West Ham 0-4 Manchester City
The sense of deja vu was overwhelming for those watching the latest episode in the series of games between these two teams.
Just as in the recent FA Cup game, West Ham began in promising style, only to crumble after 20 minutes to another crushing defeat. The only plus point was that the visitors scored one less goal this time.
West Ham manager Slaven Bilic was at a loss to explain why West Ham have done so poorly this year against the top teams, when last season they defeated many of them. “Sometimes you turn the game around as we did against Arsenal last year but it is more likely to be like this,” said Bilic, who felt his side gave the ball away too much in vital areas.
He refuted the claim that games against top sides like Manchester City should be seen as bonus points if sides like West Ham got anything out of them. “This is not a bonus game, it is three points. Now we have to make it up on Saturday,” said Bilic. “We bounced back after Arsenal (1-5 defeat), after City in the Cup (0-5) and now we need to do it again.”
The home team began the game well enough, containing City in midfield but that all changed after 15 minutes, as the visitors high intensity pressing game bore fruit.
Kevin De Bruyne began the move from the middle of the field, surging forward to exchange a one two with Gabriel Jesus and drive home from just inside the area.
Four minutes later, the impressive Leroy Sane took the ball to the byline before crossing back in for the waiting David Silva to drive home.
West Ham had a chance to get back into the game, when Andy Carroll conjured a cross field pass that found Aaron Creswell in space but the defender’s attempted lob over the advancing keeper was poor and went behind.
The home side were made to pay before half time when Pedro Obiang gave away the ball to Sane outside the area. He released Raheem Stirling, who put Jesus clear to pass the ball into the net.
The final goal came in the 65th minute, when the impressive De Bruyne’s through ball, set Stirling free. He was hauled down by debutant Jose Font, resulting in a penalty that Yaya Toure duly converted.
City manager Pep Guardiola was pleased with his sides performance, particularly the way they pressed and controlled the game. “Simple balls creating chances,” said Guardiola, whose team clearly enjoy playing at the London Stadium.