03-Dec-2017 16:06:24 | The Guardian
6 min: David Moyes once faced Pep Guardiola in a Champions League quarter-final!
4 min: City are being allowed to do as they please at the moment. West Ham are sitting back and standing off them. They’ve set their stall out already. City win a corner. Silva whips it to the near post and Mangala heads wide under pressure. At which point we get a replay of Sterling’s penalty appeal. There was nothing in it. In fact, it was a bit of a dive from the winger.
3 min: Delph has a pop from 30 yards. No.
2 min: De Bruyne takes the corner short and the ball’s eventually worked into the feet of Sterling. He tries to wriggles through on the right and falls to the turf, turning to Mike Dean and claiming that his heels have been clipped. The referee isn’t interested.
Peep! Off we go. Manchester City, in light blue, get the game underway. West Ham are in navy. City are attacking from left to right in the first half and West Ham are immediately into their 10-0-0 formation. Aguero curls a cross to the far post from the left and Masuaku heads behind for a corner.
Pablo Zabaleta is given a great reception by the Manchester City fans. Maybe Leroy Sane will take pity on him.
There’s talk that West Ham are lining up with a back three. On Sky, Jamie Carragher is asked what he’s expecting from them. “Not much.” The teams are out. We’ll be underway soon.
Not that he was to blame, but Adrian was in goal when West Ham lost 6-0 away to Manchester City in their League Cup semi in 2014. Can they go one better today?
David Moyes speaks! He notes that West Ham will have to defend well and score some goals. “We’ve made a couple of changes. Two were enforced. Winston Reid was injured and Joe Hart can’t play. We need to make it as hard as possible for them. We’re without at least three centre-halves today. We’re without two or three senior ones who we could have done with. We’re in a difficult run of games. I’m here a couple of weeks and we’ve got a couple of biggies coming up.”
What’s the earliest you’ve ever left a game in disgust? Mine is Bolton 4-0 West Ham in December 2006. I walked out when Alan Pardew, who was about to be sacked, subbed off Carlos Tevez after an hour. Kevin Davies had just scored his second.
Andre Ayew cost £20m! Marko Arnautovic cost £24m! West Ham have seven outfield players missing and those two are still on the bench!
Once you’ve seen a couple of relegations, you can spot the warning signs. Stupid signings. Not enough signings. A miserable start despite a promising run of fixtures. Throwing away points late on. Hammerings. A lack of team spirit. Awful defending. An injury crisis. No fit strikers. Prima donna players. And above all, a failure to realise how bad you are until it’s too late.
Manchester City make four changes to the team that beat Southampton on Wednesday. In come Eliaquim Mangala, Danilo, David Silva and Leroy Sane, out go Vincent Kompany, Fernandinho, Ilkay Gundogan and Gabriel Jesus. It’s a fairly strong starting 11. Watch out for Leroy Sane, though - the winger’s a booking away from a ban and the Manchester derby is next week.
West Ham also shake things up after their midweek disaster at Goodison Park. Expensive misfits Andre Ayew and Marko Arnautovic are dropped after poor performances against Everton. Michail Antonio starts up front, Edimilson Fernandes comes into a packed midfield, Adrian replaces the ineligible Joe Hart and young Declan Rice replaces the injured Winston Reid in central defence. This is not a line-up to inspire confidence about West Ham’s chances. They’ve arrived in Manchester with a yawning injury list - Sam Byram, Andy Carroll, James Collins, Jose Fonte, Javier Hernandez, Mark Noble and Reid are all out - so there are four untried academy players on the bench. Poor Moyesie.
Manchester City: Ederson; Walker, Otamendi, Mangala, Danilo; Delph; Sterling, De Bruyne, D Silva, Sane; Aguero. Subs: Bravo, Yaya Toure, Gundogan, Fernandinho, B Silva, Jesus, Kompany
West Ham: Adrian; Zabaleta, Rice, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Obiang, Fernandes, Kouyate; Lanzini, Antonio, Masuaku. Subs: Trott, Johnson, Quina, Sakho, Ayew, Arnautovic, Martinez.
Hello. There was a time when Manchester City and West Ham were spiritual companions, separated by geography but united by farcical tendencies and the irritation of having to live in the shadow of wealthier neighbours. Not so much any more, though. That kind of relationship no longer exists. One party has been life behind to fester in their limitations. For while Cityitis has been eradicated by a combination of oil riches, Catalan genius and a very clever Belgian who’s known as Ginger Kev in Manchester, West Ham remain a ragtag bunch, so bad at this football business that they’re capable of being beaten out of sight by David Unsworth’s Everton, so incompetent they let Wazziesta score a hat-trick against them.
This one could get ugly. It could be the footballing equivalent of Homer Simpson pummelling the Hamburglar to death. “Stop! Stop!” we’ll cry, perhaps in the 27th minute, or maybe the 28th. “They’re already dead.” To put it in context, to can get better odds on City winning this 8-0 than West Ham winning 1-0. That might sound absurd, but there’s no failure of logic here. Consider the evidence. City have scored roughly one million goals this season, while West Ham have conceded roughly one million goals and are winless under their inspirational new manager. These are their results since David Moyes replaced Slaven Bilic: 0-2, 1-1, 0-4. They are 19th, have the worst defensive record in the league and have players so slow they’d probably lose a race with a Teletubby.