Manchester City one win from Premier League title after dramatic draw at West Ham

Guardiola's side battle back from two goals down but miss out on victory after late penalty miss from Mahrez

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Manchester City are one victory away from retaining their Premier League title after a dramatic 2-2 draw at West Ham United at the London Stadium on Sunday.

The Hammers deservedly went in at half-time two up, with both goals coming from Jarrod Bowen, as City produced a strangely laboured performance.

In the week they announced the signing of Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund, City struggled to deal with West Ham's No 9, Michail Antonio, and were unsettled by Bowen's direct running.

Pep Guardiola's side battled back after the break with Jack Grealish scoring four minutes into the second half before Vladmir Coufal headed into his own net in disastrous fashion to level the game.

And the comeback looked complete five minutes from time when City earned a penalty kick after Craig Dawson fouled Gabriel Jesus.

But Hammers goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski saved Riyad Mahrez's penalty that meant City would have to settle for a draw that leaves them four points ahead of Liverpool, who take on Southampton with their game in hand on the south coast on Tuesday.

City, though, know that victory over Aston Villa at the Etihad Stadium on the season's final day next Sunday means they will be crowned champions once again. Liverpool bring their season to a close at home to Wolves.

“Now there is no debate about goal difference, just win our game and we will be champions,” Guardiola said.

“Our stadium will be sold out and we will give all our lives to do it. It's an incredible chance to win one game to be champions.

“We have the desire and wish to win the game and the title. We proved it against Wolves and today.

“It's in our hands. The debate is over. Do the best game we can do. I encourage all the blue people in Manchester, they go to the street, go to the stadium. We will give everything. They will be so proud.”

Asked if he was hoping for a favour from Southampton, Guardiola added. “I would say 'beat Liverpool 4-0' but it doesn't matter. If I am home, I will take a look on television.

“We couldn’t expect different with this Liverpool – they are almost the perfect team. We didn’t expect to win the title with three, four or five games to spare. We’ve both done an exceptional season.”

City started the game without Ruben Dias, John Stones and Kyle Walker and a makeshift defence was easily cut open on the counter-attack.

Bowen burst on to Pablo Fornals' ball over the top to round Ederson and put City behind in a league game for the first time since February.

City did not learn their lesson as Bowen broke the offside trap once more in the final seconds of the first half to fire low past Ederson.

The champions were rattled but responded to keep the destiny of the title in their own hands.

Grealish has yet to live up to his £100 million ($123m) price tag, but came up with his important City goal so far in the 49th minute to get the comeback started.

“Jack Grealish's goal was an incredible finish and that helped us a lot,” added Guardiola. “He was more involved in the second half and he was perfect.”

West Ham still had huge chances to restore their two-goal lead as Bowen hit the side-netting from a narrow angle and Antonio's lob drifted wide with just goalkeeper Ederson to beat.

City had fortune on their side to get level when Coufal turned Riyad Mahrez's free-kick into his own net.

But Guardiola's men missed the chance to complete the comeback and move to the brink of the title when City were awarded a penalty following a VAR referral when Dawson brought down Jesus. Fabianski, though, guessed the right way and parried away Mahrez's effort.

It would have been cruel on Hammers veteran Mark Noble, who came on in the second half to make what will be his final home appearance for the club where he has spent his entire career. Noble, 35, retires this summer after playing 567 games in all competitions for West Ham, scoring 63 goals.

“It is a great result for us,” said manager David Moyes, whose team sit seventh in the table. “We’d have taken a point before the game because we were playing against an incredibly good team – I always thought we’d be in the game but they were so good with the ball and it was a job to stop them only scoring two to be honest with you.”

Updated: May 15, 2022, 4:34 PM
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