West Ham fans celebrate

Six things we loved about West Ham United's final home game of 2021/22

1. Farewell Mr West Ham

There were tears shed as West Ham United bid the fondest of farewells to the Club’s iconic homegrown midfielder and captain, Mark Noble.

The 35-year-old will hang up his boots after 18 seasons as a first-team player, and nearly 25 years with his boyhood Club, at the end of this week.

As such, Sunday’s Premier League fixture with Manchester City represented Noble’s final home game as a Hammer.

He received a standing ovation from both sets of supporters before kick-off and again when he was introduced as a second-half substitute by manager David Moyes, and a warm embrace from teammates, opponents and City manager Pep Guardiola at the final whistle.

After gathering his family, Noble was then welcomed back onto the London Stadium pitch through a Guard of Honour formed by his teammates, the backroom staff and their respective families, before joining presenter Ben Shephard and fellow West Ham legend Sir Trevor Brooking on a specially constructed stage and speaking directly to the 60,000 crowd.

As the Claret and Blue Army sang his name, Noble then led a lap of thanks around the pitch before waving a final farewell, leaving barely a dry eye in the ground.


2. Brilliant Bowen

Jarrod Bowen showed yet again why he is one of the most feared forwards in the Premier League with two brilliantly taken first-half goals.

West Ham United’s No20 twice timed his run in behind the Manchester City defence to perfection before showing the speed, poise, composure and finishing ability to beat Ederson.

Bowen could have had a hat-trick, too, only for his first-time shot to be blocked by Aymeric Laporte and spin narrowly wide.

The 25-year-old Premier League Player of the Year nominee now has 12 goals and ten assists in 35 top-flight appearances this season, with his 22 direct goal involvements ranking him fourth behind Mohamed Salah, Son Heung-min and Harry Kane, and level with Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne.

What's more, Bowen's 22 goals and assists are the third-most in a single Premier League campaign by a West Ham player, after Paolo Di Canio (29 in 1999/00) and John Hartson (23 in 1997/98).

Surely, surely, a maiden senior England call-up for this summer’s UEFA Nations League ties awaits the brilliant Bowen?

Jarrod Bowen scores his first goal against Manchester City

3. We’re all going on another European tour!

For the first time in West Ham United’s history, the Club has qualified for European competition through its league position in successive seasons.

Just ten days after the disappointment of losing a UEFA Europa League semi-final to Eintracht Frankfurt, the Hammers booked their passage into continental competition again by drawing with Manchester City.

The point gained, combined with Wolverhampton Wanderers’ failure to beat Norwich City, means David Moyes’ men are guaranteed to finish at least seventh in the table.

Should the Hammers remain seventh following Sunday’s season finale at Brighton & Hove Albion, we will play in the UEFA Conference League in 2022/23, but a win in Sussex - combined with a Manchester United defeat or draw at Crystal Palace - would see us have another crack at the Europa League.

So, keep those passports to hand, as we’re all going on another European tour!


4. Fab four

Łukasz Fabiański made his FOURTH Premier League penalty save of the season on Sunday.

West Ham United’s veteran Polish goalkeeper flew high to his left to push Riyad Mahrez’s spot-kick away with just four minutes to play, earning the Hammers a 2-2 draw with Manchester City.

The 37-year-old’s spectacular stop added to previous penalty saves he has made from Arsenal’s Alexandre Lacazette, Burnley’s Maxwel Cornet (we know he put it wide, but it counts as a save!) and Chelsea’s Jorginho.

Since joining West Ham in 2018, Fabiański has saved eight of the 20 penalties he has faced in the Premier League.


Lukasz Fabianski saves Riyad Mahrez's penalty

5. A true team effort

West Ham United’s players gave it absolutely everything to stifle Manchester City on Sunday.

While the Premier League leaders had 31 goal attempts, West Ham players blocked 13 of them, while ten flew off-target, seven were saved by Łukasz Fabiański and the one which found the back of the net - credited to Jack Grealish - took a cruel deflection off Craig Dawson.

West Ham players also made 40 clearances, 13 interceptions and eleven tackles as they covered every blade of the London Stadium pitch to close down space and frustrate Pep Guardiola’s side.

It was a true team effort, too, with six different players blocking shots and nine different players making defensive clearances.

Aaron Cresswell makes a block

6. Goals galore

West Ham United’s two goals in Sunday’s match meant the Hammers had scored in each of their 19 home Premier League matches this season – the first time that has ever happened in the competition’s 30-year history.

The Hammers’ two goals also took David Moyes’ side onto 59 goals for the season and maintained a +11 goal difference – both the fifth-highest totals in the Premier League, ahead of the final week of the 2021/22 season.

If the Irons score three goals at Brighton & Hove Albion on Sunday, they will match the 62 scored last season, while a four-goal winning margin would not only better that tally, but also match the +15 goal difference achieved in 2020/21.

Whatever happens at the Amex Stadium, West Ham will finish with a positive goal difference in consecutive Premier League seasons for the first time ever, and in consecutive top-flight seasons for the first time since 1982/83 and 1983/84.


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