West Ham heartbreak as Manchester City win it late
PUBLISHED: 18:01 03 December 2017 | UPDATED: 20:41 03 December 2017
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The gallant Hammers could not quite hold on against the mighty league leaders but they gave it everything they had
Manchester City 2 West Ham United 1
It was heartbreak for West Ham as their first-half lead and their battling defensive display came to nothing as Manchester City grabbed the winner with just eight minutes to go.
Angelo Ogbonna had headed home Aaron Cresswell’s cross to give the Hammers an unlikely but thoroughly deserved lead at the break, but City laid siege to the West Ham goal in the second half and goals from Nicholas Otamendi and David Silva on 82 minutes gave the leaders all three points and left the gallant Hammers pointless again and deep in the relegation mire.
After the disaster of the 4-0 thumping at Everton and injury ruling out defender Winston Reid, manager David Moyes made changes for the game.
Declan Rice, Edimilson Fernandez and Michail Antonio came into the starting ine-up, along with goalkeeper Adrian who replaced the ineligible Joe Hart.
Marko Arnautovic and Andre Ayew both dropped to the bench after poor shows at Goodison Park, while striker Diafra Sakho remained on the bench, despite a useful display off the bench at Everton where he won a penalty.
Moyes opted for a back five with Aaron Cresswell playing as one of the central defenders and it seemed to be mission impossible for beleaguered West Ham against a team top of the Premier League, unbeaten all season and scoring goals for fun, while the Hammers had picked up just one point in nine under new boss David Moyes and coming off the back of a 4-0 humbling by Everton.
But in a first half where Manchester City inevitably dominated possession, it was West Ham who had the better of the chances.
The Hammers allowed City to come at them, with five at the back keeping them at bay and after Raheem Sterling tried to dive and win a penalty, their only other chance came when Kevin De Bruyne teed up David Silva and his shot hit the back of Declan Rice and fizzed just over the crossbar.
But it was West Ham who were finding some space of their own at the other end.
After just eight minutes, Manuel Lanzini’s corner was headed on by Cheikhou Kouyate and Michail Antonio almost turned it in at the far post.
Antonio almost got in again on 16 minutes when Arthur Masuaku robbed Kyle Walker and delivered a low cross that he nearly beat the keeper to get to first, while Lanzini stole into the box and had a shot pushed wide by Ederson.
The Hammers were dealt a blow when Kouyate was forced off with a hanstring injury, to be replaced by Diafra Sakho and it was the striker who won the corner that led to the unlikely goal for the Hammers.
Aaron Cresswell, played it short, but when he got it back on the right flank, he delivered the perfect cross for defender Angelo Ogbonna to head into the corner.
Sergio Aguero had one shot saved by Adrian, but was offside in any case and City grew increasingly frustrated as West Ham contained them and with MAsuaku and Lanzini having plenty of the ball in midfield towards the end of the half, it was a deserved lead for them.
City were always going to come out for the second half with all guns blazing and they did just that, pinning West Ham back towards their own penalty area as they hunted and equaliser.
De Bruyne forced a fine save from Adrian with a free kick from the edge of the box after Rice had felled Fabian Delph, but second later, City finally broke the West Ham resistance.
Substitute Gabriel Jesus broke into the area and his low cross saw Otamendi beat Rice to the ball and force it over the line from close range.
Leroy Sane stung the hands of the keeper with a rasping drive, while Jesus then saw his effort brillaintly saved, but though many expected West Ham to crumble under the pressure, determined West Ham defended for all their might.
Marko Arnautovic replaced the tiring Lanzini as West Ham looked for an attacking outlet, but it was City calling the shots and laying siege on the West Ham goal.
But as the game reached its last 15 minutes, the Hammers were defending too deeply and failing to really offer anything at the other end of the field.
At times it was like an attack v defence training session as Jesus saw an effort blocked and West Ham desperately cleared their lines with Fernandes and Masuaku putting in great shifts in the midfield.
But with eight minutes left City finally broke the Hammers resolve. De Bruyne dinked a hopeful ball into the box and Silva hooked the ball into the net to make it 2-1.
In injury time West Ham had a gloirous chance to level the match. Arnautovic got down the right and pulled it back to Sakho, but his shot slipped agonisingly wide of the post
It was cruel on the battling Hammers who had given everything with their patched up side when nobody had given them a hope of anything except a big hiding.
That didn’t happen and City will take great heart from this performance as they look to tough home games against Chelsea and Arsenal.
West Ham United: Adrian, Zabaleta, Rice, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Fernandes, Kouyate (Sakho, 43), Obiang; Masuaku, Lanzini (Arnautovic, 69); Antonio (Ayew 88).
Unused subs: Trott, Johnson, Quina, Martinez.
Booked: Rice, De Bruyne, Adrian.
Referee: Mike Dean.