City Gain Revenge on Hammers
In a week that has seen West Ham United play three consecutive away games, it has only yielded the one success. They ended November by falling to back-to-back defeats for the first time since 24 April after they lost 2-1 against current Premier League Champions Manchester City at The Etihad Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
David Moyes made one change to the team that played Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux eight days ago, as Arthur Masuaku came into the starting line-up in place of Jarrod Bowen, who dropped to the bench.
The Hammers ended a four-year run of winning the Carabao Cup for the Citizens in Stratford last month and were keen to emulate the feat here.
They started the game well and could have grabbed an early advantage. Inside the opening two minutes Captain Declan Rice found Pablo Fornals on the break and the Spaniard could have played in Saïd Benrahma with a cross but he got the delivery all wrong and the chance had been missed.
West Ham didn’t have to wait long for their next chance as minutes later, Michail Antonio raced past Rúben Dias to burst into the box and give Benrahma another opportunity but unfortunately for the Algerian, he couldn’t get his shot away and the hosts eventually cleared the danger.
The home side provided a real threat and went close on sixteen minutes through Aymeric Laporte. Thankfully for the Irons however, his effort grazed the post after he had headed a corner on.
City, who came from behind to beat Paris Saint-Germain in their Champions League match on Wednesday, had the ball in the net, thanks to Riyad Mahrez but the visitors were given a reprieve, as referee Michael Oliver ruled the goal out for offside.
Despite promising play from the visitors, the deadlock was broken by the hosts on thirty three minutes when Mahrez set up home skipper Ilkay Gundógan to fire past goalkeeper Łukasz Fabiański.
It would have got even better for Josep Guardiola’s men just four minutes later, had it not been for a miraculous goal-line clearance from Ben Johnson to deny Gabriel Jesus from adding to their advantage.
Although the Citizens were ahead at the break, it was an even first-half and the Hammers were just hoping that they could find a way back into the contest.
Heavy snow started to fall towards the end of the first period in Manchester and because of this, there was a ten minute delay to the start of the second-half as the groundstaff had to clear the pitch.
When the match did resume, it was the hosts who went close to scoring a second on fifty six minutes fortunately, it was Aaron Cresswell who thwarted Jesus this time.
Three minutes later, Moyes decided to make his first change, as Benrahma was replaced by Manuel Lanzini.
That clearance off the line came at a cost for Cresswell as he came off with a back injury as a result of crashing into the post. Although he tried to play on, it soon became evident that he wouldn’t be able to and five minutes later, Vladimír Coufal took his place.
West Ham made their final change on seventy four minutes when Bowen came on for Masuaku.
Guardiola changed formation and brought on Fernandinho for Raheem Sterling in the eighty seventh minute as he looked to see the game out.
However, it proved to be an inspired decision as the defender scored the winner just three minutes later. Jesus was proving to be a real threat to the Hammers and he picked the substitute out when he cut the ball back and his teammate was able to finish past Fabiański.
Added time was all that the Irons had left to try and pull a goal back and with the last kick, that is exactly what they did, as Lanzini produced a cracker of a shot that gave home stopper Ederson no chance.
Unfortunately the East Londoners had no time to find an equaliser and fall to successive defeats on the road.
They will now attempt to get their first ever top-flight victory over Graham Potter’s Brighton and Hove Albion when the Seagulls arrive in Stratford on Wednesday night.