Man City close in on Champions League spot after West Ham win

Manchester City teammates celebrate a goal.
Lucy Bronze, Caroline Weir, Georgia Stanway, and Lauren Hemp of Manchester City celebrate against Everton at The Academy Stadium on 23 March 2022. (Photo by Charlotte Tattersall/Getty Images)

As players prepare to head off for international duty, Manchester City made the journey down south to face West Ham.

The Hammers currently sit seventh in the table, enjoying a far stronger season than last year. The Sky Blues went into the tie three points behind rivals Manchester United, with both sides battling for Champions League football.

Starting lineups

West Ham

Arnold; Cissoko, Fisk, Flaherty (c), Parker, Brynjarsdottir, Yallop, Longhurst, Hasegawa, Evans, Leon

Manchester City

Roebuck; Bronze, Kennedy, Greenwood (c), Stokes, Walsh, Stanway, Weir, Raso, Hemp, Shaw

How it went

With their visitors starting brightly, West Ham were no doubt given a scare just moments into the tie. A quick break from Manchester City saw Hayley Raso bearing down on the Hammers’ goal with Mackenzie Arnold and her defence scrambling to clear the danger. The first goal came just eight minutes in from City’s record goal scorer—a right-footed shot from 10 yards out saw Georgia Stanway fire her side into the lead.

Despite conceding the early goal, West Ham were still applying frequent spells of pressure on the visitors. A defensive error for the Sky Blues almost saw Lucy Parker bring the game back level as her shot blazed over the crossbar.

The following spell saw action at both ends of the pitch, with Gareth Taylor’s side frequently pushing their opponents back into their own half. As the first half came to a close, it was evident that City had enjoyed the stronger opening 45 minutes.

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The second half brought about more of the same as the hosts looked to find a way back into the tie. Despite several good chances, it was City who managed to find the back of the net.

A Bunny Shaw header from a Caroline Weir corner saw the visitors double their lead in the 63rd minute. As the second half drew on. the hosts began to find their footing, asking more questions of their opponents. The game eventually finished with a two goal win to the visitors, however West Ham will no doubt find plenty of positives to take into their FA Cup semi final meeting with City in just two weeks.

Welcome return

The match saw the return of Man City No.9 Chloe Kelly. The striker had been sidelined for 11 months after sustaining an ACL injury towards the end of the 2020/21 season. With 16 goals and 14 assists for the Sky Blues last season, Kelly’s absence has no doubt been felt by her team as they battle to secure a Champions League spot for next season.

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Stand out player

Alex Greenwood’s importance to the Sky Blues cannot be overstated. The defender’s work rate and consistency have undoubtedly aided her team in their climb from ninth in the table.

The No.5 is the only Manchester City defender to have been available every game this season. With City now maintaining a clean sheet in their last five matches, Greenwood’s impact in defence is undeniable.

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