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West Ham suffer another opening day mauling

PUBLISHED: 12:30 12 August 2019

West Ham United's Declan Rice (left) and Manchester City's Oleksandr Zinchenko battle for the ball during the Premier League match at London Stadium.

West Ham United's Declan Rice (left) and Manchester City's Oleksandr Zinchenko battle for the ball during the Premier League match at London Stadium.

PA Wire/PA Images

Champions are far too good for the Hammers at the London Stadium

West Ham United's Sebastien Haller (left) and Manchester City's Rodrigo Hernandez Rodri battle for the ball during the Premier League match at London Stadium.West Ham United's Sebastien Haller (left) and Manchester City's Rodrigo Hernandez Rodri battle for the ball during the Premier League match at London Stadium.

All that hope and expectation that comes with a new season was destroyed in 90 horrendous minutes at the London Stadium on Saturday.

We knew that there was a huge chasm in standard between the likes of champions Manchester City and mere moral teams like West Ham.

But there was optimism that this new-look West Ham team could give them a game. Not a chance!

"We knew before the game that it would be a difficult game against Manchester City," said shellshocked manager Manuel Pellegrini.

Manchester City's Raheem Sterling scores his side's third goal of the game during the Premier League match at London Stadium.Manchester City's Raheem Sterling scores his side's third goal of the game during the Premier League match at London Stadium.

"It's difficult to talk when you lose 5-0 in a game, but I don't think the score reflected the difference between the two teams."

Maybe, maybe not. West Ham started well, they matched City for the opening 20 minutes and the champions didn't really look too threatening.

Sebastian Haller made some excellent touches and the Hammers did put City inder a little bit of pressure, especially down the flanks, but once the first goal went in, there never looked like a way back.

"In key moments there were key factors; we were very unlucky," insisted the boss.

Referee Mike Dean (right) ahead of the VAR check for Manchester City's Sergio Aguero's penalty during the Premier League match at London Stadium.Referee Mike Dean (right) ahead of the VAR check for Manchester City's Sergio Aguero's penalty during the Premier League match at London Stadium.

"The first goal they scored was lucky. It cleared off our defender. After that, we had a couple of chances to make it 2-1."

In reality that first goal was frighteningly similar to others that the Hammers have conceded in pre-season.

Aaron Cresswell was outpaced down the left and Gabriel Jesus got in front of his marker to finish well.

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The second half was something of a disaster as City steamrollered their way to the easiest of victories.

Raheem Sterling made it 2-0 and then City were denied minutes later by VAR, but there was no stopping him or the champions.

Sterling added his second, Sergio Aguero scored a twice-taken penalty and England man Sterling completed his hat-trick to make it 5-0.

At the other end, West Ham's only real chances came when Issa Diop glanced a Robert Snodgrass header over the bar, while Ederson made a fine double save from Javier Hernandez and then Manuel Lanzini.

By the end the Hammers were crushed and could have lost by more, but it is difficult to be too critical.

City have now made five trips to the London Stadium and won 5-0, 4-0, 4-1, 4-0 and 5-0, perhaps we were naïve to think this would be any different.

Pellegrini did have some mitigating circumstances though.

"Manchester City did 13 fouls and we did five, so we can be a bit more aggressive. We need to improve in defence but I'm sure we have a good squad and we will have good results," he said.

"I don't think we need analyse the performance of the individual players against Manchester City.

"Especially in the first half, I was happy with the way we played. We concede goals in the second half where we gave too much time and space to a team with great players."

Perhaps West Ham fans should take this result with a pinch of salt. The last three opening games have seen them lose 4-0 to both Manchester United and Liverpool and now 5-0 to City.

It is about time they got an easier game to begin with, but it is the next two or three that are winnable and West Ham must bounce back quickly.

Last season they failed to do that, this time round they must do better. Expectations are still high and the moaners are already out there on social media.

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