Five things we learned from West Ham United v Manchester City

West Ham United's Michail Antonio has a shot at goal

After losing 3-1 to Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium in the Premier League, we take a look at what we learnt about West Ham United.

West Ham United's Enner Valencia in action with Manchester City's David SilvaWest Ham United's Enner Valencia in action with Manchester City's David Silva

West Ham United lost 3-1 to Manchester City at the Etihad in the Premier League but will feel things should have been very different, especially after Sergio Aguero appeared to elbow Winston Reid.

West Ham will feel that they were hard done by when in the 76th minute Aguero raised his elbow at Winston Reid but the incident went unpunished as referee Andre Marriner did not show Aguero even a yellow card.

Having pulled a goal back from Michail Antonio in the 58th minute, Slaven Bilic would have thought this would be the turning point, but City then went on to score a third goal late on with Raheem Sterling adding his second of the game.

With West Ham struggling at the start of the season and having been knocked out of the Europa League at the qualifying stage we take a look at what we learnt from West Ham in their loss to Manchester City.

1. Michail Antonio deserves his England call-up

Antonio this season has been West Ham’s standout player and has thoroughly deserved his call-up to the England squad this week.

Against City Antonio turned the game on its head with his goal in the 58th minute. Up until that point City had dominated West Ham and Antonio gave us a reminder of why he looks like one of the best right-backs in the Premier League right now, remarkable considering he is a converted winger.

West Ham United's Michail Antonio scores their first goalWest Ham United's Michail Antonio scores their first goal

2. West Ham are lacking a cutting edge

Against Manchester City, West Ham proved what we already know, they need options going forward and simply do not have them at the moment.

Bilic started with Enner Valencia and Ashley Fletcher up front and neither provided the firepower needed to trouble City. But a bigger concern is that both Jonathan Calleri and Manuel Lanzini came on at some stage in the game and made little impression. The question that West Ham supporters will now be asking is can Simone Zaza give West Ham the goals that are needed to repeat the kind of league position that was so well deserved last season.

3. Dimitri Payet is sorely missed

West Ham need Dimitri Payet back to full fitness and fast. Since the start of the season West Ham have been lacking that creative spark, something Payet has in abundance, and against Manchester City they needed something.

While West Ham could not be faulted for their effort against City, they need a piece of magic, that something special and whilst Payet can not guarantee that spark, when on the field he at least gives you the possibility that it can happen.

While the displays of Mark Noble, Cheikhou Kouyate and Gokhan Tore were not West Ham’s only negatives, Bilic would have wished he could have called upon the talents of Payet to rescue the Hammers in what has been a problemtic week for his side.

West Ham United's Dimitri Payet warms up before the matchWest Ham United's Dimitri Payet warms up before the match

4. West Ham are showing fight in a problematic week

The last week has been one Slaven Bilic and his West Ham side will want to forget. Having been knocked out of the Europa League by Astra Giurgiu at the qualifying stage for the second consecutive season, and now having slipped to 12th in the league, it will be a week he will not look back on fondly.

But, that being said, against Guardiola’s City side West Ham showed fight and determination. Most sides would have surrendered to the pressure that City put West Ham under, but rather than just take it lying down, West Ham stood up to the challenge and had they been more creative going forward and been more potent in front of goal they may have left the Etihad Stadium with more than just a determined performance.

5. Andre Marriner was not there when West Ham needed him

The talking point of the game will undoubtedly be Aguero’s alleged elbow on Winston Reid. In the 76th minute Aguero appeared to elbow Reid, but as the referee, Andre Marriner, did not book or send off the Argentine it can only be assumed he did not see the incident. West Ham will feel that this was the turning point in the match and had the referee seen the incident the result could have been very different.

Such was the amazement that the incident went by without action, that is was best summed up when the Guardian reported Mark Noble, the West Ham captain, claimed Reid was left speechless by the challenge. “I didn’t see it, to be honest. I didn’t know what it was about,” he said. “I know he [Reid] couldn’t talk [in the dressing room]. He said it was because he had got something in the throat.”

Asked if Agüero had elbowed Reid in the Adam’s apple, Noble said: “I know that he can’t talk in there so that must be the case.”

West Ham's Angelo Ogbonna and Cheikhou Kouyate look on as Winston Reid lies on the pitch after sustaining an injuryWest Ham's Angelo Ogbonna and Cheikhou Kouyate look on as Winston Reid lies on the pitch after sustaining an injury

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