter-finals.

City's 5-0 triumph over West Ham last time out has led some critics to suggest the back-to-back champions will dominate once more this season, though Guardiola does not buy into the argument, insisting Spurs are among those capable of mounting a challenge.

When asked at the pre-match news conference if he had learned anything from his recent meetings with Spurs, Guardiola said: "How good they are.

"I have spoken many times about Tottenham, you know my words and my opinion on them. They're the second best team in Europe. For me, that's enough.

"Since I came here to England, every season they were a real contender. First season, finish second. Last two seasons, always they were there. Always they were tough, tough games.

"All of the [big six are title contenders]. I'm impressed with how Chelsea played against tough teams like United and Liverpool.

"They didn't win but I am surprised at how well they played. Frank Lampard's team. We saw United, the quality they have up front with a new mood.

"Arsenal bought good players, with [Nicolas] Pepe, David Luiz and people in front like [Alexandre] Lacazette, [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang. [Dani] Ceballos is incredible. A top player, quality. Tottenham are the same. They are really good contenders."

Raheem Sterling shined in City's demolition of West Ham, scoring a hat-trick while VAR chalked off a Gabriel Jesus goal which the 24-year-old assisted.

Despite Sterling having picked up where he left off last term, though, Guardiola has demanded even more from the England forward.

"There are many [great players], he is one," Guardiola said.

"Look at the top six teams and you will find many, many players. The Premier League has incredible players.

"We have many, but Raheem still. I didn't watch all the other games but he's playing so good from the beginning, being clinical, but we want more, he wants more. It was just the first game of the Premier League season."

Rodri and Tanguy Ndombele made their Premier League debuts on the opening weekend of the new season and two of the division's biggest new arrivals will go head-to-head when Manchester City take on Tottenham.

Ndombele came to Tottenham's rescue against Aston Villa, his equaliser paving the way for a late Harry Kane double as Mauricio Pochettino's side came from behind to win 3-1.

Two-time defending champions City, meanwhile, had a far easier outing against West Ham – Raheem Sterling scoring a hat-trick in a 5-0 triumph, with club-record signing Rodri fitting straight into Pep Guardiola's engine room.

Now, the two midfielders will do battle on the pitch on Saturday, as two of the Premier League's elite clubs lock horns in Manchester.

 

CITY TO CONTINUE STERLING RECORD AGAINST SPURS?

Sterling was outstanding in the Premier League in the 2018-19 season, scoring 17 goals and providing 10 assists.

The 24-year-old thought he had sealed a magnificent Champions League victory over Pochettino's side back in April, only for his stoppage-time goal to be disallowed by VAR, though Phil Foden's header ensured City got their revenge in the league three days later.

England forward Sterling picked up where he left off with a sublime hat-trick against West Ham, with Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero also finding the net.

Sterling has been involved in six goals in his last six games for City against Spurs in all competitions (five goals and one assist), including netting four in his last three meetings with them at the Etihad.

City have won their last four Premier League games against Tottenham, who looked set to be frustrated by Villa in their opening fixture.

Spurs amassed 31 shots in total – more than any other Premier League side on matchday one – though it was through the unlikely source of Ndombele that Tottenham finally restored parity.

Kane did the rest, securing the points by striking twice. Though the England captain failed to score in any of his first 14 Premier League games in August, he has since netted in his last three top-flight outings in the month.

City, of course, have a deadly striker of their own. Aguero has scored 96 league goals at the Etihad - one more will see him go joint-third with Alan Shearer (St James' Park) for the most Premier League goals scored at a specific stadium.

HEAD TO HEAD: RODRI V TANGUY NDOMBELE

Tottenham are not known for spending big money on new players, but Pochettino received the backing his managerial efforts have deserved when chairman Daniel Levy paid up for France midfielder Ndombele.

Spurs paid Lyon a reported £55million (€62m) to secure the 22-year-old, who made an instant impact for his new employers.

City, meanwhile, brought in a club-record signing of their own, Rodri arriving from Atletico Madrid as Fernandinho's heir apparent for a cool sum of £62.8m (€70m). 

While Rodri will likely be tasked with shielding City's defence, Ndombele will almost certainly be given more freedom at Spurs, as was the case at the weekend.

Ndombele had two shots against Villa and created one chance. However, Rodri made more passes (72 to 55), with a passing accuracy of 90.3 per cent, with Ndombele managing an 83.5 per cent accuracy.

Tottenham's man made more tackles, though surprisingly it was Rodri who made more successful dribbles – three compared to Ndombele's zero.

Looking back on last season, Ndombele was more creative for Lyon, making 47 chances across 34 league games, compared to Rodri's 17 for Atleti. The former also had seven assists, while his Spanish counterpart managed just one, despite making 1,031 passes in the opposition’s half.

FORM GUIDE

City lost just once in pre-season – to Wolves on penalties – and after a shoot-out win over Liverpool in the Community Shield, hardly broke sweat against West Ham.

Guardiola's side remarkably won their last 14 league games of the campaign last season and the victory over West Ham means they are just three wins short of matching their record winning streak of 18 from 2017.

Spurs' season ended on a low note with their Champions League defeat to Liverpool, but they enjoyed notable wins over Juventus and Real Madrid in pre-season, as well as a shoot-out triumph against Bayern Munich.

Their opening fixture against Villa proved a tricky one but they eventually found a breakthrough. It was just their second win in their last six matches in the Premier League.

HISTORY SAYS...

Tottenham have taken just four points from their last nine Premier League visits to the Etihad Stadium, losing on seven occasions.

City, meanwhile, have not lost their opening home league match in a top-flight season since 1989-90 – they are unbeaten in 24 matches since that reverse against Southampton.

Spurs lost their last six away Premier League matches of the 2018-19 season. Not since 2000 have they lost seven in a row on the road.

Pochettino was, however, the first opposing manager to win away from home against Guardiola in a league match, doing so in February 2009 with Espanyol when Pep was in charge of Barcelona.

The only manager to win two away league games against Guardiola? Jose Mourinho, of course!

Manchester City started the defence of their Premier League title with a resounding 5-0 win over West Ham.

Raheem Sterling was in sparkling form, plundering a hat-trick, with Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero also on target in a game that suggests the rest of the league will have their work cut out stopping Pep Guardiola's side marching to a third consecutive title.

Liverpool, who pushed City so close last season, also picked up where they left off, scoring four first-half goals to defeat promoted Norwich City 4-1 at Anfield.

Marcus Rashford scored twice as Manchester United thumped Chelsea 4-0 at Old Trafford, while Harry Kane was at his ruthless best as Tottenham came from behind to see off Aston Villa 3-1.

 

STERLING TREBLE SETS CITY ON THEIR WAY

City laid down an ominous marker in their opening game of the season, sweeping aside West Ham with apparent ease.

The result means they have won their last 15 Premier League games – three short of their own record of 18 set between August and December in 2017.

Central to their success was Sterling, who became just the eighth player to score a hat-trick on the opening weekend of a Premier League campaign, and the first since Didier Drogba in 2010.

Jesus was a surprise starter ahead of Aguero but the Brazilian repaid his manager's faith with the opener – his 13th goal in his last 10 starts.

West Ham, meanwhile, have now lost their last four opening fixtures to a Premier League season, including each of the last three by an aggregate score of 0-13.

LIVERPOOL'S FIRST-HALF BLITZ DOWNS SORRY CANARIES

Norwich experienced a baptism of fire on their return to the top flight on Friday, with Liverpool racing into a four-goal lead by half-time.

The Reds scored three goals in the opening 30 minutes for the first time since February 2014 when they were 4-0 up after just 20 minutes against Arsenal.

One of those goalscorers, Mohamed Salah, extended his impressive opening-day record, which has seen him score in Liverpool's first Premier League match of the past three seasons.

Trent Alexander-Arnold was typically impressive at right-back and his assist for Divock Origi's goal means he is the first player to register an assist in five consecutive top-flight games since Mesut Ozil in 2015.

It should perhaps come as little surprise that Norwich left Merseyside with nothing given their woeful record on the opening day – they have won their first match of the league season in just one of the last 17 seasons.

UNITED RUN RIOT AGAINST BLUES

Manchester United's resounding Premier League win over Chelsea on Sunday was their biggest top-flight victory over the Blues in 54 years.

United were not at their best against Frank Lampard's side but they proved lethal in front of goal, with strikes from Rashford (2), Anthony Martial and Daniel James enough to secure all three points.

The last time the Red Devils beat Chelsea by such a margin in the league was in March 1965 under Matt Busby, when they also won 4-0.

As well as suffering the joint-heaviest defeat of his brief managerial career to date, Lampard was dealt the biggest reversal by a Chelsea boss in their first game in charge since Danny Blanchflower oversaw a 7-2 loss at Middlesbrough in December 1978.

The defeat also means Chelsea ended a day in the Premier League relegation zone for the first time since September 2000.

KANE COMES TO SPURS' RESCUE AGAIN

Tottenham once again were indebted to Kane's clinical finishing as they claimed all three points against Villa.

The England captain's two late goals mean he has now scored six goals in as many Premier League games against the Villains.

Mauricio Pochettino's side had earlier cancelled out John McGinn's opener courtesy of Tanguy Ndombele's strike from distance, making the Frenchman the first player to score on his Spurs debut since Eric Dier in August 2014.

Defeat for Villa, meanwhile, continued Jack Grealish's unfortunate run, which has seen him lose each of his last 19 Premier League games – the longest run of consecutive defeats suffered by a player in the history of the competition.

Pep Guardiola warned Manchester City and hat-trick scorer Raheem Sterling have room for improvement following the 5-0 thrashing of West Ham.

The Premier League champions cruised to a resounding victory in their season opener at the London Stadium on Saturday, shifting through the gears at will in a four-goal second half.

Star forward Sterling grabbed three and looked in irrepressible form, while new signing Rodri and the returning Riyad Mahrez shone in possession.

"In terms of five goals, it is the perfect start, yes," Guardiola told a news conference.

"But the performance of the first half was far away from where we want to be. The other [half] is normal.

"We are still not in the top condition and I knew that we missed and lost a lot of simple balls, so it's so difficult to have a good tempo of our game.

"Today Raheem scored and Bernardo [Silva] is going to score and it was an incredible performance today from Riyad Mahrez, an incredible level.

"I think in all of the pre-season games [Sterling] scored goals from the beginning, so every single game he scored a goal.

"But in the first half, he can do better."

Gabriel Jesus scored City's first in the 25th minute and would have had a brace had Sterling not strayed offside by the barest of margins in the lead-up, an indiscretion spotted by VAR.

Technology also played a part in allowing Sergio Aguero to retake and convert a spot-kick that was initially saved, while the visitors were made to wait for confirmation of Sterling's second goal following prolonged analysis.

Guardiola said players and fans alike will have to adapt during VAR's debut season in the Premier League.

"In that period where you are celebrating, you have to be calm and be strong," he said.

"It is going to change the dynamic not just for the team but for the spectators. The spectators were quiet, and after [Jesus' goal was disallowed], they were looking and thinking 'oh, we can celebrate'.

"It will be a good lesson for our future, but it is what it is."

Raheem Sterling became just the eighth player to score a hat-trick on the opening weekend of a season in the Premier League era.

The Manchester City forward achieved the rare feat in a thumping 5-0 away win against West Ham.

Here, we take a look at the other players who have registered trebles on the first weekend of a Premier League season.


MICK QUINN: Arsenal 0-3 Coventry City, August 14 1993

Bobby Gould's Sky Blues stunned Arsenal at a revamped, newly all-seater Highbury, on the back of a remarkable treble from former Newcastle striker Quinn. The highlight goal was Quinn's second strike, a delicious effort into the top-left corner after smart work from Roy Wegerle.

MATT LE TISSIER: Southampton 3-4 Nottingham Forest, August 19 1995

At The Dell, another stadium from Premier League history, Le Tissier scored two penalties and a late free-kick but still finished on the losing side. A Forest team inspired by two-goal Bryan Roy took the points on the south coast.

FABRIZIO RAVANELLI: Middlesbrough 3-3 Liverpool, August 17 1996

Ravanelli was a £7million statement signing by ambitious Middlesbrough, joining within weeks of scoring for Juventus in the Champions League final. His Premier League debut for Bryan Robson's team was almost perfect, with the 'White Feather' cracking in a penalty, a poacher's finish and a low, skidding strike to secure a draw.

KEVIN CAMPBELL: Coventry City 0-3 Nottingham Forest, August 17 1996

Campbell's treble at Highfield Road was overshadowed by Ravanelli's feat at the Riverside on the same day but two slick finishes and a delightful third goal all of his own making meant it was a day to remember for Forest's former Arsenal striker.

DION DUBLIN: Coventry City 3-2 Chelsea, August 9 1997

After Quinn four years earlier, Dublin was another Coventry opening-day hero. A pair of headers rocked Ruud Gullit's Chelsea before Dublin took advantage of a loose header from defender Franck Leboeuf to drill in a late winner for Gordon Strachan's men.

GABRIEL AGBONLAHOR: Aston Villa 4-2 Manchester City, August 17 2008

Hardly the most prolific of Villa strikers, Agbonlahor nevertheless grabbed the first opening-day Premier League hat-trick for 11 years. He scored with his right foot, left foot and head as the 21-year-old tore apart City at Villa Park.

DIDIER DROGBA: Chelsea 6-0 West Brom, August 14 2010

Chelsea began the defence of their title in six-hitting style at Stamford Bridge, with a free-kick, a close-range finish and a deflected strike seeing Drogba earn the match ball. Carlo Ancelotti's Blues also won 6-0 on the following weekend, beating Wigan.

RAHEEM STERLING: West Ham 0-5 Manchester City, August 10 2019

England forward Sterling showed shimmering opening-weekend form as he and City carved open West Ham repeatedly at London Stadium. He slotted his first from Kevin De Bruyne's pass, lobbed a second and slid home a third in stoppage time as the champions cruised to their handsome win.

The good news for West Ham is Manchester City's visit to London Stadium is over and done with.

Raheem Sterling starred with a hat-trick as Pep Guardiola's reigning champions began their quest for a third consecutive Premier League title with an imposing 5-0 victory.

Playing their home games at the venue that hosted the 2012 Olympic Games has plenty of benefits for West Ham, but hosting City is not one of them.

Guardiola's men now boast an aggregate advantage of 22-1 in their games in Stratford. Here we look back at some painful hammerings for the Hammers.

January 6, 2017 - West Ham 0 Manchester City 5 (FA Cup)

City were faltering midway through their first season under Guardiola but they swatted aside Slaven Bilic's West Ham, with Yaya Toure opening the scoring from the penalty spot. Havard Nordtveit's own goal and David Silva's tap-in made it 3-0 before half-time, leaving Sergio Aguero and John Stones to complete the rout

February 1, 2017 – West Ham 0 Manchester City 4 (Premier League)

A month later, City were back at London Stadium and still licking their wounds from a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Everton. They remained too strong for Bilic's men as Kevin De Bruyne established a 17th-minute lead and orchestrated a blistering attacking display, with Silva also on target before Gabriel Jesus scored his first City goal. Midway through the second half, Toure again made no mistake from 12 yards.

April 29, 2018 – West Ham 1 Manchester City 4 (Premier League)

Far from the uncertain outfit West Ham had a look at the previous year, City were already crowned Premier League champions for 2017-18 and in full flight on this occasion. Leroy Sane's effort and an own goal from former City favourite Pablo Zabaleta had City in control and, although Aaron Cresswell pulled it back to 2-1, Jesus restored the two-goal cushion before Fernandinho wrapped up victory as Guardiola's men hungrily chased down their historic 100-point haul.

November 24, 2018 – West Ham 0 Manchester City 4 (Premier League)

This was a tale of usual suspects for ex-City boss Manuel Pellegrini as Silva and Sterling scored from close range. Sane joined Silva on three goals at London Stadium by full-time – a stunning piece of skill leaving Fabian Balbuena prone to make it 3-0. Sane's second in injury time did not stop Guardiola describing his team as "quite lucky"

August 10, 2019 – West Ham 0 Manchester City 5 (Premier League)

City were similarly patchy in Saturday's first half, which was illuminated by Jesus' clever near-post finish after Riyad Mahrez and Kyle Walker cut West Ham apart down the right. De Bruyne was a familiar provider to set Sterling on the way to a fine treble. VAR seemed to be the England winger's most capable adversary, while technology also granted Aguero a second go at beating Lukasz Fabianski from the penalty spot.

Raheem Sterling says the correct use of VAR in Manchester City's crushing win over West Ham negated the frustration over foiled goal celebrations.

City star Sterling scored three times as the Premier League champions commenced their title defence with an eventful 5-0 victory on Saturday.

The England international would also have registered an assist had the newly introduced technology not found him to be in a marginally offside position when squaring for an unmarked Gabriel Jesus in the second half.

VAR later worked to the away side's benefit, enabling Sergio Aguero to score from a retaken penalty after Declan Rice encroached into the area to clear following Lukasz Fabianski's save from the initial attempt.

"It's a bit difficult during the game because you want the goal to stand," Sterling told BT Sport when asked about Jesus' disallowed strike.

"But at the end of the day, as long as the decision is right, that's all that matters."

Sterling has now tallied four goals in his two competitive appearances this term, having netted against Liverpool during last weekend's Community Shield.

The 24-year-old believes his superb start is the product of a dedicated focus on finishing in training.

"It's something I'm trying to improve on," Sterling said. "With the players we've got here - Gabriel, Sergio, Riyad [Mahrez] - there's competition in training every day.

"It's just a joy to put the ball in the back of the net and everyone here is trying to do that to help the team.

"It was quite difficult in the first half to get the cobwebs off.

"The breathing was heavy so some of the touches were sloppy, but once the team got into a rhythm you can find the passes easier and once that second goal went in things went a lot smoother and a lot more chances came."

And so it begins. Where is the game? Has it gone already?

After a ragged first-half showing punctuated by Gabriel Jesus' superbly crafted opener, Manchester City were hitting their stride at London Stadium.

Kevin De Bruyne's typically immaculate throughball allowed Raheem Sterling to double the advantage for Pep Guardiola's Premier League champions and West Ham were cut to ribbons once more as David Silva and Sterling left Gabriel Jesus with a tap-in.

But wait… what?

As both teams prepared to restart, referee Mike Dean was informed Sterling – or, more accurately, the tip of Sterling's left shoulder was offside. No goal.

What followed was an example of the ripples we might expect to see, now VAR has been dropped into the Premier League pond – the choppy waters caused now largely becalmed in Europe's other major leagues.

In the final analysis, City coasted to a leisurely 5-0 win, but in the immediate aftermath of the disallowed goal, their composure deserted them.

Television replays showed Sterling telling Dean exactly what he thought of the call and a home crowd, who were operating at a hush moments earlier, roared West Ham forward.

Issa Diop saw his header drop on to the roof of the City goal, in which Ederson made a stunning double save to maintain a two-goal advantage.

Contentious decisions changing the momentum of games by affecting the composure of those involved is nothing new in football. But those moments normally come through a sense of injustice due to anger at an officiating mistake.

City's second-half wobble jarred because it was caused by a decision correct to the millimetre after an incident that prompted no complaint from any of the 22 players on the field.

This did not feel like the game being made better by technology. The same could be said for Sterling's lengthy wait to have the second goal of his hat-trick confirmed, nor Sergio Aguero getting a second go at beating Lukasz Fabianski form the penalty spot due to Declan Rice encroaching and clearing the rebound.

"It's a bit difficult during the game because you want your goal to stand," Sterling told BT Sport. "But at the end of the day, if the decision's right, that's all that matters."

The Premier League must hope fans are just as magnanimous. They shouldn't hold their breath.

Saturday's early game did not even delve into the murky world of interpretation – foul or no foul – which is where you'd have expected the fun to begin.

The decisions Dean had assistance with were absolutes, a matter of lines and where players stood in relation to them.

But, even though this should be simple – like whether a tennis serve is out or an lbw call in cricket has pitched outside leg stump – football has never operated to such degrees of accuracy.

VAR is subjecting the laws of the game to a scrutiny they were never designed to withstand and, if technology is to be accepted by fans, this is where changes should be.

"It looked level", "borderline" and other such accepted vagaries have to be obliterated along with all other shades of grey.

Perhaps, in terms of offside, there should be a move to drawing the line where "daylight" appears between opponents, as opposed to any part of the body a player can use to score – the factor that did for Sterling.

But defenders would be entitled to argue this skews the balance further in favour of attackers, who have been shown to get the benefit of repeatedly replayed penalty incidents and hardline interpretations of the handball rule.

The technology is only as effective as the rules it is being used to help implement. Right now, those do not feel up to standard.

Raheem Sterling's hat-trick inspired a 5-0 rout of West Ham as Manchester City commenced their quest for a third straight Premier League title in style in a contest where VAR played a prominent role.

The England star struck a sublime second-half treble after Gabriel Jesus prodded the champions ahead in the 25th minute of a one-sided affair at the London Stadium.

Sterling's well-worked first goal came six minutes after the interval and though a VAR review found he was offside before Jesus tapped in, he did find the net again 15 minutes from time to put City beyond the Hammers' reach.

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.

Sterling was not to be denied the match ball, though, as he raced clean through in added time to compound an embarrassing eighth straight defeat for West Ham in competitive meetings with Pep Guardiola's men.

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