City red hot even in snowstorm as they see off West Ham
It was a dominant performance from Manchester City as they saw off West Ham 2-1 at a snow-drenched Etihad Stadium. City was their usual self, controlling most of the proceedings and keeping the ball well. An Ilkay Gundogan goal in the first half and one from Fernandino in the 90th minute was enough for them to win the match without much of a fuss, even though Lanzini struck late into the extra-time and pulled on back for the Hammers.
City fielded a strong line-up, only two changes from their previous match against PSG with Phil Forden and Jack Grealish ruled out dure to injury. Ruben Diaz was deployed in defence for John Stones and Bernardo Silva started on the right. West Ham had six changes with a line-up much changed from their previous match against Rapid Wien, with Zouma, Johnson and Creswell lining up in the defence and Rice starting instead on Noble in the middle, Fornals on the right with Benrahma slotting in behind Michail Antonio upfront.
It was just another day on the pitch for city who dominated the snow-covered pitch, troubling West Ham throughout and creating a lot of chances. The Hammers defence was constantly under pressure as City kept on attacking, and an effort from Walker narrowly missed the net in the sixth minute. Mahrez slotted in the ball in the 15th minute, but was ruled off-side. City maintained the tempo and intensity, and the deadlock was soon broken as Gundogan slotted in a Mahrez pass to make it 1-0. A goal line save from Jonson later kept the score line same. The Hammers too had a few moments of their own, Antonio hitting the side netting and Cresswell’s free-kick hitting the wall.
The second half was delayed after the pitch had to be cleared of the snow. City was still on a roll in the second half, continuing to dominate their opponents. They kept the ball moving and constantly taking the ball forward, but had to wait till the 90th minute to score, with a goal from Fernandinho stamping the game as City’s. A short corner and Antonio losing the ball near, Jesus gets into the box and pulls it back to Fernandinho was unmarked in the box and plants an accurate finish into the bottom left hand corner. West Ham pulled one back in the 94th minute as Lanzini unleashed a beautiful dipping shot that hit the inside of the post and bounced into the net. But it was too late for a comeback as the referee blew the final whistle, with City bagging all three points. City will be travelling away to Aston Villa on Thursday, and The Hammers taking on Brighton.
Haridev M V