West Ham survived a late onslaught from Manchester City to beat the Premier League champions 2-1 on Saturday.
Goals in each half from Morgan Amalfitano and Diafra Sakho put Sam Allardyce’s in-form side in control against an under-par City at Upton Park, only for a brilliant individual effort from David Silva 13 minutes from time to set up a grandstand finish.
Manuel Pellegrini’s men threw everything at West Ham in the closing stages, but a stoic rearguard action from the hosts’ defence – marshalled superbly by James Collins – ensured West Ham ended a five-and-a-half-year wait for a victory over City.
Allardyce claimed in the build-up that this game represented West Ham’s best opportunity to end their winless run against City, due to the combination of his team’s good form and the champions’ midweek exertions in Europe, when Pellegrini’s side drew 2-2 at CSKA Moscow.
And so it proved, as City struggled to cope with West Ham’s energetic pressing game – exemplified by nobody better than on-loan Barcelona midfielder Alex Song, who was outstanding throughout.
It was no surprise when Allardyce named an unchanged XI from last week’s 3-1 win at Burnley, and the hosts – who have now lost just one of their last six Premier League games – looked full of confidence from the off.
Victory means West Ham now sit just one point adrift of second-placed City, for whom the result represents a blow in their efforts to keep pace with table-topping Chelsea.