Hammers edged out in the Manchester snow
Manchester City 2-1 West Ham United
West Ham United were edged out 2-1 by Manchester City at a snowy Etihad Stadium on Sunday, as goals from Ilkay Gündoğan and Fernandinho meant Manuel Lanzini’s injury time strike was a mere consolation.
The Hammers gave a solid performance in defence in Manchester, but found it tough to fashion clear chances at the other end as Pep Guardiola’s men managed the game with sustained possession to inflict just a second away defeat of the season on the Hammers.
David Moyes opted to make one change from his side that faced Wolverhampton Wanderers in the previous Premier League game, with Arthur Masuaku starting on the left hand side in place of Jarrod Bowen.
The Hammers did not seem overawed in the opening stages, with Declan Rice making a second minute break in midfield that gave Pablo Fornals the chance to cross for Saïd Benrahama. Although the delivery was misplaced, it was an encouraging sign for the visitors.
As was the sight of Michail Antonio running at Rúben Dias in the left channel four minutes later. The No9 reached the box before passing square for Benrahma. It was a chance for the Algerian, but the ball ran away on his touch and City nipped in to clear.
The home side soon began to threaten themselves, and Aymeric Laporte was inches away from giving his side a 16th minute lead, rising at the near post to meet a left wing corner with a glancing header that kissed the far post on its way wide.
Riyad Mahrez then had a goal disallowed for offside but City’s presence was growing, and as the snow began to fall harder from the Manchester sky, Gündoğan gave them a 33rd minute lead.
Mahrez supplied the German with the assist, squaring from the right hand side of the penalty area, and his captain did this rest by converting from close range.
Four minutes later, Ben Johnson had to make a superb goalline clearance to prevent Gabriel Jesus from making it 2-0, and the Hammers were grateful for the chance to regroup at the break.
It was an extended break too, as the groundstaff needed an extra ten minutes or so to clear the pitch of the snow that had settled during the opening period.
West Ham were remaining compact and looking to work on the break, but Jesus was another goalline clearance away from scoring a second for his team on 56 minutes.
The Brazilian’s attempted finish was a cute one, dinking over Fabiański after Sterling played a searching ball over from the right. He didn’t account for Aaron Cresswell covering around through, sliding in to hook clear and clattering into the post in the process.
The blow to Cresswell’s back was enough to force him from the action early, with Vladimír Coufal coming on in his place.
The Hammers also introduced Lanzini and Bowen from the bench as they searched for a route back into the contest, but it was ultimately a home sub who wrapped it up.
Fernandinho finished unerringly from 15 yards after being picked out by Gabriel Jesus’ cut-back, finding the bottom left-hand corner with accuracy.
His team needed the goal, too, as Lanzini pulled one back spectacularly with the last kick of the game, shooting home from the edge of the box via the left-hand post.
It was too little, too late for the away side though as City were the side who moved closer to the top of the table.
Manchester City: Ederson, Walker, Dias, Laporte, Cancelo, Gündoğan, Rodri, Silva, Sterling (Fernandinho 87), Mahrez, Jesus
Subs: Steffen (GK), Carson (GK), Zinchenko, Stones, Aké, McAtee, Palmer
Goals: Gündoğan 33, Fernandinho 90
Booked: Laporte, Cancelo
West Ham United: Fabiański, Johnson, Dawson, Zouma, Cresswell (Coufal 61), Rice, Souček, Benrahma (Lanzini 59), Fornals, Masuaku (Bowen 74), Antonio
Subs: Areola (GK), Diop, Král, Noble, Vlašić, Yarmolenko
Goal: Lanzini 90+4
Referee: Michael Oliver