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Premier League
Saturday, 24th November 2018

West Ham United 0
Manchester City 4

by Chris Wilkerson


A brace from Leroy Sane plus first half efforts from David Silva and Raheem Sterling ensured West Ham were condemned to yet another defeat at the Olympic Stadium.

This latest rout - which follows home results of 0-5, 0-4 and 1-4 against the same opposition since bidding farewell to the club's former Boleyn Ground home - was never in doubt from the moment Pep Guardiola's side took the lead in the 11th minute.

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Many home fans will have left somewhat cheered by the way the side approached the game, and the score did no justice to the efforts of the West Ham players.

The early patterns gave indications of how the game would play out, with the likes of Sterling, Silva and Sane quite wonderful on the ball, helping their side to dominate.

It also showed that West Ham were not going to be afraid of the league leaders, showing bravery in how they pressed from the front and looking to leave the recalled Michael Antonio up top with Arnautovic in an effort to threaten on the break.

That tactic could have paid dividends after only 6 minutes had Antonio not delayed twice to cross to Arnautovic in a strong position in the area. The pace and direct running of the two looked set to cause Cityís backline problems.

The home side had a desire to play on the front foot against a team they have almost surrendered to in recent seasons.

But intent like this needs quality to match. After Diangana forced a corner going at Delph at left back, City showed that they can do more than pass patterns around teams.

Having broken away from the West Ham pressure, City counter-attacked with frightening pace. Sterling was fed down the right and Masuaku, coming back in at left back, left the in-form Englishman to see what he could do under no pressure. His pass into the box deflected off the retreating left back, flatfooting everyone except the advancing David Silva.

The Spaniard, who it seems has never played anything but majestically against West Ham, slipped it beyond Fabianski and gave Manchester City a lead that already felt ominous ten minutes in.

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West Ham stayed brave, trying to play when they could, breaking with numbers and doing enough to give the fans something to cheer.

And they continued to stay behind their side, even as City extended their lead. It took only another eight minutes for that to happen, with Masuakuís defending down the left poor once again.

Silva began to control the middle. His ball out wide to Leroy Sane fed the German to run at West Hamís right. He did so with ease, before feeding a ball across the area. Sterling had been left to step away from Masuaku and scored a simple tap-in.

To the credit of Pellegriniís side, they appeared not to be gripped by the same sense of inevitably being felt by their fans. Half chances fell to first Arnautovic and then Antonio in quick succession as the two combined well, but the quality to take them eluded West Ham.

That was the pattern of the game. Untaken half chances at one end, incisive and unquestionable quality at the other. The home side just needed to make their moments of pressure count before the game was out of sight.

Sadly for the fans in claret and blue, today was not a day their side could do that. The game was all but over just after the half-hour mark.

Once more, Masuakuís defensive problems were exposed. A ball over his head was volleyed first time by Sterling into the middle of the box, where Sane had time to stop, turn Balbuena and pass the ball into the net from six yards. How Sterling had been allowed to run into the area unchecked and without the left backís knowledge is a question his manager may ponder as he questions his decision to bring Masuaku back into the side.

At half time, West Ham had been taught a lesson in the importance of taking chances. After the break, Cresswell was out to replace Masuaku. By then, it mattered little.

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Only two minutes into the half, Fabianski did his best bit of work of the game. A deflected Silva drive fell to Sterling right on the six yard box. In acres of space, Fabianski was out brilliantly to tackle the City forward and stop what would have seemed a certain goal.

The home side kept the same attitude from the first half and did create chances.

Substitute Hernandez, on for Diangana, did well to feed Antonio after a lovely first time pass. Antonio drove once more into the City area, but his shot hit the wrong side of the post and another chance was wasted. West Ham had arguably created five good chances, but with no reward.

West Ham were still playing some good football in the second half; the issue was that Manchester City didnít really need to.

There were more chances as the game went on. Arnautovic should have hit the target from a header on 73 minutes, Antonio delivering a fantastic left-footed cross. Minutes later, Balbuena saw a header go wide, the first header West Ham had won from a string of good corners by Anderson and Cresswell.

For West Ham, arguably the most notable moment of the second half was an Arnautovic injury, eventually limping off as stoppage time started.

And with the two minutes of stoppage time just completed, City worked a final chance. Jesus was fed out wide, and although clearly offside, he chipped a ball to the back post. Sane took it down and smashed it past Fabianski and a flailing Cresswell on the line.

It didnít change the game, it wasnít really fair on West Ham, but it was a perfect encapsulation of what this game was. Manchester City again took their chance when it was presented to them, West Ham never did.

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It left the Irons with only three wins in 13 Premier League games this season, but also having now played each of last seasonís top six. A far better run of games awaits them.



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Player Ratings

Lucasz Fabianski
Made one good stop at Sterlingís feet and couldnít really be faulted for the goals.


Pablo Zabaleta
Battled, pressed and got forward, will feel he could have done more at both ends.


Arthur Masuaku
Brought back into the side, likely to be pushed straight out. At fault for every first half goal. Replaced at half time. Let the rest of the defence down.


Issa Diop
Probably the best of the defenders, didnít look overawed, still conceded four.


Fabian Balbuena
Another who didnít play badly, but conceded four goals. Should Sane have been so free in the middle?


Declan Rice
Often tidying up for others, didnít look out of place on or off the ball. He looked more suited to as side as good as theirs than a side like us.


Pedro Obiang
Considering it was a two man midfield, he battled well and kept composure on the ball.


Felipe Anderson
Deliveries excellent (a game of good corners!), ran at city well too, but equally didnít make too much happen.


Michail Antonio
A ten for effort, rather less for end product when important. A decent game, dangerous moments, but his flaws still very much on show.


Grady Diangana
Never seemed scared or overawed. One gorgeous pass into Zabaleta. Looks to be the man Pellegrini will replace when things need to change.


Marko Arnautovic
Couldnít scare Cityís defenders, did make some half chances but a limited display before injury.


Substitutes


Aaron Cresswell
(Replaced Masuaku) Much better than Masuaku, looking more reliable and much more aware positionally.


Javier Hernandez
(Repleaced Diangana) The pass to Antonio was brilliant, but he had little impact otherwise.


Lucas Perez
(Replaced Anderson) Does not work hard enough to play out wide for this side. No impact on the game.


Adrian San Miguel del Castillo
Did not play.


Angelo Ogbonna
Did not play.


Mark Noble
Did not play.


Andy Carroll
Did not play.



Match Facts

Referee: Andre Marriner.

Attendance: 56,886.

Man of the Match: tbc.

West Ham United

Lucasz Fabianski, Pablo Zabaleta, Arthur Masuaku, Issa Diop, Fabian Balbuena, Declan Rice, Pedro Obiang, Felipe Anderson, Michail Antonio, Grady Diangana, Marko Arnautovic.

Goals: None.

Booked: None.

Sent off: None.

Manchester City

Ederson, Walker, Otamendi, Laporte, Delph, Fernandinho, Gundogan (Foden 69), D.Silva (c), Sterling (Mahrez 74), Sane, Aguero (Gabriel Jesus 80).

Substitutes: .

Subs not used: Muric, Kompany, Stones, Zinchenko.

Goals: Silva (11), Sterling (19), Sane (34, 90+3).

Booked: .

Sent Off: .

 

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Chris Wilkerson's Man of the Match: tbc


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