Hammers Defeated in Season Opener
West Ham United were unbeaten in two home matches against Manchester City last season but, on Sunday afternoon, Josep Guardiola’s men got their revenge, as the Hammers suffered a 2-0 home defeat to open their 2022/23 campaign.
None of the club’s summer signings made David Moyes’ starting line-up but both Flynn Downes and Gianluca Scamacca were included on the bench amongst nine substitutes. Łukasz Fabiański started in goal ahead of Alphonse Areola who joined the club on a permanent deal in the summer, while youngsters Harrison Ashby, Armstrong Oko-Flex and Connor Coventry were named in the matchday squad.
Maxwel Cornet was presented to the crowd before the game as he became the club’s latest signing after completing a permanent move from Burnley on Friday.
A record crowd of 62,443 were in attendance for the match after the stadium capacity was increased during the close season and the hosts made a bright start.
The Irons were renowned for their set pieces last season and Pablo Fornals sent a corner into the box as early as the third minute. Kurt Zouma and Michail Antonio both went up for headers and then the ball dropped invitingly for Jarrod Bowen, who took the shot on but unfortunately, it was blocked on its way to goal. The home side were then able to regain possession and launch it back into a dangerous area where Fornals found Antonio but the former Nottingham Forest man headed over.
Then, Guardiola’s men started to turn on the style. Jack Grealish went close but his deflected cross was well held onto by Fabiański. The pressure didn’t subside there either as Kevin De Bruyne dragged his attempt wide soon after.
Shortly after that, the Citizens found the net when İlkay Gündoğan’s cut-back was converted by De Bruyne but to the relief of the majority inside the stadium, referee Michael Oliver ruled the effort out for offside.
On twenty nine minutes, Moyes was forced to use one of his five available substitutes. Fabianski accidentally came together with teammate Aaron Cresswell and couldn’t continue so, in stepped Areola.
One of the Frenchman’s first contributions was to give away a penalty just seven minutes later when his mistake caused him to bring down Erling Haaland. The Norwegian took responsibility himself and struck the ball past the backup goalkeeper.
That was the last significant action of a tight first-half and as the teams went down the tunnel for the break, the Hammers were just thankful to only be one goal behind.
West Ham again made a bright start to the second-half and might have equalised on fifty four minutes but a great team move involving Manuel Lanzini, Antonio, Vladimír Coufal and Bowen eventually ended with new Club Captain Declan Rice sending his effort over the bar.
Three minutes later, Moyes made a double change, as Scamacca and Saïd Benrahma were introduced into the action for both Antonio and Lanzini. Despite the changes, it was the visitors who had the next chance, as Gündoğan also fired wide after being on the end of a cross from De Bruyne.
The hosts went on the attack again when a cross from Coufal went over Scamacca’s head but managed to reach Benrahma. That being said, the former Brentford winger’s effort lacked power and was comfortable for visiting stopper Ederson.
The East Londoners were made to pay for that miss soon after, as Haaland scored again to virtually wrap up the points, as he beat Areola.
There was still time for Scamacca to go close once more but, as he put a header in, the linesman’s flag went up.
Moyes made two further substitutions in stoppage time, as both Fornals and Bowen made way for Downes and Coventry but even those changes couldn’t stop the reigning Champions from getting their season up and running.
The Hammers went on a long unbeaten run on the road at the start of last term and they will be looking to bounce back from this defeat when they head to The City Ground to take on newly-promoted Nottingham Forest on Sunday afternoon.
Before then, if there are any more moves announced in terms of transfers, then as always, this site will keep its readers informed of all the latest news.