West Ham extend unbeaten run with Manchester City draw
PUBLISHED: 15:08 24 October 2020 | UPDATED: 15:08 24 October 2020
PA Wire/PA Images
Premier League: West Ham United 1 Manchester City 1
The hard-working Hammers extended their unbeaten Premier League run to four games with this delightful, determined and deserved draw against City at London Stadium.
So often a happy hunting ground of rich-pickings for the men from Manchester, Pep Guardiola’s side did not have it all their own way this time around as Michail Antonio gave West Ham United an 18th minute lead with his spectacular overhead kick.
But half-time substitute Phil Foden levelled on 51 minutes to set up an intriguing second-half in which David Moyes’ boys found themselves both doggedly defending and cleverly counter-attacking in equal measure, before both sides ended up sharing the points.
With nine straight defeats against City, history was certainly stacked against the Hammers, who had lost their five league and cup encounters against the visitors at London Stadium by an aggregate score of 1-22 but at least they came into this encounter buoyed by back-to-back victories over Wolverhampton Wanderers and Leicester City plus last weekend’s thrilling 3-3 draw at Tottenham Hotspur.
Unchanged from the side that sent the East End into ecstasy with Manuel Lanzini’s last-kick leveller on Sunday afternoon, for once in a Blue Moon, West Ham - in 10th-spot - started above Guardiola’s 11th-placed team in the Premier League table.
Indeed, not since 2009 had they found themselves ahead of the visitors, who, despite having substitute Kevin de Bruyne available, were also unchanged from Wednesday evening’s Champions League victory over FC Porto, who - post transfer window - had named on-loan Felipe Anderson on their bench.
The Brazilian’s temporary departure to Portugal had coincided with the arrivals of Saïd Benrahma and Craig Dawson but neither of the new boys featured in the match-day squad of Moyes, who saw his men weather a bout of early pressure as City forced two corners, while João Cancelo and Ilkay Gündogan fired long-rangers wide.
At the other end, the Hammers had twice tried to release Jarrod Bowen down the right-flank but, on 18 minutes, it proved third time lucky when the No.20 popped up in the box to lay off to the supporting Tomáš Souček, whose tenancity saw him keep the ball in play before passing back to Czech-mate, Vladímir Coufal .
And the £5million new boy from Slavia Prague delivered an inch-perfect right-wing cross towards the penalty spot, where Antonio held off City’s record £61million summer signing Rúben Dias before executing a textbook overhead kick that flew past the statuesque Ederson, to claim his third goal of the season.
Having taking that lead against the run of play, West Ham then almost doubled their advantage when Antonio raced clear but the No.30 was denied a second by Eric Garcia’s last-ditch tackle.
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In reply, Riyad Mahrez scooped an angled attempt into Łukasz Fabiański’s gloves ahead of Garcia carrying the ball forward, unchecked, and drilling inches wide of the base of the left-hand upright from 25 yards, to leave the men in Claret & Blue departing at the break with their spectacular lead intact and, for the moment at least, sitting in the heady heights of third place.
Guardiola introduced Foden for the restart as the hitherto anonymous Sergio Agüero, clearly still returning from last season’s knee injury, stood down for the day and the newly-arrived substitute took just six minutes to mark his entrance with a goal.
Seconds after Coufal had been booked for chopping Cancelo, the City full-back dusted himself off before galloping down the left flank and sending a low cross to the edge of the six-yard box, where Foden cleverly pirouetted between Angelo Ogbonna and Fabián Balbuena ahead of slotting past the helpless Fabiański.
To make matters worse for West Ham, Antonio was forced to retire as Andriy Yarmolenko stepped from the dug-out to see both Foden, Kyle Walker and Cancelo try their luck from range before de Bruyne replaced Bernardo Silva midway through the second period, too.
Yarmolenko had seen his dipping 20-yarder clear the bar but with City still pressing in numbers and the Hammers defending deeper and yet deeper, Sebastién Haller also came on for Bowen as Moyes attempted to give his defenders and midfielders an outlet.
Ogbonna’s foul on Raheem Sterling gave de Bruyne the chance to try his luck with the consequent free-kick but the alert Fabiański held the 25-yarder stinger before then clawing away another curling effort from the Belgian.
Now heavily reliant on counter-attacks, the hosts had a great chance to catch City out, when Yarmolenko released Pablo Fornals, who raced free from halfway but the Spaniard meekly chipped into Ederson’s clutches, while Fabiański then denied the escaping Sterling with his thigh.
Having defended like a man-mountain alongside central-defensive partner Ogbonna throughout a frantic finale, even Balbuena found himself bulldozing upfield in one last Hammers hurrah but deep in City territory, the Paraguayan merely ended up collecting a yellow card for his gallant efforts after over-running the ball into Dias.
That, though, was typical of the fighting spirit shown, yet again, by West Ham United, who left the field, where they had started - still above Manchester City in the table - ahead of next Saturday evening’s tricky trip to Anfield, where they face reigning champions Liverpool.
HAMMERS: Fabiański, Balbuena, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Coufal, Masuaku, Rice, Souček, Bowen (Haller 68), Fornals, Antonio (Yarmolenko 51). Unused subs: Randolph, Lanzini, Noble, Diop, Fredericks.
CITY: Ederson, Walker (Zinchenko 78), Cancelo, Garcia, Dias, Rodri, Silva (de Bruyne 68), Gündogan, Mahrez, Sterling, Agüero (Foden h/t). Unused subs: Steffen, Stones, Torres, Palmer.
Booked: Coufal (51), Balbuena (90+1).
Referee: Anthony Taylor.
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