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Rolling Man City leaves it late again

The Associated Press

Manchester City’s David Silva scores the winning goal late in the second half against West Ham United at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester on Sunday.

The Associated PressMANCHESTER (AP) — Maybe they’ll start calling it “Pep Time.”

For the third time in a week, Manchester City left it late to secure a 2-1 victory in the Premier League and set a record-equaling winning run stretching back to Aug. 26.

This time, it was David Silva coming to the rescue.

Taking over Raheem Sterling’s role as City’s last-gasp match-winner, Silva prodded home a volley from Kevin De Bruyne’s cross in the 83rd minute to end the stubborn resistance of West Ham at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

Late goals are becoming a habit for City. In the past 12 days, Sterling has scored an 88th-minute winner against Feyenoord in the Champions League and then goals in the 84th minute and the sixth minute of injury time in victories over Huddersfield and Southampton, respectively, in the league.

There was a certain inevitability about City’s winner against West Ham, just like there was when Manchester United scored so many match-clinching goals in the final minutes of Alex Ferguson’s long tenure as manager. It’s how the phrase “Fergie Time” was spawned.

“I heard about the ‘Fergie Time,’” City manager Pep Guardiola said. “I was not here in that period, but of course you have to have that. What we show in the last games is we never give up.

“If we can take something about the ‘Fergie Time,’ it is welcome. A pleasure.”

This was a 13th straight win in the Premier League, matching a record in a single season set previously by Chelsea (2016-17) and Arsenal (2001-02). The next milestone is 14 straight wins, which was achieved by Arsenal in 2002 but across two seasons.

The team that can stop City from matching the record is its neighbor, United. The Manchester derby is up next for City on Sunday and there are eight points separating the two rivals at the top.

“It means we have done 39 points in a row. That is a lot,” said Guardiola, whose team is yet to lose in any competition this season. “You see how they run and how they fight, that’s why we are so proud again.”

Just like against Huddersfield and Southampton, City’s players had to pick their way through a packed defense to keep the winning run going.

West Ham had nine outfield players in a bloc outside its area and saw set-pieces as its best way of troubling City at the other end. That was the source of its goal in the 44th minute, Angelo Ogbonna heading in Aaron Cresswell’s cross following a short-corner routine.

Nicolas Otamendi scrambled in the equalizer in the 57th and City piled on the pressure before De Bruyne sent over a perfectly weighted cross that Silva volleyed in on the stretch.

David Moyes is still to register a win in four matches since taking over as manager of West Ham, which is in next-to-last place.

“I really want the football to be attacking,” Moyes said, “but we are playing against a team that we can hardly get the ball (off), so what are you going to do?”Speech

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