Manchester City 2-0 West Ham Utd
WEST Ham suffered an expected defeat at the Etihad on Wednesday evening as Manchester City took out their frustration at this week’s ban from the Champions League for the next two seasons on the hapless Hammers.
Before the kick-off, boss David Moyes admitted that the coming fixtures, which see them taking on league leaders Liverpool next Monday, were as hard as it gets as the east Londoners languish in the Premier League drop zone.
With the exception of Raheem Sterling, who is recovering from a hamstring injury, City were at full strength and wasted no time in pushing forward with Jesus getting two chances to open the scoring in the first 15 minutes and Kevin de Bruyne carving the West Ham defence apart effortlessly with pinpoint crosses and a couple of goal-bound attempts of his own.
The Hammers were hanging on for dear life under a City onslaught and finally, at 29 minutes the deadlock was broken with Rodri meeting a de Bruyne corner with a glancing header that already looked over the line at the far post before Laporte made sure.
The City attack was relentless and it was 49 minutes before West Ham showed any real intent on leaving their own half.
But it was a momentary foray forward and soon the Hammers were back in defensive mode.
Ryan Fredericks picked up a shoulder injury and it was former Etihad favourite, Pablo Zabaleta, in his final season, who came on to warm cheers from the City fans.
A second goal was inevitalble and when it came in the 63rd minute it was man of the match de Bruyne, who deservedly struck home.
With the game won, Pep Guardiola decided not to take any risks with Laporte, who had only just come back into the side, replacing him with John Stones.
New signing Jarrod Bowen made his Hammers debut on 80 minutes, but was unable to make any impression with his team mates basically under seige for the entire match.
After the game, David Moyes was adamant that he did not want to put too much pressure on Bowen to get the team out of trouble.
“I felt the players did a great job in trying to be organised and disciplined,” he said.
“We did it well for long periods but they move the ball so well.”
Guardiola addressed the European ban, saying: “We are optimistic that at the end the truth will prevail and next season we will be in the Champions League.”
Manchester City: Ederson, Walker, Otamendi, Laporte (Stones 65′), Mendy, De Bruyne (Gündogan 79′), Rodri, Silva (Foden 85′), Bernardo Silva, Agüero, Gabriel Jesus. Subs not used: Bravo, Fernandinho, Mahrez, Cancelo.
West Ham: Fabianski, Fredericks (Zabaleta 60′), Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Masuaku (Booked 45′) Rice, Soucek, Noble, Snodgrass (Bowen 80′), Antonio. Subs not used: Balbuena, Felipe Anderson, Lanzini, Haller, Randolph
Referee: Kevin Friend