West Ham Slows Down Manchester City’s Title Charge
Manchester City fought back from 2-0 down to claim a 2-2 draw with West Ham United on Sunday, staying four points ahead of rivals Liverpool who have a game in hand on the Premier League leaders.
West Ham started with Michail Antonio in attack, with Jarrod Bowen and Pablo Fornals supporting on the wings. City had Gabriel Jesus upfront, supported by Jack Grealish and Algerian Riyad Mahrez.
After City defender Oleksandr Zinchenko lost track of Jarrod Bowen, the West Ham forward raced on to Pablo Fornals’ pass over the top and took it round City goalkeeper Ederson for a clinical finish in the 24th minute.
The hosts continued to pile on the pressure and were rewarded just before half time in dramatic fashion.
Bowen added another in the 45th minute when Antonio sent him through with a clever pass, and the English forward’s low strike from the edge of the box found the bottom corner of the net.
City bounced back in the second half after playmaker Grealish scored for the visitors in the 49th minute with a volley after Rodri headed a high ball over to him in the box to make it 2-1.
West Ham had the chance to add their third goal in the 65th minute when a loose back pass from Fernandinho sent Antonio through on goal, but the Jamaica forward sent his shot over the bar.
The hosts were left to rue the missed chance as they conceded an own goal, with West Ham defender Coufal heading a cross from Mahrez into his own net in the 69th minute.
A penalty was then awarded to Manchester City after Craig Dawson brought down Gabriel Jesus in the penalty box. The visitors had the chance to claim all three points with the spot kick.
Mahrez could have become City’s hero in the 86th minute, but his spot-kick was kept out by keeper Lukasz Fabianski.
The result guaranteed West Ham European football next season as they stayed seventh on 56 points.
Liverpool play at Southampton on Tuesday and City had the chance to open a six-point lead at the top, but the draw at the London Stadium left them four points above Juergen Klopp’s side with one game left.
Victory on the final day at home to Aston Villa would guarantee City their fourth league title in five seasons, regardless of Liverpool’s results against Southampton and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Asked if he had a message for Southampton in his post-match press conference, Guardiola replied: “I would say, beat Liverpool four-zero!”
“The big, big privilege we have is that, at home, it’s in our hands. We don’t have to look at anything else other than ourselves. We just have to give everything,” Guardiola added.
“I said [to the players], ‘Don’t be sad today because we gave a really good performance. It’s fair, against this opponent, to arrive at the last day to decide who gets the title because both teams are so good'”.
— Manchester City (@ManCity) May 15, 2022
Premier League results
Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 Burnley
Aston Villa 1-1 Crystal Palace
Leeds United 1-1 Brighton & Hove Albion
Watford 1-5 Leicester City
West Ham 2-2 Manchester City
Wolves 1-1 Norwich City
Everton 2-3 Brentford
Chidi Nwoke/Reuters/Manchester City.