Goals from Ilkay Gundogan and Fernandinho guided Manchester City through a snowstorm and up to second in the Premier League with a 2-1 victory over West Ham at Etihad Stadium.
Gundogan's first-half tap-in (33) was the difference between the two sides at the interval, which was heavily extended as City's ground staff valiantly cleared the playing surface of the deluge of snow that had made the end of the first period virtually unplayable.
The adverse conditions and lengthy half-time break prevented a free-flowing second half but City kept West Ham at arm's length throughout before wrapping the victory when substitute Fernandinho scored (90) with one of his first touches within three minutes of coming on.
West Ham, who fell to back-to-back Premier League defeats for the first time since April, had the final word when Manuel Lanzini rifled a stunning effort in off the post (90+4), but it was mere consolation on a day when the champions' quality and the conditions frustrated David Moyes' side.
"I think the groundkeepers, the men who took care of the pitch, were the men of the match," said City boss Pep Guardiola. "They did an incredible job so we could play the game today."
City's fifth consecutive victory in all competitions lifts them to second in the Premier League, level with leaders Chelsea on 29 points, while West Ham remain six points further back in fourth.
Man City: Ederson (6), Walker (6), Dias (6), Laporte (7), Cancelo (7), Gundogan (8), Rodri (6), Bernardo Silva (6), Mahrez (7), Jesus (6), Sterling (6).
Subs: Fernandinho (7).
West Ham: Fabianski (5), Johnson (6), Zouma (5), Dawson (5), Cresswell (6), Soucek (6), Rice (7), Fornals (6), Masuaku (5), Benrahma (5), Antonio (5).
Subs: Coufal (5), Lanzini (6), Bowen (5).
Man of the Match: Ilkay Gundogan
- How the teams lined up | Match stats
- Premier League results | Table
- Get Sky Sports | Live football on Sky Sports
City's class tells in testing conditions
The snow which fell heavily in the run up to the game at the Etihad was cleared before kick-off, and West Ham seized the moment, testing City in the first half.
The Hammers' confident start should have been rewarded with the opening goal inside six minutes but, having been taken by surprise by Michail Antonio's driven pass into the area, Said Benrahma fluffed his lines as City scrambled the ball clear.
City responded immediately, with Kyle Walker sending a long-range drive flashing past the post, but their best early chance came from Gundogan's 16th-minute corner when Aymeric Laporte's glancing header clipped the frame of the West Ham goal.
- Riyad Mahrez, Gabriel Jesus and Ruben Dias returned as Man City made three changes from the win over Everton.
- Arthur Masuaku replaced Jarrod Bowen in West Ham's only change from the defeat at Wolves.
A minute later, City had the ball in the net, only for Riyad Mahrez's effort, after a defensive West Ham lapse, to be correctly ruled out for offside. In-form Raheem Sterling whistled a shot shortly before the half-hour mark, but City's pressure finally told on 33 minutes.
Mahrez was released into acres of space down the right from where his driven cross deflected into the path of Gundogan, who stroked home.
The snowfall intensified as half-time approached, making visibility difficult and the pitch almost unplayable. City's quality continued to shine, however, with their late siege on the West Ham goal nearly delivering a second, but Ben Johnson's inspired goal-line clearance denied Gabriel Jesus before Mahrez rattled the post again after Joao Cancelo's long-range drive was parried by Lukasz Fabianski.
The interval allowed ground staff to race on and clear the pitch. The restart had to be delayed as all the snow was removed but, with the weather relenting, their operation was successful.
City had a big chance when play resumed as Sterling broke clear to set up Jesus, but the Brazilian was twice denied, first by Fabianski and then by a brave goal-line clearance from Aaron Cresswell.
Cresswell collided with the goalpost as he stretched to make his interception and, after several minutes of treatment and a brief attempt to play on, was forced off.
As time wore on, West Ham began to sense an opportunity to grab a draw but Ederson produced a superb save to keep out Declan Rice's long-range effort.
Fernandinho then eased City's nerves in the final minute before Lanzini netted with almost the final kick of the game to send the West Ham fans on their long journey home with something to cheer about.
City haunt Hammers again - Match stats
- Manchester City have won 11 of their last 13 matches against West Ham in all competitions, losing none. Over this period they have scored 35 goals against the Hammers while conceding only six in return.
- West Ham have lost consecutive Premier League games for the first time since April against Newcastle United and Chelsea.
- West Ham average just 0.25 points per game at the Etihad Stadium (four points from 16 visits), their worst record at any stadium they have visited at least 10 times in the Premier League.
- West Ham have taken just five points from 78 available in Premier League away games against reigning champions (W1 D2 L23), with their one victory coming at Manchester United in December 2001.
What the managers said…
Man City boss Pep Guardiola: "The number of chances we created, especially in the first half, in the conditions that both teams played in - it was a huge victory for us, for the effort of the players and the performance. We didn't concede much. We defended the set-pieces really well and counter-attacks we controlled.
"We could maybe make another speed, another rhythm but weather conditions didn't allow us to do it and it was a good performance from us. I think the groundkeepers, the men who took care of the pitch, were the men of the match. They did an incredible job so we could play the game today."
West Ham manager David Moyes: "The real quality at the end was the difference. Man City are full of quality and good players. We did lots of good things but when we got the chances to create a good opening or finish, we didn't take it. You don't come to Man City and get loads of them, but we did our best to get some.
"I hoped it might have helped us and it would affect them more than it did us, but when they got the goal the worst of the snow came down. If anything we lost our concentration a little bit and the visuals for the ball were difficult. It was difficult conditions, but I was happy to play the game. We all wanted it to be played."
Man of the Match - Ilkay Gundogan
Ilkay Gundogan has scored 15 non-penalty goals in 37 Premier League appearances since the start of last season, the most of any midfielder. Gundogan has scored 16 goals in his last 31 Premier League matches for Manchester City - his previous 16 goals in Europe's big-five leagues were spread across 138 matches.
Man City go to Aston Villa on Wednesday evening in the Premier League at 8.15pm, while West Ham host Brighton at 7.30pm on the same evening. Free highlights from both games will be available on the Sky Sports website, App and YouTube channel.