Man City 2-1 West Ham. By James Nalton at Eastlands
ANOTHER late rally from Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City saw them secure a win against a much-improved West Ham side. Goals from Nicolas Otamendi and David Silva were enough to claim all three points after Angelo Ogbonna had given David Moyes’s Hammers a first-half lead.
An Aaron Cresswell cross had almost produced an unlikely goal for the visitors in the opening 10 minutes of the game, when his corner was headed on by Cheikhou Kouyate and almost turned in at the far post by Michael Antonio.
City were dominating possession, but their opponents were creating the better chances.
Indeed, they ended the first half with more shots on target, one of which found the back of the net just a few minutes before half-time. Cresswell played a short corner to Manuel Lanzini and on receiving the return pass the Englishman whipped one into the box onto the head of the towering Ogbonna. The centre back’s header was too strong for City goalkeeper Ederson to handle.
The disappointing opening period encouraged Pep Guardiola to make a half-time change, bringing striker Gabriel Jesus on for left-back Danilo. Brazilian replaced Brazilian to change the dynamic of the side as Fabian Delph moved from midfield to provide some control on the left which was lacking in the first half.
Jesus’s introduction paid off just over 10 minutes into the second half as he crossed for Otamendi to turn home. From this moment onward City were more direct, and there seemed to be more fire in their shots than before, though the majority of them still came from outside the area.
Delph linked up with Jesus to very nearly produce the
perfect outcome from Guardiola’s half-time change, but the striker’s shot was saved by Adrian.
City pressed for the winner, and as had seemed inevitable on a run of games which has seen them win 12 in a row, they eventually found it to make it 13.
Kevin De Bruyne calmly lifted a cross to the far post where Silva was lurking to turn the ball home, giving compatriot Adrian no chance as he sent the ball back across goal into the far corner.
It was yet another late winner from a side who are getting into the habit of claiming three points in the dying moments of games and this, combined with the occasional goal-fest, is making them uncatchable at the top of the table, and clear favourites for the title.