The two teams were distances apart last season yet the rapid improvement made by the hosts was evident throughout as they gave Manuel Pellegrini’s men a seriously tough test.
Enner Valencia and Sergio Aguero grabbed a brace each, though Etherington felt the main positives for West Ham were their overall performance, Sam Byram’s debut and who else but Dimitri Payet.
Despite not getting on the scoresheet, Payet illustrated just how important he is in east London as he contributed with two shots, two key passes and seven successful take-ons.
The France international spent a period of time on the side-lines with injury earlier this season and his absence coincided with a dip in form for West Ham, including an eight-game winless streak.
Now he is back to full strength, Slaven Bilic’s men have rediscovered their attacking prowess and they look more than capable of challenging for a top-four spot come the end of the season.
The draw with City leaves the Hammers in sixth position in the table, six points behind Tottenham Hotspur in fourth.