West Ham musings by Pete May, author of Hammers in the Heart, West Ham:Irons in the Soul, Flying So High:West Ham's Cup Finals and Goodbye to Boleyn
Thursday, February 2
Jesus punishes West Ham for defensive sins
West Ham 0 Manchester City 4
After two wins we enter the London Stadium dreaming of
vengeance for our 5-0 FA Cup defeat. Fraser has ten cigars, just in case,
Alison has ended her strike and returned to the fold, while we’re also joined by Michael and Lisa. Though Nigel has had a narrow escape, as he misses the
match through being tied up with Theresa May and Brexit.
West Ham start off fairly well and win several second balls.
It takes until the 17th minute for the gentleman behind us to come
out with his first, “Get up you tart!” The ref does seem to be treating City
with too much respect.
But it all starts to resemble a rewind of the Cup game when Cresswell
plays a terrible pass inside to De Bruyne. The lino misses the fact Cressy is
fouled trying to get back, but De Bruyne punishes the error by playing a
one-two with Jesus and strokes home the first. Four minutes later Sane nutmegs
Byram, powers past Fonte and crosses for Silva to score. It’s all over by
half-time as Obiang’s poor ball to Feghouli is intercepted by Sane. He plays in
Sterling, who lays on the cross for Jesus to score as the Hammers claim
The Hammers’ only chance comes when Carroll does well to
find Cresswell, only for the left-back to scoop over the bar. City have dropped
Aguero and their young front line of Jesus, Sane and Sterling have been
sensational, but it’s still far too easy for them. There are huge gaps between
our exposed full-backs and the centre backs and this was surely a game to
revert to a back five rather than 4-4-2.
We’re joined at half-time by an irate Matt who is
complaining about another wasted transfer window. Not even the news that Vera
Lynn has a new album out can boost him, though he does suggest that at
100-years-old she is in the age bracket that might appeal to our owners.
Fonte fouls Sterling in the box and Toure nets the spot kick
after 67 minutes and then it's just a case of can we avoid another five-goal defeat.
Still it’s not as if anyone has to follow this with a night train to Cornwall —
apart from Steve the Cornish postman that is.
CAN THEY PLAY US EVERY WEEK?
Michael suggests that we have become the Premiership’s
low-grade bullies; great at giving Hull and Palace a Chinese burn, but meekly
handing over our dinner money whenever confronted by the big boys. Alison says
she’s once again in a room full of really angry men and wonders if, having
missed the Chelsea and Palace games, she’s a bad weather supporter.
The only slight positive is that Antonio keeps trying and Snodgrass
comes on and gets in a decent cross or two. And the fans appear to be getting
used to the London Stadium. There’s a rousing “We are West Ham’s claret and
blue army!” at 4-0 down and some gallows humour “oles” as we put together three
passes in the 94th minute.
So it’s off through the Tunnel of Doom to the King Edward
where we’re greeted by a terrible karaoke singer doing I Guess That’s Why They Call it the Blues. “Just when you thought
the evening couldn’t get any worse…” mutters Michael. We’re joined by a
moribund Gavin and things are so bad that despite the karaoke Fraser, Michael
and Gav decide to stay for a third pint at 11pm and risk the night bus. The
only consolation is that we don’t have to play Man City again this season.