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West Ham United: Masterclass from David Moyes is still not enough to prevent another Hammers setback

PUBLISHED: 17:00 04 December 2017

West Ham United's Angelo Ogbonna (centre) scores his side's first goal of the game during the Premier League match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester.

West Ham United's Angelo Ogbonna (centre) scores his side's first goal of the game during the Premier League match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester.

PA Wire/PA Images

Another game, another defeat, exactly what everyone had predicted, except it was nothing like we thought it would be, this was so much better.

Manchester City's David Silva scores his side's second goal of the game during the Premier League match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester.Manchester City's David Silva scores his side's second goal of the game during the Premier League match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester.

The shambles of Wednesday night at Everton was replaced by an organised, disciplined and committed djsplay against a team surely destined for the title.

And West Ham put in this effort missing some supposed key players. No Winston Reid, Mark Noble, Andhy Carroll or Javier Hernandez and no Joe Hart.

They did have a triumvirate of attacking players in Michail Antonio, Manuel Lanzini and later Diafra Sakho who caused plenty of problems.

It was Manchester City who had the possession, but West Ham who had the chances in the first half and it was a joy to watch for boss David Moyes.

West Ham United manager David Moyes on the touchline during the Premier League match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester.West Ham United manager David Moyes on the touchline during the Premier League match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester.

“Arguably we might have had the best chances in the first half and we defended well,” he said. “I thought the players did a really good job and City’s shots were mainly from distance.

“We filled the box and made it difficult for them to score.”

It was a master plan against Pep Guardiola’s side, especially as they did not have long to perfect it.

“We’ve worked a bit on it,” Moyes said. “We had one day really where we could prepare. We tried to have a bit of a game plan to stop them.”

It worked in that first half and yes, West Ham had the better chances with Antonio so lively and daring, Manuel Lanzini full of running and Arthur Masuaku full of pace.

And then on came Diafra Sakho. Why he has not started in a year is a mystery shrouded in controversy, but within a minute of coming on he had won a corner.

And second later, Cresswell had got the ball back from Lanzini, delivered a cross and Angelo Ogbonna had thumped a header into the corner.

It was the stuff that dreams are made of. This is why we all watch football, but there was still that nagging doubt that the leaders would hit back.

And sure enough they did. Nicolas Otamendi scrambled the ball over the line after substitute Gabriel Jesus had crossed low and the match turned into an attack v defence training session for long periods.

But West Ham held strong, Antonio tested the keeper from range, but there was not enough of that going on.

And on 83 minutes, De Bruyne’s clever dink saw David Silva finish sublimely and the game looked up for the gallant Hammers.

Except it wasn’t. Marco Arnautovic stole down the right and pulled the ball back for Sakho who just needed to hit the target, but somehow pulled it agonisingly wide.

“I think the performance was very good,” said the boss. “I think if we had come away with something, nobody would have been surprised by it.”

I think the whole world would have been surprised before the game. West Ham to win 1-0 was the same price as City to win 7-0!

“I thought we deserved to equalise. You can’t argue with City’s pressure, but you get results in different ways and it looked as though we may have got one here.”

The thing is they didn’t get a result. No points again and still struggling in the relegation zone.

But there was no outcry from the fans this time. What they want to see is commitment and passion and that is exactly what they got.

Bring on Chelsea!

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