West Ham United fell to their third defeat in a row after they lost 3-0 to Manchester City at The Etihad Stadium on Wednesday night.
It may have been a tall order but the Hammers were looking to bounce back from the narrow defeat at Selhurst Park, whereas Josep Guardiola’s men were looking to pile more pressure on Arsenal, as they were in the hunt to win a third consecutive title.
Changes were made by both sides but David Moyes made four from Saturday’s match as Thilo Kehrer, Aaron Cresswell, Angelo Ogbonna and Flynn Downes came into the starting line-up taking the places of Kurt Zouma, Nayef Aguerd, Declan Rice and Tomáš Souček. Cresswell was named Captain for the evening in Rice’s absence.
Łukasz Fabiański saved his team from going at least a goal down early on, as he managed to keep out efforts from both Julián Álvarez and Riyad Mahrez in the early stages.
Having survived the first spell of pressure, the Irons might well have taken a surprise lead themselves but unfortunately, Kehrer was unable to provide a telling touch from a free-kick. Pablo Fornals then tried his luck seconds later as he sent the ball back into dangerous area but, in truth it was easy for Guardiola’s men to clear.
The Citizens were really testing their visitors by this point but the Hammers’ defence stood firm as both Jack Grealish and Erling Haaland went close.
West Ham weren’t without their chances here and they went close again when they launched a counter-attack from Vladimír Coufal’s throw in but the move unfortunately ended when Jarrod Bowen couldn’t beat home goalkeeper Stefan Ortega.
Guardiola’s team fashioned their best chance of the first-half when Rodri went close on the half-hour mark. The Spaniard picked up the ball and beat the visiting defence but fortunately for those who had made the journey up to Manchester, the effort hit the post, meaning the scoreline remained level when referee John Brooks blew the whistle for the break.
The West Ham players would have felt pretty pleased with their efforts. Could they hold on for another forty five minutes?
Well, that question was answered just four minutes into the second-half and unfortunately, the answer was a perhaps expected, no!!! The hosts were awarded a free-kick and when Nathan Aké met the delivery from Mahrez and headed the set-piece past Fabiański.
Coufal later picked up a hamstring injury and was replaced on sixty one minutes by Ben Johnson and eight minutes after, Michail Antonio made an early exit and Danny Ings entered the fray.
It wasn’t the greatest of entrances for the former AFC Bournemouth, Burnley, Liverpool, Southampton and Aston Villa striker however as within minutes, the home side had increased their advantage when Haaland picked up a landmark goal to make it 2-0. He gave Fabiański no chance.
Phil Foden was among those names left on the bench by Guardiola and just nine minutes after he was introduced in place of Álvarez, he put the result out of West Ham’s reach, as his volley found the net, via a deflection off Emerson Palmieri to beat the Pole once more.
Fornals tried his best to pull a goal back on two occasions but unfortunately couldn’t beat Ortega with either of them.
The misery was finally over for Moyes’ men but they do face another stern test on Sunday night when Manchester United arrive in Stratford.