15th May, 2022
Manchester City came from two goals to draw 2-2 with West Ham but Premier League title rivals Liverpool were handed hope thanks to Riyad Mahrez’s late missed penalty.
The Reds celebrated an FA Cup triumph on Saturday and their chances of an unprecedented quadruple looked very much alive after Jarrod Bowen’s double put West Ham 2-0 up at the break.
Yet Jack Grealish pulled one back for City who, despite more shaky defending, drew level when Vladimir Coufal headed into his own goal.
The stage looked set for Mahrez to seal a brilliant comeback win when Craig Dawson’s foul on Gabriel Jesus was spotted by VAR, but Lukasz Fabianski made a strong save to keep Liverpool, who are four points back with a game in hand, in the title hunt.
City had control of possession early on but West Ham were dangerous on the counter and that tactic paid dividends in the 24th minute when Bowen beat the offside trap, rounded Ederson and coolly squeezed home.
A shocked City initially struggled to respond, though Jesus’ dipping shot almost found the bottom-left corner in the 36th minute.
Yet West Ham struck again before the interval – Bowen engineering space on the edge of the box and drilling a crisp finish beyond Ederson.
City’s response came inside four minutes of the restart, Grealish’s volley deflecting in off Dawson.
Grealish brilliantly teed up a chance for Bernardo Silva that drew a superb stop from Fabianski, though shambolic defending might have cost City had Bowen or Michail Antonio being more clinical.
West Ham were made to pay with 21 minutes left – Coufal heading Mahrez’s free-kick beyond Fabianski.
Aymeric Laporte diverted a goal-bound Bowen shot wide before City were awarded a golden opportunity to win it when Dawson brought down Jesus.
Mahrez stepped up but Fabianski guessed the right way, much to Pep Guardiola’s frustration.
What does it mean? Going down to the wire
City would have moved six points clear with a win, and though Liverpool have two games remaining, they would have required a significant swing in goal difference.
As it is, Liverpool – who face Southampton on Tuesday – might well be relying on an old Anfield hero, as Steven Gerrard takes his Aston Villa side to the Etihad Stadium on the final day of the season.
West Ham, who said goodbye to Mark Noble as he came on for his final home appearance in the second half, are now sure of seventh place and European football next season and could still pip Manchester United to sixth.
Brilliant Bowen forever blowing bubbles
Bowen is the fourth West Ham player to score 10+ home goals in a single Premier League campaign after Tony Cottee in 1994-95, John Hartson in 1997-98, and Paolo Di Canio in 1999-00, while only Harry Kane (26) has scored more goals in all competitions amongst Englishmen in the Premier League this season than the Hammers’ winger (18).
Mahrez fluffs his lines
Mahrez has been reliable from the penalty spot this season and is enjoying a fine campaign, but in a clutch moment, the Algeria winger failed to deliver. His penalty was struck hard, but too close to Fabianski, who did react well to make the save to his left.
City round off their season against Villa, while West Ham visit Brighton and Hove Albion in their final game.