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Manchester City leapfrogged Arsenal into second place in the Premier League standings with a hard earned point at the Boleyn Ground against a battling West Ham United side that came perilously close to nicking all three points with the last touch of the game.
West Ham took advantage of some lax defending from Man City to twice go ahead in the contest with Enner Valencia scoring both of their goals, only to be pegged back on both occasions by the brilliance of Sergio Aguero, who also hit the post and missed a chance in injury time to seal a win for City.
West Ham United made three changes to the side that lost to Newcastle United last week with Winston Reid, Alex Song and on-loan Gunner Carl Jenkinson recalled to the starting eleven. January signing Sam Byram was named on the Hammers' bench. Manchester City meanwhile made four changes of their own with French defenders Bacary Sagna and Gael Clichy restored to the starting eleven, as were Yaya Toure and Jesus Navas.
West Ham made a lightning quick start to the game with Enner Valencia slicing home a shot under Joe Hart inside the first minute after Dmitri Payet played Cheikhou Kouyate down the left wing. West Ham were ahead in 53 seconds as Manchester City were caught cold at the back with Yaya Toure guilty of letting Kouyate run past him, and the ball deflecting off a Man City defender before making its way to Valencia, who finished well, though Hart probably should have done better.
Sergio Aguero almost got Man City back on level terms virtually immediately lobbing Adrian in the West Ham goal, only to see his effort beat the keeper, but come back into play off the post.
City though were behind only for 8 minutes with Aguero drawing a foul inside the box from Jenkinson, and then stepping up and take the corresponding spot kick to level the match at 1-1. Jenkinson injured himself while making the challenge and was immediately replaced by debutant Sam Byram.
There were no more additions to the scoreline in the first half, but Joe Hart did produce a save worthy of any occasion, producing a very strong left hand to turn behind Dmitri Payet's goal bound freekick. The freekick was a result of Martin Demichelis hacking down Michail Antonio with the winger seemingly through on goal. There were covering defenders on offer from City, and the veteran Argentine escaped with just a booking, though the Hammers felt that Antonio's pace would have put him through on goal, and Demichelis should really have seen red.
Manchester City were a little unfortunate not to take the lead in the 54th minute when Fabian Delph burst into a yard of space and lashed a left-footed effort against the woodwork with Adrian once again well beaten.
City were left to rue their bad luck 2 minutes later as West Ham restored their lead as some smart play from a throw in saw Man City caught sleeping at the back once again, and Enner Valencia showed good upper body strength to protect the ball from Nicolas Otamendi before sliding home past Hart to make it 2-1 for the Hammers. Credit though to Antonio for picking out his teammate with an inch perfect throw and for his smart thinking to even attempt it. The winger, making up for missing a good chance at the far post as he rose highest to meet Mark Noble's cross.
The goal advantage meant that West Ham started to drop deeper at the back and invite pressure from Man City, but there were still chances being created at both ends.
Manchester City's pressure finally yielded an equalizer as Sergio Aguero showed an excellent touch to finish a move after a ricochet fell kindly for the Argentine after substitute Kelechi Iheanacho made a nuisance of himself inside the box.
Aguero looked rather disgruntled with his equalizer after having got very little quality service from his teammates, but the Argentine should have won it at the death for City, hitting an 8 yard effort straight to Adrian in the West Ham goal after having been found by a right wing cross.
It was then West Ham's turn to think about what might have been as Payet's freekick high up the pitch was perfectly met by the head of Kouyate, only for the crossbar to deny the midfielder what would have certainly been a match-winner.
The dropped points for Manchester City means that they have now won just 1 of their last 8 games on the road, and the Citizens are now three points behind league leaders Leicester City, who beat Stoke City 3-0 earlier today. Arsenal can overtake both clubs tomorrow though with a win at home against Chelsea.
West Ham meanwhile miss their chance to replace Manchester United from 5th place, and stay a point and a place behind the Red Devils, who lost to Southampton in another of the 3pm kick-offs. The Hammers have some very winnable games coming up in the rest of January and they have every chance of breaking into the top 4 by the end of the month.
Man City meanwhile have a midweek League Cup semi-final against Everton to look forward to, wherein they need to turn around a 2-1 first leg deficit.
West Ham United: Adrian, Jenkinson (Byram 10'), Reid, Collins, Cresswell, Kouyate, Song, Antonio (Moses 64'), Noble, Payet, Valencia (Jelavic
Manchester City: Hart, Sagna, Otamendi, Demichelis, Clichy, Toure, Delph (Iheanacho 76'), Silva (Fernando 82'), De Bruyne, Navas (Sterling 67'), Aguero
Final Score: West Ham 2-2 Man City (Valencia 1', 56', Aguero pen 9', 80')