Manchester City whips West Ham in F.A. Cup match

AP

Manchester City swept aside West Ham 5-0 to reach the fourth round of the F.A. Cup on Friday, bringing an upbeat end to a testing week for coach Pep Guardiola.

Midfielder Yaya Toure’s penalty, Norwegian defender Havard Nordtveit’s own goal and a strike from midfielder David Silva made it 3-0 by halftime. Top scorer Sergio Aguero and defender John Stones added goals after the break to give Guardiola the easiest of introductions to world soccer’s oldest knockout competition.

As well as a handsome win, it was welcome relief for Guardiola — the ex-Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach, who is still adapting to his first season in England.

He has been facing criticism following some erratic recent performances in the Premier League. City scraped past a gritty Burnley side 2-1 at home on Monday, following on from a 1-0 defeat away to title rival Liverpool — City’s fourth league defeat of the campaign.

This rout vindicated Guardiola’s decision to field a strong lineup, and he clearly showed he is taking the competition seriously by recalling two of his best players in Silva and Aguero.

West Ham, by contrast, left star player Dimitri Payet on the bench and immediately found itself under pressure against a City side which is fourth in the Premier League, seven points behind leader Chelsea after 20 games.