West Ham United v Manchester City
Where do I even begin to talk about the footballing spectacle that is Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City side? In the 17 years that I have been a season ticket holder for West Ham, I have never seen a team like this City side, they are by far the best team to grace the pitch in front of my eyes.
Pep’s City side certainly aren’t shy of confidence. Currently sitting top of the Premier League table and having put the ball in the net 15 times in their last 3 games in all competitions, including an impressive 3-1 win in the Manchester derby in their most recent outing, the third goal being a goal of the season contender after Ilkay Gundogen found the net after a string of 44 passes from the Manchester blues.
On the other hand, West Ham will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing result and performance away at Huddersfield Town. A game in which the Hammers played their way to a scrappy 1-1 draw after falling behind after just six minutes at The John Smith’s Stadium.
Over the years West Ham have made a habit of turning up for the big games. Chelsea winning 1 of the last 5 outings against West Ham the most recent showing of this. But I think Pep’s Manchester City are too much of a force to be beckoned with at this moment in time.
I would say i’m scared, but the feeling of being scared stems from fear of the unknown, whereas I know exactly what will happen when this game kicks off. I am always the optimist when it comes to watching a West Ham game, but this Manchester City side are too much for most teams in the world to handle, their staggering goal difference of plus 32 after 12 games speaks for itself, will this be unlucky game week 13 for West Ham? I think so.
My Prediction – West Ham 0-3 Manchester City.
FT West Ham United 0 – 4 Manchester City
I wasn’t particularly nervous ahead of kick off, I always had it in my mind that this game was going to be a mountain to climb so there was very little chance of disappointment in terms of the result, but the performance is another story.
Last season was a prime example, in the away fixture West Ham lost 2-1 after leading 0-1 at half time, which at the time was a tough pill to swallow because we came so close to doing what so few teams managed in the entire 17/18 season and take points from Manchester City, but the performance was one to be proud of because West Ham took the game to City, so there was that aspect to evade the disappointment of the result.
Whereas the home leg was the complete opposite, West Ham gifted City the points in a 4-1 defeat, I can remember being actively pissed off that I turned up to watch the game because the team certainly didn’t turn up to play it. So that was how I was feeling prior to kick off, the nerves were minimal because a result was always a big ask, but I was eager for a good enough performance so I could look back at say ‘At least they tried’.
11 minutes – Goal West Ham 0 – 1 Manchester City (David Silva)
Well, that didn’t take long. The goal itself was an unfortunate one to concede, a Raheem Sterling cross deflected off a West Ham defender and fell perfectly for David Silva in a situation he was never going to miss. As for my emotional response it was one of disappointment because I don’t think West Ham deserved to go 0-1 down so early on, especially under those circumstances. But what can you do, a team like Manchester City will always punish you there.
19 minutes – Goal West Ham 0-2 Manchester City (Raheem Sterling)
Frustration, I was very very frustrated when this goal went in. Not only did it double City’s lead but at that moment I knew the game was gone, and it was far far too easy for them. It’s hard to really put a rank on how highly this game was frustrating me, due to combination of how easy City’s goals were coming but also perhaps that is the difference in quality that they posses after West Ham. Whatever it was, at this point I was already thinking ‘There’s always next week’.
34 minutes – Goal West Ham 0 – 3 Manchester City (Leroy Sane)
The nail in the coffin before the half time whistle, fantastic. I always knew that getting any sort of result against Manchester City would be a big ask but I really didn’t want it to be a thrashing. But at 0-3 down with ten minutes still to go before the halfway point it very much looked like the game was heading that way, what else could I do other than accept it?
45 minutes in an it was West Ham 0-3 Manchester City. It certainly wasn’t ideal but this was always a real possibility. I have to say I wasn’t completely lost for words, in terms of bafflement and frustration. I know West Ham were losing 0-3 and some of the goals were potentially avoidable but for the most part I didn’t think West Ham played too badly. I definitely think that 0-3 was flattering the City performance, they’re just a team that possess so much quality that if you give them an inch of a sight at goal and they’ll take a yard and punish you for it. I truly believe that a performance at the level West Ham were showing against a weaker Premier League side and the scoreline wouldn’t be 0-3 at half time.
Going into the second half I knew it was a case of damage limitation and I just didn’t want to be on the receiving end of a 0-6 thumping that Manchester City have been dishing out for fun so far this campaign.
90 minutes – Goal West Ham 0-4 Manchester City (Leroy Sane)
It annoyed me that this goal went in. It was almost beyond added time. Throughout the second half Man City didn’t move on from second gear, much to Pep Guardiola’s visible frustration from my seat (Which is what I like about him, his standards are so high!) But alas, the last kick of the game was another Manchester City goal and another for Leroy Sane.
I was annoyed because I genuinely don’t think West Ham deserved that. For the most part I thought our attacking display wasn’t too bad, West Ham just lacked that final pass to break through the City back line. Admittedly, at times the defensive display shown by West Ham was questionable but as I have said many times throughout this post, Manchester City are a class above anyone else I have seen with my own two eyes for many years, maybe ever in the 17 years i’ve been going to the games.
Seconds after West Ham restarted the game following City’s fourth and the ref blew his whistle straight away. Final score West Ham 0-4 Manchester City.
The emotional impact of this game didn’t venture much further than a little bit of frustration. I always thought we had a chance of getting something because it’s a game of football and the result can go either way no matter what the statistics say, but I always knew it was a big ask, i’m not that naive.
I’ve seen West Ham lose 4-0 before, both at home and away (A mid week trip to Everton to watch a 4-0 drumming stands out) and those games gave me a much heavier emotional impact of devastation, but I didn’t feel that with this weekends game against Manchester City.
Man City have now won their last 3 Premier League games 6-1, 3-1 and 0-4, so they are literally scoring goals for fun at the moment, to win this game was an incredibly big ask and I knew that, the entire West Ham fan base knew that. It’s easier to lower the emotional impact of something when you can prepare yourself for it and that’s what I was, prepared.
The frustration with a side of anger I walked out of the stadium with arose because the result didn’t reflect the performance, but so many people who didn’t watch the game won’t see that, but the best way to respond is to learn from it, brush it under the carpet and prepare for the next game.
The next game is just six days away and is an away day against Newcastle. I’m not attending the game so there will be no blog post about my emotional response but there is another game just four days later when West Ham take on strugglers Cardiff City at The London Stadium.