Premier League
Manchester City  3-1 West Ham United 

Sunday, 19th May 2024
by Chris Wilkerson

David Moyes's second West Ham tenure came to an end with a 3-1 defeat that ensured it was Manchester City and not Arsenal who lift this season’s Premier League trophy.

In a game where The Hammers were somehow the third team in a two-sided game, they produced very little to give the Arsenal fans watching reason to cheer, let alone the West Ham supporters in attendance or watching at home.

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But they all got to see one of the goals of the season from Mohammed Kudus, the Ghanaian defying gravity to get his side a goal back at 2-0 down and leave the City fans a little nervous.

Forcing it to 2-1 at the break, The Hammers had given the TV cameras their hint of jeopardy, but could produce nothing to scare the champions after that.

It was a hard game to watch for the West Ham fans, their side so greatly outplayed, almost bullied by a dominant Guardiola side that never looked like taking a hand off the title.

Moyes was without Bowen for his final game in charge, replacing the forward with Cresswell and signalling the intent with a clear back five.

Any of you who had hoped to scare the league leaders on the final day got 79 seconds of resistance before the phenomenal Phil Foden took a hit from the eye of the box and found the inside of Areola's post to send the City of Manchester stadium into roaring delight, dismissing any nerves in an instant.

His was a performance to marvel at in a game that West Ham can certainly claim to have been part of. The England midfielder was majestic, unbeatable in possession, dangerous in and around the box, energetic and aggressive off the ball.

His goal was brilliant, receiving from the right and letting it roll across his body as Ward-Prowse was beaten. He took a touch out of his feet and hit it with enough fade to curl away from Areola.

City then controlled the ball and the game. All West Ham had to cheer until the 43rd minute was a good run through the middle by Emerson, and the full back still left the ball behind after beating two men and ruined the opening be had created.

The hosts pushed for the two-goal cushion. Doku was a menace, his pace in close quarters quite staggering. He forced a good save from Areola moments before making the second goal.

A minute after Rodri had missed the target in a good position, Foden did much better with a harder chance, but it was all about the assist.

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Doku flew down the left wing, but rather than driving at goal, he suddenly squared into a gap for Foden in the box. The ball was perfect, right between Zouma and Ward-Prowse, and Foden swept it into the far corner from 10 yards out to give the blue half of Manchester some relief.

They forced two more good saves from Areola, as well as seeing Haaland fail to sort his feet out to tap in a third, and they were absolutely cruising before Kudus flipped the script just before the break.

Having forced a good save from Ortega after creating a chance for himself, he took it one step further after a corner found its way to the far post.

It popped up, and Kudus was inspired. He flicked the ball higher into the air and then leapt up to scissor kick the ball at head height, smashing it off his left foot from eight yards. It was close to Ortega in the City goal, but the power he generated was too much for him and City now had a little something to think about going into the break.

Haaland missed another sitter before the half-time whistle came, Doku squaring it to the six-yard-box only for the striker to get under the ball and flick it over the bar.

It was only 2-1 at half time, but City's nerves were there, forced on them by themselves more than anything West Ham were doing.

The Hammers had moved to a back four at some point. It didn't really matter, Manchester City came back out and just took their ball back and kept it.

After death by a thousand passes, City finally did finally find that third goal right on the hour mark.

Having moved it around the set West Ham defence, back-and-forth in front of a packed group of 10, eventually they saw their gap.

De Bruyne, so often the man to add thrust to their play, fired it into Silva's feet in the area. The Portuguese midfielder instantly cushioned it to the edge of the area to Rodri, and it was him who hit a low drive at goal, through bodies, that seemed to catch Areola a little off guard.

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Moving to his right, the goalkeeper couldn't get enough on the shot that went low to his left. He got a hand onto it and probably should have saved it, but could only help it on its way into the back of the net.

The stadium erupted once more, that two-goal cushion the breathing space they felt they needed.

It pretty much ended the game. There was a hint of late drama after Soucek diverted one into the back of the net, but you knew it had hit his arm before VAR proved it, due to the fact the midfielder didn't do his spinning celebration.

Earthy, Ings and Alvarez all got late minutes, but the season ended as weakly as the second half of it deserved.

Having missed last week, these pages would like to go on record thanking David Moyes for his time at the club. Whilst the change itself felt right, there is no joy in it here.

What I wanted more than anything was for David Moyes to carry on being the best option for this club. Others will feel he was, and the debate will likely still continue for many more months.

Regardless, the man has been a breath of fresh air, an unqualified success, a better person than the club's fans and its owners have deserved for much of his time here. He restored pride, not just through the virtue of winning, but winning with grit and determination, winning through shared virtues and honest work. He has punched above his weight and it would have been hard to truly deny he deserved more time to do it again.

Football isn't always about what's right and what you deserve, and now is time for the next manager to try benefit from all of the good Moyes has done, even if we can be realistic that this squad is not left in a great place. Still, there will be very few West Ham managers in history who would complain about walking into a team that finished 9th.

The win last weekend was the send-off, this was just fulfilling the Premier League duties. Remember Moyes for the good times, just like you'll remember this match for the Kudus goal.

Cheers, Davie.

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Manager's Rating

David Moyes 10/10: Because why not? He's deserved more from me this year, let alone some of the pathetic talking heads who have attacked him online.

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Player Ratings

Alphonse Areola
Some good saves, but should have stopped the third. A very good season for the Frenchman, arguably the second best player at the club this year.

Vladimir Coufal
Stuck to his task gamely but was mostly destroyed by Doku.

Emerson Palmieri
His form fell off during Paqueta's absence and hasn't ever gone back to where it was.

Konstantinos Mavropanos
One or two very good interventions and the defence looks much better for his athleticism in there, even if he lacks the tools of a top defender.

Kurt Zouma
Could be the end of Zouma's career here? It feels like the club would like it to be, but who pays those wages?

Aaron Cresswell
Another who should be saying goodbye, but looks like he may get the chance to stay one more year. Not embarrassed here.

Tomas Soucek
The ever willing Soucek worked hard and tried hard but West Ham were outclassed the whole way.

James Ward-Prowse
As above, really. He's a player who is always going to be exposed as a step slower than such brilliant footballers.

Lucas Paqueta
Less dramatics, but no real impact. Felt like a failed audition.

Mohammed Kudus
Single-handedly made the game watchable for West Ham fans. At times, he was spinning and beating three or four of City's best all on his own, and the goal was pure brilliance.

Michail Antonio
Given nothing to play with and was just a bit of a spectator.


Edson Alvarez
(Replaced Emerson, 71) Got himself booked, which felt fitting considering how many he's had this year.

George Earthy
(Replaced Antonio, 81) A name that should appear on more match reports next season.

Danny Ings
(Replaced Paqueta, 86) Hopefully, this is goodbye. He's always tried, so no hatred should ever be spread. He's just not good enough.

Lukasz Fabianski
Did not play.

Ben Johnson
Did not play.

Kaelan Casey
Did not play.

Angelo Ogbonna
Did not play.

Maxwel Cornet
Did not play.

Divin Mubama
Did not play.

Match Facts

West Ham United: Alphonse Areola, Vladimir Coufal, Emerson Palmieri, Konstantinos Mavropanos, Kurt Zouma, Aaron Cresswell, Tomas Soucek, James Ward-Prowse, Lucas Paqueta, Mohammed Kudus, Michail Antonio.

Goals: Mohammed Kudus 42                  .

Booked: Edson Alvarez 0          .

Sent off: None.

Manchester City : Ortega, Walker, Dias, Akanji (Aké 71), Gvardiol, Rodri, De Bruyne, Silva, Doku, Foden (Kovačić 90+1), Haaland.

Subs not used: Carson, Stones, Grealish, Álvarez, Nunes, Bobb, Lewis.

Goals: Foden (2, 18), Rodri (59).

Booked: .

Sent off: None.

Referee: John Brooks.

Attendance: 55,097.

Man of the Match: .