Having not managed a victory in the last fifteen meetings between these two sides, high-flying West Ham United faced off against champions Manchester City – looking for their first home win over the Citizens since 2014.
WHU: Areola, Coufal, Emerson, Aguerd, Zouma, Ward Prowse, E Alvarez, Soucek, Paqueta, Bowen, Antonio
MCI: Ederson, Walker, Gvardiol, Dias, Akanji, Silva, Rodri, Doku, J Alvarez, Foden, Haaland
A second-half performance of brilliance from champions Manchester City saw Pep Guardiola’s side overwhelm David Moyes’ dogged West Ham side at a sweltering London Stadium.
The Citizens would not be at their clinical best but oozed confidence, creating several first-half chances. Spaniard Rodri came close in a frantic game of pinball inside the Hammers penalty area, drawing a fine save from home keeper Alfonso Areola who would have an outstanding afternoon between the sticks.
Norwegian hitman Erling Haaland would have the next opportunity, uncharacteristically spurning Josko Gvardiol’s left-wing cross wide of the post with the goal at his mercy.
City would pile on the pressure on the West Ham goal at times with bewildering attacking threat. The Hammers defence was led by Moroccan Nayef Aguerd, who would be stubborn with several blocks denying goalscoring opportunities, much to the frustration of returning manager Pep Guardiola after a spell away from the touchline following back surgery.
The Spaniard’s pain though would increase as West Ham would take a shock lead in the 36th minute. Vladimir Coufal foraged forward on a rare venture into the City half before providing a neat right-wing cross onto the head of James Ward-Prowse. The former Saint continued his impressive start to life in East London, nodding home for his second goal of the season.
City would return a different animal in the second period, determined and ruthless in execution. The exciting Belgian Jeremy Doku scored straight from the restart with a fantastic individual goal worthy of any highlight reel, latching onto Julian Alvarez’s incisive pass before slotting in the corner of the right-hand post past a despairing Areola.
The goal would give the Citizens impetus to push for more, and West Ham would have been behind minutes later if it wasn’t for a series of excellent goalkeeping from Areola. The Frenchman denied a frustrated Haaland’s close-range volley, before then tipping Gvardiol’s rasping long-range effort spectacularly over the crossbar.
Ederson had been a lonely figure in the Man City goal, though he would earn his substantial paycheck as West Ham enjoyed their best spell of the game. The Brazilian denied Kurt Zouma’s header from a Ward-Prowse corner at full stretch, tipping the ball wide to enthused celebrations from his teammates.
It would prove the decisive moment for West Ham, as City would take the lead for the first time minutes later. Alvarez dropped deep to pick up the ball from midfield, before feeding the breaking Bernardo Silva who show high-class composure to clip past Areola.
With the goal seemingly deflating the hard-working Hammers, City sealed the result nine minutes from time. Haaland ended his 81-minute drought to score his seventh in six games, slotting home Silva’s timed through ball on the counterattack after City had drawn West Ham higher up the pitch.
It would prove to be the last act of a pulsating contest as City would end the Hammers unbeaten start and continue their 100% record at the top of the table. Both sides will now welcome European opposition in midweek – Manchester City will host Crvena Zvezda on Tuesday, while West Ham welcome TSC Bačka Topola on Thursday.