|match review copied from www.theguardian.com|
Manchester City and David Silva dig deep to break Hart-less West Ham
Jamie Jackson at the Etihad Stadium
Date Published Sunday 3 December 2017 18.18 GMT
Manchester City again frustrated Manchester United by grabbing a late victory and all three points. The score showed 1-1 and the clock 83 minutes when Pep Guardiola’s men produced yet another dramatic winner.
Kevin De Bruyne nonchalantly flicked over a ball from the right and there was an acrobatic David Silva to hit home. This sent the Etihad Stadium into raptures, made it nine points claimed in the closing eight minutes of matches this season, and ensured City remain eight points ahead of United. The 175th Manchester derby is up next, at Old Trafford on Sunday, and José Mourinho’s men must surely win that to keep their title hopes realistic.
As Vincent Kompany and Fernandinho are a booking away from a ban, Guardiola rested them with an eye on the derby. Leroy Sané was included, despite also being one yellow card from a suspension, as Eliaquim Mangala, Silva and Danilo also came in and Ilkay Gündogan and Gabriel Jesus also started on the bench.
For West Ham David Moyes was forced to leave out Joe Hart, who is a City loanee, and the injured Winston Reid. Dropped were André Ayew and Marko Arnautovic, with Adrián, Declan Rice, Edimilson Fernandes and Michail Antonio all named.
Moyes fielded a five-man defence and the early sense was that attacks would consist of a lump-it approach that hoped to capitalise on Antonio’s directness. It was via this route that West Ham claimed their first corner, along the right, after Antonio drove forward into the channel. Aaron Cresswell took it, found Cheikhou Kouyaté’s head, and City panicked for a moment as Antonio was free to connect but could not direct the finish.
Fabian Delph said of West Ham’s approach: “Our intensity was there but when there were 11 men behind the ball who aren’t interested in attacking and just parking the bus – it was difficult.”
Yet when West Ham played the quick stuff City love, they, too, posed a problem. Manuel Lanzini and Arthur Masuaku combined down the left, the latter sent over a low cross, and a brief mix-up between Ederson and Mangala almost allowed Antonio to capitalise before the goalkeeper grabbed possession.
Moyes’s hopes of trying to stymie City worked as the first half progressed and the home side struggled for tempo and rhythm. Having decided to surrender the initiative, both territorially and via the manager’s selection, West Ham gradually edged into the contest. Lanzini warmed Ederson’s fingers and won a corner. While nothing came of this, any fear the strugglers might concede early were unfounded, the match remaining at deadlock as the 40-minute mark came and went.
Sixty seconds before the break, proceedings became far better for West Ham as they took the lead. When Cresswell took a short corner from the right City slumbered and Lanzini had an age to return the ball. The left-back’s delivery found the head of Angelo Ogbonna and though Nicolás Otamendi might have got closer, the finish allowed Ederson no chance as the Italian claimed a first Premier League goal.
West Ham’s lead was deserved but to turn things around Guardiola brought on Jesus for Danilo and now Sergio Agüero had a central attacking partner.
Yet the Argentinian, who has 11 goals in 15 appearances but has been less prolific since being in a taxi crash in the Netherlands in late September, would prove muted throughout. Guardiola said: “It is not easy for him with 10 players there, almost no space. Sooner or later, he is going to come back. His part in the season was top before the accident in Amsterdam.”
While the aim of introducing Jesus was to pin the visitors back, instead City were forced to defend an early second-half corner. They did so and now the home crowd found their voice and the sky-blue shirts came close to an equaliser. Delph, Sané, Jesus and Silva swapped passes along the left before Raheem Sterling’s shot was repelled.
Now, though, City made the breakthrough, created by the effervescent Jesus. The Brazilian did admirably to squeeze in a low pass from the right and Otamendi, positioned where you would expect to find a centre-forward, beat Adrián with a poacher’s finish. This was the Argentinian’s fourth goal in his last 14 games, a fine return for a centre-back.
Adrián was performing impressively in Hart’s absence. Next, he ensured his team stayed level by flinging himself to the left to keep out a Sané rocket. West Ham’s previous solidity had evaporated and they were engaged in an increasingly desperate rearguard action.
The contest had quickened, to City’s benefit only, but just as David de Gea sparkled in United’s win at Arsenal on Saturday, so too did Adrián. After stopping a De Bruyne effort he then denied Jesus, as West Ham continued to cling on.
Ultimately, though, they failed to do so courtesy of the Silva finish, though Diafro Sakho missed a golden chance right at the end to snatch a draw, Antonio had also missed one moments before the Spaniard’s game-winning intervention.
Guardiola can now prepare for the trip to Kharkiv for Wednesday night’s final Champions League group game against Shakhtar Donetsk. “After the international break, we had four games and we were able to win all four games against physical teams,” he said. “Tomorrow is recovery and regeneration and then we go to Ukraine.”
MATCH FACTS, RATINGS, TABLE AND MATCH ZONE
Manchester City (4-3-3) Ederson 6; Walker 6, Otamendi 7.5, Mangala 5, Danilo 5 (Jesus 46, 8); Delph 6.5, De Bruyne 7, D Silva 7; Sterling 6.5, Aguero 5.5 (Fernandinho 85), Sane 6 (B Silva 90)
Subs not used: Bravo, Toure, Gundogan, Kompany
Goals: Otamendi 57; Silva 83
Booked: De Bruyne 59; Jesus 90+5
Manager: Pep Guardiola 6.5
West Ham (5-3-1-1) Adrian 7.5; Zabaleta 6.5, Rice 7, Ogbonna 7, Cresswell 6.5, Masuaku 7; Fernandes 7, Obiang 6, Kouyate 6 (Sakho 43, 6); Lanzini 6 (Arnautovic 69, 6); Antonio 7 (Ayew 88)
Subs not used: Trott, Martinez, Quina, Johnson
Goals: Ogbonna 44
Booked: Rice 17; Adrian 90+4
Manager: David Moyes 6.5
Referee: M Dean 7