David Hautzig's Match Report

West Ham 1, Manchester City 4. This Could Get Uglier.

You know who would have made good West Ham supporters? The Mayans. Think about it. The Mayan calendar predicted, or at least some readers of it predicted, the end of the world in 2012 when a “Great Cycle” of its Long Count component came to a conclusion. While the world didn’t end in 2012, West Ham became the clear choice to take over the Olympic Stadium. That deal was consummated on March 22nd, my friggin birthday, 2013. So a group of people lived their lives with the end of the world marked on their ancient IPhone Reminders list.

Football wise, I can relate.

I don’t know about all of you, but I found it hard to relax and focus on what I was watching. From the opening kick, I looked for distractions. Things to do with only one eye on the television. And at least for the opening thirteen minutes that strategy worked fine. Manchester City had most of the ball, we ran around a lot, and not much happened. Kyle Walker sent a low pass across the face of goal in the ninth minute that could easily have been an opener for the visitors, but rolled away to safety. City won a corner in the 12th minute that Kouyate headed away. The least he could do considering he gave the ball away near midfield moments earlier.

I wasn’t even looking up when I heard the announcers call the opening goal by Sane. His long shot from 25 yards out deflected off the aging head of Evra and rolled behind Adrian.

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West Ham 0
Manchester City 1

It was nice to see West Ham try to fight back moments after the Sane goal. Arnautovic and Lanzini worked the ball on the right side and resulted in a decent ball towards goal that Ederson knocked away before Cresswell could get a touch. Seconds later The Hammers won a free kick from 35 yards out that City dealt with. I immediately wondered if the only hope we had was long balls to a big target in the box. I wonder who that could be?

Manchester City doubled their inevitable lead in the 27th minute when Adrian bravely came out to intercept a through ball before Sterling could get to it. The ball bounced out wide, Adrian scrambled back to his goal, and Ogbonna was able to block the initial shot at a vacant goal. But the ball ended up with deBruyne, who sent a cross from the byline that Adrian got a hand to. But he pushed the ball right at Rice and Zabaleta and bounced off the latter before settling in the back of the net. The only question at that point seemed to be how ugly the day would get.

West Ham 0
Manchester City 2

It could have been three, and maybe it should have been, when Rice tried an ill advised back pass to Adrian that barely travelled ten feet. Thankfully, I guess, Adrian won the battle with Sane to gather the ball.

West Ham were denied a goal in the 39th minute when Ederson mishandled the ball at the top of the box, and Arnautovic won it from him and put it in. The linesman called a foul and the goal was disallowed. It shouldn’t have been. Moments later Fernandes was fouled at the edge of the Manchester City penalty for what should have been a spot kick. But hey. It’s West Ham. And Manchester City. And Swarbrick.

Please.

The football gods showed some mercy to the Claret and Blue when Cresswell stepped up to take the conciliatory free kick from outside the box. Remember a few years ago when he curled one in against Newcastle at Upton Park? I wrote then that it was of such quality that he should take more. Then that French guy came and that thought went away. Well, today was just as good. Cresswell curled it over the wall and behind Ederson.

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Halftime
West Ham 1
Manchester City 2

The second half started the way one would expect. West Ham trying long balls over the City midfield to Arnautovic, and City working the ball on the ground inside the West Ham box. Guess which one worked?

Sterling got the ball inside the right side of the box. He waited for someone to make a run, and that someone was Jesus, who came into the box right down the middle. Sterling rolled the ball into his path, Zabaleta kind of tried to block it, and Jesus tucked it away.

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West Ham 1
Manchester City 3

Stupid is stupid. It just is. When Sterling went down, Cresswell took both of his legs out. It was a stonewall penalty. But Swarbrick gave a foul to West Ham. So if that’s what he and the linesman thought, it should have been a yellow to Sterling, right? No. It was just stupid, awful officiating.

And then in the 65th minute, just as West Ham were planning a double substitution, City just scored again because they wanted to. Sterling to Fernandinho. I decided to go help my son locate a Lego piece he was searching for.

West Ham 1
Manchester City 4

After an unsuccessful search for the particular Lego in question, a bit of a late breakfast, and the reclamation of some cat toys from under a bookshelf, I returned to the match. The carnage hadn’t gotten any worse, so I guess that’s a small relief.

Final Score
West Ham 1
Manchester City 4

I’ve seen more than my share of truly epic collapses in my sporting life. I once saw my college basketball team, Syracuse, lose a game in the NCAA Tournament when our star player called a timeout with seconds left and Syracuse in the lead. If he had done nothing we would have won. Problem was we had no timeouts left, Arkansas got free throws and the ball on that “technical foul” and won the game in overtime. I lived through The New York Mets blowing a seven game lead in their division with seventeen games left in the season. It was awe inspiring in its ineptitude. So West Ham going down this season would not surprise me one bit. Yes, Huddersfield have a worse run in. Yes, Southampton have to play at Everton before playing Swansea. But having lived through this stuff before, you can almost see the storm ahead.

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Run for cover, folks.

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Match Thread

Match Thread: West Ham v Manchester City

West Ham v Manchester City
FA Premier League
London Stadium
KO: 2.15pm
TV: Sky Sports
Radio: talkSport

Please comment on the game as it progresses.


Talking Point

Murdered West Ham season ticket holder to be remembered

Murdered West Ham Season Ticket Holder Sami Sidhom will be remembered this afternoon on the 18th-minute mark of the West Ham match with Manchester City with supporters inside the London Stadium joining in with one-minute applause. The club will put up a photo of young 18-year-old Sami on the big screens after consultation with his family but the applause will be fan-led initiative requested by his friends.

The Queen Mary law student from Forrest Gate was stabbed to death on his way home from the West Ham v Stoke City game on 16th April although the murder is not thought to be football related at this time. His father says Sami was not wearing his West Ham football scarf or shirt and was miles from the ground, so he doesn’t think the attack was football-related.

While the West Ham game kicks off there will also be a peace walk from the Fox and Hound pub in Forest Gate to Woolwich, organised by Sami’s neighbour, Annu Mayor. Those wishing to attend should meet at the pub at 2:15 pm on Sunday.

 Sami had been a season ticket holder in Sir Trevor Brooking upper stand block 217 since the Hammers moved to the former Olympic Stadium opened in the summer of 2016.

A 22-year-old was arrested last Monday on suspicion of the 18-year-old student’s murder but he has since been bailed to return, pending further enquiries, to a date in late May.

Officers are still asking for any witnesses or anyone with information to get in touch.

Det Chief Insp Mark Wrigly said: “I appeal to those people in the community who know what took place or who is responsible to come forward and give Sami’s family the justice they deserve.”

Anyone with information should call the incident room on 020 8345 3715 or via Twitter @MetCC.

Alternatively, you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.


Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: West Ham v Man City

Blast from the past

7th November 1959 – the first section of the M1 motorway had just been opened, Cliff Richard and The Shadows were number one with ‘Travellin’ Light’, Sweet Beat was in UK cinemas and West Ham United emerged victorious from a First Division encounter against Manchester City with a 4-1 win in front of 25,500.

The Hammers’ goals came courtesy of a penalty from Irish left-back Noel Cantwell, centre-forward Harry Obeney (pictured) and outside-left Malcolm Musgrove, supplemented by an own goal by City centre-half John McTavish. Visiting inside-forward Joe Hayes scored City’s consolation. Musgrove would end the season as the Irons’ top scorer with 20 goals from 48 games and would also be voted Hammer of the Year.

Obeney, who turned 80 last month, was originally a half-back but was converted to centre-forward around this time and came into the game fresh from scoring four in a 6-1 Southern Floodlit Cup win against Reading in his previous match. Obeney would score 16 goals in 31 appearances for the Hammers before joining Millwall in 1961. He later played for Colchester, Dover, Romford and Aveley – Romford awarded him a testimonial which was played against West Ham in October 1970.

Ted Fenton’s Hammers, who went second in the league with this win before topping the Football League with victory at Arsenal the week after, went on to finish in 14th place in the 1959/60 Division One season while Les McDowall’s City ended up two places and one point below in 16th. Burnley won the league title and Wolves won the FA Cup.

West Ham United: Noel Dwyer, Joe Kirkup, Ken Brown, Noel Cantwell, Andy Malcolm, John Smith, Mike Grice, Phil Woosnam, Harry Obeney, John Dick, Malcolm Musgrove.

Manchester City: Bert Trautmann, Bill Leivers, John McTavish, Cliff Sear, David Shawcross, Roy Cheetham, Clive Colbridge, Joe Hayes, Andy Kerr, George Hannah, Colin Barlow.

Club Connections

Pablo Zabaleta welcomes his former club. Stuart Pearce played for both clubs and has managed Manchester City – he is now an assistant coach with West Ham. England goalkeeper Joe Hart is currently on loan with the Hammers from City and is consequently ineligible to play in this game. A large group of players join them in having turned out for West Ham United and Manchester City. Divided by playing position, they include:

Goalkeepers – Perry Suckling, David James.

Defenders – Tal Ben Haim, Wayne Bridge.

Midfielders – Marc-Vivien Foe, Kevin Horlock, Patrick Leonard, James Cumming, Mark Ward, Eyal Berkovic, Steve Lomas, Frank Lampard Junior, John Payne, Michael Hughes, Ian Bishop, Trevor Sinclair.

Strikers – Bill Davidson, Carlos Tevez, Craig Bellamy, Phil Woosnam, Justin Fashanu, Trevor Morley, Paulo Wanchope, Clive Allen, Lionel Watson, David Cross, George Webb.

Malcolm Allison and John Bond were West Ham players who went on to manage City.

Today’s focus though falls on a player who has a small space in the history of both clubs – Tyrone Mears. Born in Stockport on 18th February 1983, Mears came through the ranks at Manchester City and signed trainee forms in August 2001. The right-back only made one appearance for City, replacing current Hammers assistant manager Stuart Pearce as an 84th-minute substitute in a 3-0 home win over Nottingham Forest on 30th March 2002. On Manchester City’s promotion to the Premier League at the end of the 2001/02 season, Mears’ first-team opportunities became limited and he was sold to Preston for £200,000.

After four years at Deepdale, and after Preston rejected two offers from Charlton, Mears signed for West Ham United in July 2006 for an initial £1m fee. After the departure of loanee Lionel Scaloni, Hammers boss Alan Pardew signed three right-backs in the same summer – Mears, Jonathan Spector and John Paintsil. It was Mears who got the nod for the opening day of the 2006/07 campaign, starting in the 3-1 home win over Charlton on 19th August 2006. It was to prove his first and last taste of victory in a Hammers shirt. Mears appeared as a substitute in the 2-1 defeat at Liverpool the following week before returning to the starting line-up in the 1-1 home draw with Aston Villa on 10th September – his acrobatic goalline clearance from a Stiliyan Petrov lob helped earn the Irons a point. This athletic overhead clearance can be seen in my video below.

Mears started the next two matches, both at home – a 1-0 defeat to Palermo in the UEFA Cup first round first leg and a 2-0 defeat to Glenn Roeder’s Newcastle. It was to prove his final outing for three months until his final game for the club, a substitute appearance in a 1-0 home defeat to former club Manchester City on 30th December 2006.

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After completing the signing of Lucas Neill, new manager Alan Curbishley allowed Mears to join Derby on loan in January 2007, a move that was made permanent the following summer. Mears had made six appearances in total for West Ham. After scoring for Derby against West Ham in April 2008 (a match the Hammers won 2-1 at Upton Park), he spent the 2008/09 season on loan at Marseille. Mears won an international cap for Jamaica in February 2009 but it was later revealed that Mears’ father, through whom he thought he qualified to represent Jamaica, was actually from Sierra Leone. After discovering his ineligibility to play for Jamaica, Mears petitioned FIFA to have the cap rescinded and have his ongoing eligibility to play for England reaffirmed.

Mears joined Burnley in a permanent move in the summer of 2009 and spent two seasons at Turf Moor before joining local rivals Bolton in July 2011. Mears signed for Seattle Sounders shortly after Christmas 2014 and has also played for Atlanta United. Now 35, Mears currently plays for Adrian Heath’s Minnesota United in the Western Conference of Major League Soccer.

Referee

Sunday’s referee will be Neil Swarbrick. The Lancashire-based official took charge of two of West Ham United’s highlights from 2013/14, the 0-0 draw against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and the 2-1 League Cup quarter-final victory against Tottenham at White Hart Lane. He also officiated in two league matches involving the Hammers in 2012/13, those being the 4-1 home win over Southampton and the 3-0 defeat at Sunderland. He was the man in the middle for the controversy-laden 2-1 home defeat to Arsenal in December 2014, disallowing Alex Song’s volley from distance for offside, awarding the Gunners a penalty for a Winston Reid foul on Santi Cazorla and failing to award the Hammers an injury-time penalty for a clear tug on Morgan Amalfitano. Swarbrick was also the referee for the FA Cup penalty-shoot-out triumph over Everton in January 2015, sending off Aiden McGeady in the process.

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Swarbrick’s only appointments involving the Hammers in 2015/16 were for our two trips to the North East; our 2-2 draw at Sunderland in October 2015, when he sent off Jeremain Lens, and the 2-1 defeat at Newcastle in January 2016. Two of his three Hammers matches last season saw our best two goals of the season – Dimitri Payet’s stunning solo effort in the 1-1 home draw with Middlesbrough in October 2016 and Andy Carroll’s scintillating scissor kick in the 3-0 home win over Crystal Palace in January 2017. He was the referee for our 4-0 and 4-1 home defeats to Liverpool in the last two seasons, and our 3-0 defeat at Newcastle in August. His most recent Hammers appointment was our 1-1 home draw with Crystal Palace in January.

Possible line-ups

West Ham United have loanee Joe Hart unavailable as Premier League rules mean he is ineligible to face his parent club. Spanish stopper Adrian comes in to face the newly-crowned champions. Sam Byram, Winston Reid, James Collins, Pedro Obiang and Michail Antonio are on the injury list. The Hammers have lost their two previous matches against Manchester City at London Stadium by an aggregate score of 9-0. David Moyes’ Irons have won just twice in their last 11 league fixtures, drawing four and losing five.

Manchester City will be without John Stones and Sergio Aguero. Pep Guardiola has Fernandinho available again after suspension. David Silva has scored four and assisted two goals in his six away matches against West Ham for City in all competitions, scoring in both matches at London Stadium.

Possible West Ham United XI: Adrian; Zabaleta, Rice, Ogbonna; Cresswell, Masuaku; Fernandes, Kouyate, Noble, Mario; Arnautovic.

Possible Manchester City XI: Ederson; Walker, Otamendi, Laporte, Delph; Fernandinho, David Silva; Sterling, De Bruyne, Sane; Jesus.

Enjoy the game – Up The Hammers!

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Opposition Q & A

Opposition Q&A With Manchester City

This weekend West Ham welcome the champions Man City to the London stadium for a Sunday afternoon game. They are playing the kind of football we can only dream to play, and we know what happens to our dreams! Ahead of the game I caught up with RIc Turner from bluemoon-mcfc to discuss the season, and the coming match.

Hi Ric, first off: congratulations on winning the League! It’s been coming a long time, but you must be delighted to have finally sealed it.
Yeah, it’s great to have another title in the bag, our third in seven years. As you say, we’ve known for some time that we were going to win it, but it’s nice to do it with a few weeks to spare this time rather than it going to the final day, as in 2012 and 2014! It’s been a bit more of a procession this time, unlike the rollercoaster of previous years, which is probably a good thing. Not sure I could handle another QPR/Aguero moment!

I expect you will put Guardiola up there with the likes of Big Mal, and Joe Mercer, and Mancini?
Mercer was obviously well before my time, but is still spoken about in reverential terms at the club. There will always be a close bond between the fans and Mancini, because he assured us that he would rip down “that” banner at Old Trafford, and delivered on his promise. He changed the whole mentality at the club, from losers to winners. However, there’s every chance that Guardiola will end up having an even bigger impact on the club than either Mercer or Mancini. He is a managerial genius.

It must be exciting having a manager who is so committed to playing great football, we all would like to win, but winning with style is even better.
Some of the football we have played this season has been absolutely breathtaking. We’re a joy to watch, even for neutrals I imagine, and it feels like a real privilege to be able to watch this standard of football week in, week out. Pundits wrongly believed that Guardiola would have to adapt to English football, but the reality is that English football will have to adapt to Guardiola. He’s stuck to his guns, when people were questioning his methods, and has been completely vindicated.

How is your success viewed in the red half of Manchester?
With the usual bitterness and resentment! It’s great to see them shrieking about oil money, financial doping etc. They’ve had two decades of endless success, and seem to be struggling to adapt to the new footballing landscape.

What have been the standout moments for you of the season?
The victory at Stamford Bridge early on in the season felt like a defining moment. We went to the home of the then champions and played them off the park. The 1-0 scoreline flattered them. At that point you knew we were on course to win the league, even though it was only the end of September.

Incredibly Pep seems to be making noises about clearing out some players, and boosting the squad further, who will you be sad to see depart, or even glad to see the back of? And where the hell can he strengthen your team?
Last year required an overhaul of the squad, as we had a number of players in their thirties who were ill-suited to Guardiola’s system. This summer will just see some tweaking of the squad. Yaya Toure will leave, and most likely be replaced by Jorginho from Napoli. The only other arrival is likely to be a forward, as we currently only have two strikers in the squad, both of whom have had lengthy injury absences this season.

We on the other hand are firmly ensconced at the other end of the table. Do you think West Ham can stay up, and who are your picks for the drop?
I’m certain West Ham will stay up, barring a catastrophe. I can’t see Stoke or Southampton making up six points on you over the last four games.

Hopefully all the Man City players will have been on the lash all week and we can sneak a point – how should David Moyes set us up against you?
West Ham gave us one of our tougher games at The Etihad this season, and it look a late David Silva goal to win it. It’s difficult to say what the best approach against us is. Going toe-to-toe is probably unwise, as we have greater attacking options. However, sitting back and inviting us onto you is asking for trouble too. I think you’ll need us to have an off day to get a result, I’m afraid.

You intimated last time we spoke that you’re not a big David Moyes fan, how do you rate his performance for us so far?
I actually thought he might take you down, as I think he’s a really poor manager, so assuming you stay up he has probably exceeded expectations. He surely must go in the summer though. It was such an uninspired appointment.

How do you expect Pep to set his team up against West Ham on Sunday: Team/formation?
We’ll stick to our usual 4-3-3. Probably: Ederson, Walker, Kompany, Laporte, Delph, Fernandinho, David Silva, De Bruyne, Sterling, Sane, Jesus

Prediction for score?
3-1 to us.

Well let’s hope that we can drag out a performance that will get us a point closer to safety. I’m not very confidently predicting a 1 – 1 draw. COYI

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