EPORTS of the demise of Yaya Toure are greatly exaggerated.
The big Ivorian has been written offff, questioned, slated and painted as aman on the threshold of the exit door in recent weeks.
But he reminded everyone that, when his head is screwed on right, he is still a player who can take a game in the grip of his mighty paws and squeeze it until the opposition pips squeak.
He was not alone. ThThere were others in this City team whose right to wear the sky blue have been questioned in recent times – andmost of them rose to the challenge and made a statement.
No- one should get too carried away as West Ham looked like a team already dreaming of the hotspots of Dubai, or Dominique, or wherever footballers spend their summers these days.
But City needed a dominant display, needed to remind themselves that they ARE still champions, and can still play quality football.
They did just that, and the men with questionmarks hanging over their heads turned them into exclamation marks.
Fernando and Eliaquim Mangala have both been branded flops, but they stepped up and put in their brightest performances for a long time.
Fernando provided the cover that allowed Yaya Toure leeway to stride forward and create mayhem, and Mangala in behind him was strong, resolute, and winning the one- on- one duels that he lost too frequently earlier in the season.
People have also written off Jesus Navas and, interestingly, he was up against a left- back, Aaron Cresswell, who has been linked with the Blues.
ThThe fact that he destroyed Cresswell, forcing James Collins to score an own goal and then linked brilliantly with Sergio Aguero to set up the second goal, spoke of his unfulfilled promise.
With the Blues turning on some lovely football, right on cue, the lowering grey clouds parted, and a bright beamof sunshine flflooded the Etihad Stadium, as if ordered by City’s events department. ThThe weather reflflflected the mood as the Blues went into this game in a grey mood, having slumped to fourth place in the league, left looking over their shoulder at chasing Liverpool, and seeing Arsenal and United scooting into the top three automatic qualification places.
Now they face Aston Villa next week, in another home game, the day before United travel to Everton.
If the Blues win that one, they leapfrog back above the Reds into third place, and the world always looks a better place to City fans froma viewpoint above their rivals.
It is too early to trumpet that City are back – they need to produce this kind of display against better, more committed opponents fifirst – but it is certainly the start of their rehabilitation.