A frustrating 1-1 draw at West Ham meant Manchester City’s floundering start to the Premier League campaigned continued on Saturday evening.
The Citizens went behind courtesy a Michail Antonio overhead kick in the 18th minute and their ponderous play created precious little in their efforts to pulled off a comeback victory.
After dropping points against Leicester City and Leeds United already this season, they surrendered another two on this occasion with second-half substitute Phil Foden’s effort only managing to salvage a draw.
Man City’s expected goals (xG) per match:
•2017/18 – 2.41
•2018/19 – 2.47
•2019/20 – 2.69
•2020/21 – 1.36
Many talking about Man City having defensive issues, but suddenly Pep now has a new issue regarding their chance creation in the final third. pic.twitter.com/uyZulB4gpk
— Premier League Panel (@PremLeaguePanel) October 24, 2020
CITY RECORD VS WEST HAM
On paper, this shouldn’t have been a contest. City have had the beating of West Ham several times over, particularly at the London Stadium.
Over their last five visits, City scored past West Ham 22 times and conceded just once.
A defeat for the Hammers in their latest clash with Pep Guardiola’s side would’ve equalled a club record 10 successive losses against the same opponents.
However, a dramatic 3-3 draw against Tottenham last week put a spring in West Ham’s step and helped them take the lead on Saturday. After all, they became the first team to avoid defeat after trailing by at least three goals as late as the 81st minute.
What transpired was another hard-fought performance from David Moyes’ troops who proved difficult for City’s possession-based style to dismantle.
NO SECOND HALF SERGE
Sergio Aguero hasn’t looked himself this season as he battles to regain match fitness. The striker has not scored a Premier League goal in eight matches with his last strike in England’s top flight coming against Sheffield United in January.
He was anonymous in the first half, dropping far too deep and posing no threat at all. Guardiola ejected him from proceedings during the break and replaced him with Foden, although he later revealed the switch was injury-related.
The England youngster’s clever movement enabled him to pop up in pockets of space which were rare to come by in this encounter. Six minutes after the restart, he had done just that inside the box to equalise, swivelling and firing into the bottom corner.
However, City’s inability to fight back has become a common theme. Following this result, they have failed to win any of the last 10 games in which they trailed at half-time, losing eight and drawing two.
Manchester United’s suspect defending has been scrutinised early on this season but their neighbours have been guilty of similar transgressions as well.
After surrendering possession cheaply against FC Porto in midweek, City failed to get close to Luis Diaz who proceeded to run across a host of sky blue shirts unchallenged before finishing into the bottom corner.
Against Leeds United earlier in the month, they were carved open repeatedly and then conceded the equaliser from a corner that saw Ederson come off his line and flap at thin air. Three clumsy penalties were given away at Leicester City last month where they were trounced 5-2.
But Antonio’s goal on Saturday might have been the most scathing indictment of their frail rearguard yet. The West Ham striker comfortably held off £64.3m summer signing Ruben Dias when Vladimir Coufal whipped a cross in.
The Portuguese centre-back barely troubled the forward who had his back to goal but still managed to get off a clean overhead kick with a first-time shot that found the back of the net.
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