The match started in a choppy fashion, with the snowy conditions affecting play. A Riyad Mahrez goal being ruled out for offside would be the lone piece of attacking quality in the first twenty minutes between the two sides fighting at the top of the table. The game would finally open up just over 30 minutes in, when a fizzing Mahrez shot deflected straight into the path of İlkay Gündoğan, and the midfielder stabbed home from point blank range to give the hosts the lead. City forward Gabriel Jesus would see his shot cleared off the line late in the half, which would be the final moment of drama through the 45 minutes of play in rapidly deteriorating conditions.
After the grounds crew scrambled to clear the snow from the pitch at HT, the pattern of play in the second half mimicked that of the first, with Pep Guardiola’s men dominating possession and controlling the tempo of the proceedings. Yet, the ‘Hammer’s’ rearguard remained solid and gave nothing away in front of Łukasz Fabiański. Despite the defending Premier League champions finding it difficult to put the game away, West Ham were unable to carve out any high quality opportunities to level the scoreline and shock the Etihad Stadium crowd. A late Fernandinho strike from the edge of the box would wrap up the three points for the home side, capping off a thoroughly controlled performance from Pep Guardiola’s men. Manuel Lanzini added a goal for the ‘Hammers’ right at the death, but it proved to be nothing but a consolation goal.
The 2-1 victory furthers City’s superb home record against West Ham, winning 15 of their last 16 tussles with the ‘Hammers’ at the Etihad Stadium. And while David Moyes’ side will be disappointed to not find a late equalizer, the East Londoners can take solace from the fact that they remain well in the hunt for a Champions League spot in the Premier League table.
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