One rule for the rich

A penny for Manuel Lanziniís thoughts as he watched Bernardo Silva dive Manchester City to victory over our boys this week.

Nobody expected us to get anything out of the game, the way City have been blitzing all comers this season. But West Ham didn't deserve to lose that way, after all that toil, running and sweat.

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Lanzini, finally back on the pitch after eight months of injury agony that ruined his World Cup dreams, would be forgiven for thinking that title-chasing super rich clubs see their players treated somewhat differently than the rest of the working classes.

Lanzini, we can't forget, was retrospectively suspended for two matches and branded a cheat following that incident at Stoke when he went flying, as much in anticipation of a kicking from Stokes's Erik Pieter's than anything else.

But Sky showed the incident every hour on the hour, if not more, for days before the FA took action. That was back in December 2017. He won a penalty in a 3-0 victory, and film showed that Lanzini made firm contact with Pieters' thigh.

Now Wednesday at the Etihad. Silva ran into the box, Felipe Anderson was in the way, there was minimal if any contact, and the Manchester City was going down and looking at the referee while still in mid-air.

Boss Manuel Pellegrini had no doubts, he accused Silva - who has got plenty of previous for this sort of thing - of diving. It was a joke decision, and one barely shown on TV properly until Sky's referee expert Dermot Gallagher got a chance to talk about it.

No penalty, he said, no contact, he would never have given it.

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To my mind and many Hammers fans, Silva was clearly seeking to deceive referee Stuart Atwell. And he did.

Now West Brom striker Dwight Gayle has been suspended for two matches for this same offence already this season, so we wait with very little anticipation to see if Silva gets charged too. Don't hold your breath.

Now I am not saying we would have gone on to get a point from the match, City, nowhere near their best, had 20 plus chances - but only seven on target from over 80 per cent possession. They would have found another way to score, surely.

But our lads showed solid defensive capabilities, a sound back four, two kids at full back in debutant Ben Johnson and Ryan Fredericks both doing very well, while Issa Diop and the less-so erratic Angelo Ogbonna were excellent.

Michail Antonio put a real shift in while Declan Rice handled world-class midfielders with calm assuredness.

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All in all a decent night out, with a respectful result. Also one hell of a turnout from the travelling fans. An 8:00pm kick off and a lack of trains home that time of night underlines how loyal our fans are.

My lot were swelled by a bunch of mates who sit in front of us in the BML, one of whom admitted he had never been further north than Watford. Booze prices in the frozen north certainly surprised him...

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