West Ham suffered just their second league defeat of 2021 on Saturday in a 2-1 loss to Manchester City.
The Hammers put on a spirited display at the Etihad Stadium and were unfortunate to level without any points.
Michail Antonio became the first player to score away to City since a Mo Salah penalty for Liverpool on November the 8th.
It was the first time Guardiola’s side have conceded at home in over 12 hours of football. The last goal coming when Dias put into his own net against West Brom in December.
Scoring at the Eithad wasn’t the only positive to take from the match. Vladimir Coufal played incredibly well yet again. The Czech international arrived for £5million in the summer from Slavia Prague and looks right at home in the Premier League.
West Ham Zone took a closer look at his performance.
Our number five was effective in attack and defence again Saturday as we’ve come to expect from him. The man is an absolute warrior and looked absolutely gutted at full time to not take any points.
Last time the two sides met, Coufal went toe-to-toe with England superstar Raheem Sterling at the London Stadium. The winger was largely ineffective that day, but he faced a different opponent on Saturday.
Spaniard Ferran Torres was deployed on the left-hand side by Pep Guardiola. Coufal was all over him, he didn’t give the City man a sniff.
The Hammers defender made three interceptions and seven possession recoveries, whilst winning 43% of his defensive duels [WyScout]. Torres struggled to get involved in the game, and was hurled off not long after an hour had gone.
City dominated the play on Saturday, ending the match with 63% possession. When we did have the ball, it was crucial we made it count. Coufal completed 80% of his passes successfully, including a crucial ball to Lingard in the build-up to our goal.
Johnson won possession in the city half, who fed Lingard. Before he finds Fornals, Coufal was already anticipating an attacking opportunity. He dashed forward, leaving Torres nowhere to be seen.
In the absence of Cancelo, Guardiola opted for left-back Zinchenko to offer support to the City midfield. It’s a tactic Pep has deployed well this season with Cancelo. It left a lot of space down the right channel for Coufal to exploit, which he does well for the goal.
Once he got into the box, he kept a calm head and expertly picked out Lingard despite the narrow-angle. Lingard in turn dragged a shot into Antonio’s path who levelled the game. The chance wouldn’t have been possible without Coufal’s excellent forward run to exploit the space left by Zinchenko.
As well as this occasion, Coufal completed 100% of his dribble attempts successfully at the home of the league leaders. He plays without fear and always gives 100% until the end of the 90. This epitomises the West Ham way, and is helping us fall in love with our club again after what’s been a rough few years.
We can’t wait to get back into the London Stadium (never thought we’d say that) and give Coufal a heroes reception.
In other West Ham news, here are the player ratings from our defeat to City.