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Premier League

Raheem Sterling hits hat-trick as Manchester City thrash West Ham 5-0

Raheem Sterling celebrates his hat-trick against West Ham United in the Premier League | IAN KINGTON / AFP

Raheem Sterling got Manchester City’s title defence off to a flying start with a hat-trick at West Ham as VAR made its mark in the Premier League for the first time.

Gabriel Jesus struck in the first half and Sergio Aguero came off the bench to score a penalty in a thumping 5-0 win for the champions.

However, City were denied another after a goal was disallowed by VAR for the first time in the Premier League, when Sterling was ruled offside by a matter of millimetres.

Then VAR ruled Aguero’s spot-kick, initially saved by Lukasz Fabianski, should be retaken as Declan Rice had encroached into the penalty area. The Argentinian did not make the same mistake twice.

And while Pep Guardiola will undoubtedly be delighted by the ruthless streak shown by his side in the East end, the consistency and solidity of his back line can be epitomised by one man.

Zinchenko may not be the household name City fans have become accustomed to in recent years, but the 22-year-old has won all 23 of the games he has played in the Premier League.

The Ukrainian officially has the best 100% win record in Premier League history, not bad for a £1.7million signing made three years ago.

Gaurdiola clearly rates the makeshift left-back, who signed a long-term contract before the start of the season.

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