Manchester City 2-1 West Ham United: the Hammers dug deep, but Silva was able to crack their defence
By Daniel J. McLaughlin
The West Ham job is not turning out to be as straightforward as David Moyes originally envisaged.
Before the Hammers faced Manchester City at the Etihad on Sunday, the former Everton and Manchester United boss admitted: "I was hoping it would be a bit easier, to be honest." The task of turning around the club's form faced yet another hurdle when they played the runaway league leaders, who have yet to suffer a defeat in the Premier League this season. West Ham, meanwhile, have four defeats to their name, along with nine draws and only two wins.
Despite the narrow loss to City at the weekend, the Scotsman can take positives from the game - especially following the dismal 4-0 thrashing by Everton earlier in the week. The visitors were stubborn in defence, with Pep Guardiola's side struggling to unleash their attacking prowess - and it took a late strike from David Silva to extend City's unbeaten run to 20 games across all competitions.
Moyes' side were without Joe Hart in goal, with the loanee from Manchester City ineligible to play, and in his place was Adrian. The Spanish goalkeeper produced an excellent audition to be West Ham's first choice between the sticks. He pulled off an incredible save against Silva early on, somehow reaching his fierce, deflected shot and tipping it over the crossbar. Leroy Sane and Gabriel Jesus were also left frustrated as the keeper denied them goals with impressive one-handed parries and strong saves.
Contrary to expectations, West Ham opened the scoring just before half-time. Angelo Ogbonna was able to rise in the box, beating Nicolás Otamendi, to met a Aaron Cresswell cross from the right. He powered his header down, and while City goalkeeper Emerson got a palm to it, it was not enough to prevent Ogbonna's first ever league goal in the 44th minute.
Otamendi was on the prowl for City's equaliser in the 57th minute. Jesus sent in a low cross from the right, after a clever link-up with Raheem Sterling, and the defender was ready to beat the 18-year-old Declan Rice and scramble it home.
Manchester City have developed a knack of leaving it late in their narrow victories, securing their win against Huddersfield Town in a similar fashion to the result against the Hammers. With just seven minutes left on the clock, Kevin de Bruyne sent a searching cross over the top and down the middle to Silva. The Spaniard was able to stretch for the ball, and catch it on the volley past a stranded Adrian.
West Ham had dug deep to no avail, as City continued their winning ways that doesn't seem like stopping. Manchester United will hope to be the team that ends that run, with they play their local rivals in the Premier League on Sunday (K.O. 4.30pm at Old Trafford).
Manchester City will play in the Champions League before the derby, facing Shakhtar Donetsk away tomorrow (K.O. 7.45pm). West Ham United will hope to spark their revival against another tough opponent in the Premier League on Saturday, taking on English champions Chelsea at the London Stadium (K.O. 12.30pm).