In the seventh instalment of our Match Review series, we take a look at a Premier League match and explain the turning points that made the difference. In this edition of Match Review, we take a look at the Premier League match between Manchester City and West Ham, which took place on November 28. Whether you’ve seen the game in full or not, you’re sure to enjoy this article.
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Pre-game analysis: A game we can’t afford to lose if we want to stay on top
Pre-match analysis: a game we can’t afford to lose if we want to stay up
On November 28, Manchester City took on West Ham at the Etihad Stadium, the home of Manchester City, in the 13th round of the Premier League.
After a 0-1 defeat at the hands of Tottenham in the opening game of the season, Manchester City have managed to improve their record to 8 wins, 2 draws and 1 loss. They are second in the table. Despite the lack of an ace striker, the team has scored 25 goals, the third most in the league. They have also conceded the fewest goals, with five, which is second best in the league. Josep Guardiola’s team has a good balance between offence and defence.
Nevertheless, they are still behind leaders Chelsea in the table, both in terms of goals scored and conceded. The only thing Josep Guardiola’s side can do is win again. They have to win this one if they want to stay at the top of the table.
West Ham, on the other hand, are in a great position, fourth in the league. Last season, when they finished sixth in the league and qualified for the Europa League, that was a good enough season for them, but to finish fourth, ahead of the mega clubs like Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham, is an achievement. But to finish fourth, ahead of mega clubs Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham, is an achievement in itself.
They will be away from home and at the Etihad Stadium, a difficult place to play, but they will be hoping to bring home some points and consolidate their position at the top of the table.
This is a game that neither team can afford to lose if they want to stay up. Manchester City will be looking to break down the opposition in possession, while West Ham will be looking to score on the counter-attack.
Here’s a look at the starting line-up.
Manchester City made three changes from the previous game against Everton. Gabriel Jesus plays up top, Mahrez on the wing and Ruben Diaz at centre-back.
West Ham made just one change. West Ham made only one change, bringing on Arlol Masuaku on the wing, who is more of a side-back.
Manchester City vs West Ham – a hotly contested match in heavy snow
The top of the table clash between Manchester City and West Ham took place under heavy snowfall. The basic pattern of the game was Manchester City in possession and West Ham on the receiving end. Manchester City had more than 70 percent of the possession.
However, due to the snow and poor pitch conditions, Manchester City were not able to turn the ball around as much as they would have liked and West Ham were unable to break them down. The away team had a couple of good chances on the counter-attack but failed to capitalise. The game remained static for the next half hour.
In the 33rd minute of the first half, the game got underway. Riyad Mahrez took possession on the right flank, cut in with his left foot and sent a sharp ball into the far corner, where it struck a defender and fell to Ilkay Gundogan. The German midfielder calmly slotted the ball home to give the home side the lead.
Despite the lead, the game remained tightly contested from then on. See the stats below.
|９||Shots on target||３|
Manchester City’s dominance of the game was not reflected in the actual match. The score remained 1-0 until the end of the second half.
The score remained 1-0 until the last minute of the second half, when Manchester City took advantage of West Ham’s defensive frailties.
In the 89th minute of the second half, Rhodri won the ball high up front and passed to Bernardo Silva, and the Portuguese midfielder went straight through to Jesús. The Brazilian forward then cut in with his right foot and crossed to Fernandinho, who was free. The Brazilian forward cut in with his right foot and crossed a grounder to Fernandinho, who slid the ball inside for Manchester City to add to their tally.
West Ham pulled one back in stoppage time through Manuel Lanzini, but the fightback was short-lived. Manchester City won 2-1 at home in heavy snow.
So how did Manchester City come away with the three points? Let’s take a look at one of the turning points in the game.
Pep’s brilliant leadership
The turning point of the match was the performance of Manchester City manager Josep Guardiola, better known as Pep.
Firstly, the inclusion of Riyad Mahrez in the starting line-up. After Phil Foden on the left wing against Everton in the previous game, Guardiola opted for Raheem Sterling on the left and Riyad Mahrez on the right.
This time, Raheem Sterling on the left and Riyad Mahrez on the right, with Mahrez able to dribble through the defence in anticipation of West Ham’s deep defence. It was Mahrez’s cut-in cross that set up the opener.
But that was not the only good performance from Pep. In the closing stages of the game, Pep brought on Fernandinho to strengthen the defence in anticipation of West Ham’s attack. It not only prevented a West Ham counter-attack, but also resulted in another goal.
West Ham manager David Moyes has done well to keep his side in the top half of the table with a lesser squad than the mega clubs, but for this game, Guardiola had the better of the game.