West Ham offered very little going forward as Manchester City easily saw us off in their first game since being banned from European competition for two years by UEFA.
We managed only six touches in the opposition area, and failed to register a single shot at goal until Michail Antonio blasted over with 15 minutes left.
Defeat sees us remain in the relegation zone, a point adrift of safety after a run of six league games without a win and with a trip to Anfield looming on Monday as our next test.
It would have been understandable if UEFA’s sanction, plus the widespread criticism of the club that has followed and the continued speculation of what it all means for the future of Guardiola and his squad, had affected the focus and feelings of City’s players.
If it has distracted them, then they did not show it against West Ham. Aided by the industrious David Silva and the steady presence of Rodri, De Bruyne pulled the strings in midfield, and also made his 17th league assist and scored his eighth league goal of what has been a stellar individual season with a rasping shot from a tight angle.
While City’s issues are well documented, we have our own problems and our own apocalypse scenario – otherwise known as relegation – remains a realistic fate.
While we did not collapse at the back in the manner we did when we threw away victory against Brighton in our last outing, there were few positives here to cheer our band of travelling fans. Far fewer made the trip north than would have done for the original fixture on 9 February, which was postponed because of Storm Ciara.
Those that did saw David Moyes’ side deliver a performance that ended as meek surrender, having appeared from the start to be merely an exercise in damage limitation. There were few moments when we posed any sort of threat, and our lack of attacking intent was summed up by our meagre total of three efforts at goal, none of which were on target.
The longer we remain in the bottom three, the more pressure will build on Moyes and his men, so it’s a real worry that they head to Anfield next.
“Probably not as close as we’d like but I felt the players did a great job in trying to be organised and disciplined. We did it well for long periods but they move the ball so well. Overall I would have liked to have seen us play much better with the ball and especially on the counter attack. Our pass or ball was not good enough or we gave it away when we were trying to set up a move, but we were playing against a top team. We all know that roughly 40 points keeps you in the Premier League but we also know that we are in a really tough period of games. Goal difference also comes into the thinking.”West Ham boss David Moyes on Match of the Day