West Ham suffer another humiliating home defeat to Manchester City
PUBLISHED: 21:54 01 February 2017 | UPDATED: 21:54 01 February 2017
PA Wire/PA Images
The Hammers suffered deja vu as City cruised to a four-midable victory at the London Stadium
West Ham United 0 Manchester City 4
It’s official. The Hammers will not have to play Manchester City any more this season.
And that will be music to Slaven Bilić’s ears after his out-of-tune team hit all the wrong notes once again against Pep Guardiola’s on-song side.
Having already beaten the Hammers 3-1 at the Etihad and 5-0 in the FA Cup at the London Stadium, the visitors produced another master-class, in another one-sided game that was, yet again, all over by the break.
There was no sign of what was to come in the opening quarter-of-an-hour but two goals in four frantic minutes by Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva put the visitors in control, before Gabriel Jesus struck the killer third just before the break.
Although the Hammers stopped the rot after the break, they still could not prevent City from extending their lead midway through the second half, when Yaya Touré converted from the penalty spot after debutant José Fonte had tripped Raheem Sterling.
With the Hammers having waved au revoir to Dimitri Payet, it had been time to say bonjour to new signings Fonte – who came in for Angelo Ogbonna (knee) - and substitute Robert Snodgrass as the beleaguered Bilić made just one change following his side’s welcome win at Middlesbrough last time out.
And after Sterling fired skipper Silva’s early, half-cleared corner wide from 20 yards, West Ham’s own Michail Antonio also let fly from similar range but Willy Caballero saved and then the galloping Hammer broke clear only to be shepherded away from danger by the recovering John Stones.
City had returned to the capital in buoyant mood following their FA Cup victory at Crystal Palace on Saturday and, getting back to Premier League action, Guardiola made three changes to his fifth-placed side, who kicked off six rungs and 15 points ahead ahead of Bilić’s boys.
De Bruyne, Stones and Nicolás Otamendi each came back into the starting line-up in place of substitutes Fabian Delph, Vincent Kompany and Sergio Agüero but after that fairly even opening quarter-hour, the visitors quickly accelerated into a two-goal lead.
On 17 minutes, Aaron Cresswell’s sloppy infield pass was intercepted on the halfway line and the retreating, red-faced, once-capped England left-back found himself wrestled to the floor by Sterling as referee Kevin Friend allowed Jesus to continue his run into the Hammers area, where he presented De Bruyne with the simplest of tap-ins.
Pedro Obiang was then harshly booked as Sterling hit the lush London Stadium turf and with Jesus also seeing yellow for having waved an imaginary card, Silva sent the consequent 18-yard free-kick over both the West Ham wall and Darren Randolph’s goal-frame.
Just as City had destroyed the Hammers FA Cup dreams with a quick-fire blast in early January, then Guardiola’s men again stunned the Hammers with another lightning raid, a mere four minutes after breaking the deadlock.
This time, Leroy Sané nut-megged Sam Byram before outpacing Fonte on his way to the by-line and, although Randolph parried the left-sided cutback, Silva ghosted in at the far post to also notch his fifth goal of the campaign.
When Andy Carroll released Cresswell on the half-hour mark, the claret and blue fans had visions of seeing the deficit halved but with Caballero advancing from his line, the full-back could only hook the ball over both the City ‘keeper and the crossbar.
That miss signalled the end of any comeback for, on 39 minutes, more calamitous defending saw Sofiane Feghouli and Obiang contrive to concede possession to De Bruyne and that led to Sterling breaking free and, after drawing the helplessly-exposed Randolph, he unselfishly squared to Jesus, who gratefully rolled home his first goal for City since his £27m transfer from Palmeiras.
With Manuel Lanzini having earlier been cautioned for felling Silva, De Bruyne also followed the Argentinian into the book for battering Byram as a painful first-half for the Hammers finally drew to an excruciating close.
With the paint on their dressing room wall no doubt peeling from a Bilić blast, the Hammers were sent out for the restart long before City and, after Sterling was booked for tripping Carroll, Snodgrass and Edimilson Fernandes replaced Obiang and Feghouli midway through the second period.
But within moments of that double-switch, West Ham found themselves four goals adrift after Fonte foolishly upended Sterling as he chased on to De Bruyne’s throughball and, although Randolph guessed correctly, he could not prevent Touré’s low spot-kick from squeezing inside his right-hand upright.
In reply, Antonio had an effort ruled out for offside, while Snodgrass forced Hammers first corner of the game with ten minutes remaining, but like most of the West Ham United fans in the rapidly diminishing crowd of 56,980, this match was long gone.
HAMMERS: Randolph, Byram, Cresswell, Reid, Fonte, Obiang (Snodgrass 64), Noble, Feghouli (Fernandes 64) Antonio, Lanzini, Carroll (Fletcher 79). Unused subs: Adrián, Collins, Calleri, Quina.
CITY: Caballero, Kolarov, Sagna, Otamendi, Stones, Sané, Silva (Delph 79), Touré, De Bruyne (Fernandinho 68), Sterling (Agüero 73), Jesus. Unused subs: Bravo, Kompany, Zabaleta, Navas.
Bookings: Obiang (19), Jesus (19), Lanzini (24), De Bruyne (43), Sterling (60), Carroll (71)
Referee: Kevin Friend
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