Phil Foden came off the bench to spare spluttering Manchester City’s blushes as the England midfielder rescued a 1-1 draw against West Ham on Saturday (Oct 24).
Pep Guardiola’s side fell behind to Michail Antonio’s superb overhead kick in the first half at the London Stadium.
Foden came on at half-time and produced an instant equaliser, but City couldn’t deliver the knockout blow and have now won just one of their last four Premier League games.
Injury-hit City without Fernandinho, Aymeric Laporte, Nathan Ake and Gabriel Jesus, rarely reached peak form in the latest of a growing list of inconsistent displays.
While Arsenal and Porto were beaten in their previous two matches, City still don’t seem to have completely recovered from their 5-2 thrashing by Leicester in September.
They are already five points behind leaders Everton, who play Southampton on Sunday, and look more vulnerable than at any time since Guardiola’s first season in charge.
Tricky trips to Marseille and Sheffield United next week will provide a further test of just how determined City are to recover the all-conquering form that swept them to the title in 2018 and 2019.
After fighting back from 3-0 down at Tottenham with three goals in the last 10 minutes in their previous match, this was another encouraging result for West Ham.
Raheem Sterling scored a hat-trick in City’s 5-0 win at West Ham last season and his penetrating run laid on an early chance for Sergio Aguero, whose shot was deflected wide.
Aguero was the provider when he ran onto Joao Cancelo’s defence-splitting pass and crossed for Riyad Mahrez to volley over under pressure.
Guardiola named an unchanged line-up in consecutive games for the first time since October 2017, but City still lacked rhythm and they fell behind to Antonio’s moment of magic in the 18th minute.