Goals from Georgia Stanway and Khadija Shaw gave Man City all three points as the West Ham fall to second consecutive defeat.
City are peaking at just the right time. They could be considered as the best side in the country right now, and in the end West Ham will be pleased that the score line finished as it did. City’s attacking patterns were complex but never convoluted and Olli Harder will know the score line failed to reflect the emphatic nature of their opponents’ domination.
Georgia Stanway’s first half goal put the Citizens ahead before Khadija Shaw scored her 14th goal of the season when she headed Caroline Weir’s corner past Mackenzie Arnold from close range. West Ham did have opportunities to trouble Man City but failed to capitalise on their openings. Alex Greenwood was the outstanding player on the pitch as her passing ability allowed the visitors to control the match for long periods.
Olli Harder made two changes to the team that lost to Brighton last weekend as Lisa Evans and Lucy Parker came into the starting eleven. Abbey-Leigh Stringer took her place on the substitutes bench and Katerina Svitkova missed the match through illness.
Claudia Walker and Emma Snerle returned to the squad after testing positive for Covid-19 last week. West Ham captain Gilly Flaherty made her 100th appearance for the club.
It was the visitors who had the first chance of the game when Lucy Bronze’s pass put Khadija Shaw in behind the West Ham defence. Shaw’s right-footed effort was well saved by Mackenzie Arnold.
The Citizens made their pressure count moments later. Hayley Raso’s cut back from the right side of the penalty area found Stanway unmarked in the box. Stanway made no mistake as she expertly rolled the ball beyond the reach of Mackenzie Arnold and into the bottom left corner.
West Ham improved after conceding the first goal and an Adriana Leon header almost got them back level. Leon rose high above her marker to meet a cross from the left wing, but her header flew just wide of the post.
Greenwood and Alanna Kennedy’s composure at the heart of the Manchester City defence made them dominant.
An outstanding tackle from Flaherty prevented City from extending their lead just before half time. Shaw looked as if she would roll the ball past Arnold when the ball fell to her on the edge of the West Ham six-yard box, but Flaherty timed her slide tackle to perfection to stop the City forward from getting on the scoresheet.
Harder made one change at half-time as he introduced Claudia Walker in place of Tameka Yallop.
The Hammers wasted a great opportunity to draw level ten minutes into the second half. Adriana Leon was played clean through on goal by Dagny Brynjarsdottir, but before she could reach the ball, an offside Claudia Walker took the ball off her feet, drawing an understandably frustrated reaction from her teammate.
City scored their second goal in the 61st minute when Shaw guided Weir’s corner past the Hammers keeper, Arnold. Shaw’s goal was her 9th in her past 11 matches.
Lauren Hemp went close again when her left footed effort drew another good save from Flaherty in the 90th minute. Hemp’s effort seemed destined for the top corner, but the West Ham goalkeeper was equal to it.
West Ham now have two weeks to prepare for their FA Cup semi-final against the same opponents. Harder will know that his team must improve if they are to make it to their first cup final since 2019.