Manchester City v West Ham United – Premier League – Etihad Stadium – Report
Manchester City 2-1 West Ham United
West Ham United put up a gallant display against Premier League champions, Manchester City but ultimately fell short on a snowy afternoon at the Etihad Stadium.
Undoubtedly, West Ham, under the guidance of David Moyes, are edging closer to the top table. Europa League progress coupled with notable performances against City, in the Carabao Cup, and Liverpool in the Premier League provided sufficient evidence. However, the Scotsman remained mindful of the gap that remained between his charges and Pep Guardiola’s men: “We knocked them out, didn’t beat them but beat them on penalties – We also went up there last year and showed signs,” he explained
“We’re trying to get closer to them but as you can see even with players at the level of PSG it’s hard to stop Man City.”
With bitterly cold weather conditions hitting the North-West, the City groundstaff faced a battle to clear the pitch as snow continued to fall.
Nevertheless, in difficult conditions, it was City who were first to threaten – Kyle Walker driving, right-footed, the wrong side of an upright with Hammers keeper, Lukasz Fabianski at full-stretch.
Michail Antonio provided West Ham’s greatest threat – Ederson blocking the powerful number nine after he’s skipped past Aymeric Laporte on the byline.
But the visitors were getting forced onto the back foot. Riyad Mahrez beat Fabianksi with a crisp effort but was frustrated by an assistants flag, backed up by VAR.
Said Benrahma forced Ederson into a smart save following a slick move down the right involving Pablo Fornals. Raheem Sterling returned the compliment, sending an attempt whistling the wrong side of an upright.
But as the snow continued to fall, City continued to look the more likely and just after the half-hour mark, they took the lead. Gundogan was on hand to finish after Jesus had knocked on a centre from Marhez.
Boosted by the goal, City looked to swiftly push home their advantage further. Ben Johnson brilliantly cleared off the line from Jesus, while Fabianski was forced into a double-save to deny both Jesus and Marhez as the East Londoners hung on grimly.
The ground staff carried out further work at the interval, clearing snow off the playing surface with ruthless efficiency. Meanwhile, with the action back underway, Aaron Cresswell required treatment after colliding with a post whilst clearing another Jesus attempt in the nick of time.
West Ham toiled tirelessly but lacked creativity and the cutting edge required to effectively penetrate the champions. Jarrod Bowen was introduced by Moyes in an attempt to redress the balance – Ederson was forced to first clear a piledriver from Declan Rice as the Hammers began to emerge from their shell.
Fabianski stuck out a glove to thwart Marhez as the game opened up during its final stages. But City sealed the points in the final minute when substitute, Fernandinho fired home from eighteen yards after a ball in from the left.
An off-side flag denied Bernardo Silva a third. But that would have been harsh on the Hammers. Instead, Manuel Lanzini spectacularly reduced the arrears, turning on the proverbial sixpence before lashing high beyond Ederson deep into stoppage-time.
West Ham United return to Premier League action on Wednesday, December 1 when Brighton & Hove Albion visit the London Stadium (8pm). The Hammers then host London rivals, Chelsea on Saturday 4 (12:30pm).
Manchester City: Ederson, Walker, Dias, Laporte, Cancelo, Gundogan (Capt), Rodri, Silva, Sterling (Fernandinho 86′), Mahrez, Jesus Subs not used: Steffen (GK), Carson (GK), Zinchenko, Stones, Aké, McAtee, Palmer
Booked: Aymeric Laporte (foul), Joao Cancelo (foul)
Goals: Ilkay Gundogan 33′, Fernandinho 90′
West Ham United: Fabiański, Johnson, Dawson, Zouma, Cresswell (Coufal 60′), Rice (Capt), Souček, Benrahma (Lanzini 58′), Fornals, Masuaku (Bowen 74′), Antonio Subs not used: Areola (GK), Diop, Král, Noble, Vlašić, Yarmolenko
Goals: Manuel Lanzini 90+4′
Referee: Michael Oliver
Assistants: Stuart Burt and Simon Bennett
Fourth Official: Robert Jones
VAR: Jarred Gillett
Assistant VAR: Ian Hussin