Soft penalty, Baptism by fire for Johnson & more- Talking points from Man City v West Ham

Man City followed up their Carabao Cup win over the weekend with a 1-0 triumph over Manuel Pellegrini’s West Ham at the Etihad on Wednesday evening. It kept the Citizens in the race for the title, with the defending champions only one point behind leaders Liverpool, who hammered Watford 5-0 at Anfield.

Let’s take a look at the key talking points from this City v West Ham clash

A soft penalty to give away: Many expected City to boss this game, and few would’ve expected them to score just a single goal at the Etihad against the Hammers, and that too from the penalty spot. Coming into this game, City had scored 2 or more at home in EACH of their last fifteen games.

WHUFC starting lineup v Man City 2019

But that’s how it panned out, with West Ham’s defence and goalkeeper Fabianski resolutely keeping City at bay until a soft penalty conceded by Felipe Anderson allowed Sergio Aguero to score from the spot. Pellegrini accused Bernardo Silva “of throwing himself onto the floor” after the game and even the television pundits agreed that it was harsh on West Ham. As a fan, it gets tough to stomach such decisions, especially against top teams, like it happened against Liverpool a few weeks ago. Yes, City did dominate the stats, but the Hammers might have hung in for a point had Stuart Attwell not blown his whistle in favour of the home side for the penalty.

Young Ben Johnson debuts for the Hammers: A right back by trade, young Ben Johnson was asked to do a tough job by Manuel Pellegrini on Wednesday night. With Aaron Cresswell injured and Arthur Masuaku not in the squad, the 19 year old was given his debut against the league’s best attacking side, and in an unfamiliar position at left back. To his credit he handled himself quite well, but before an injury saw him being replaced by Pablo Zabaleta.

City record under Attwell and Pep’s record v Pellegrini continue: City had never lost a Premier League game with Stuart Attwell as referee and neither had Pep Guardiola against his opposite number Manuel Pellegrini. Both records stayed intact and this 1-0 was City’s sixth consecutive league win against the Hammers.

Substitutes turn the game City’s way: As mentioned above, City dominated possession and shots. It took nearly a quarter of an hour for Samir Nasri to even get a touch of the ball, and West Ham got their first shot only in the second half. But the home side failed to find a way through until the introduction of Bernardo Silva and Raheem Sterling from the bench turned the game in their favour. Sterling had more shots on target than Leroy Sane and Riyad Mahrez put together, and it was Silva who earned the penalty that Aguero converted.

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