Manchester City came back from two goals down to earn a point at West Ham, but Riyad Mahrez missed a chance to win the game from the penalty spot with five minutes remaining.
Twice Jarrod Bowen was allowed to get behind the Manchester City defence in the first half and finished superbly to give the Hammers a 2-0 lead at the break.
On both occasions Oleksandr Zinchenko was culpable for not tracking Bowen’s diagonal runs behind the defence from the right flank. In the first instance, he rounded Ederson before slotting high into the net from a tight angle and then on the stroke of half time drilled a low effort home from the edge of the box.
Jack Grealish soon got City back into the game with a strike from the edge of the box which deflected on the underside of Craig Dawson’s leg and then bounced over Lukasz Faianski and into the net.
Then 21 minutes from time, a freak own goal from Vladimir Coufal heading Mahrez’s free kick into his own net under little pressure saw the game brought level.
Although City had all of the play, the Hammers were still dangerous on the break and Bowen could have scored two more when he shot into the side-netting after another Zinchenko error and then a shot deflected off Aymeric Laporte which could easily have put the hosts back in front.
Then, with time running out, Gabriel Jesus was brought down in the box by Dawson and Mahrez shot to Fabianski’s left but the goalkeeper parried the effort away.
City are now four points clear of Liverpool who have two games remaining and are seven goals worse off in terms of goal difference. Although the comeback was not quite completed, the point does seem to put beyond doubt the destination of the Premier League title.
Biggest own goal in Premier League history? You might have to go back to Brian Gayle of Sheffield United’s header which gave Leeds a 3-2 victory thirty years ago to find an own goal as crucial to the destination of the title as Vladimir Coufal’s today. It was a difficult free kick to defend as Mahrez swung the set piece behind the defence which curled away from Fabianski, but there would have been little danger to the Hammers goal if Coufal had not decided to launch himself diagonally backwards where any touch was unlikely to yield a positive result. Although Southampton have twice shipped nine goals in recent seasons and you would not rule out the Reds accumulating a bagful at St Mary’s on Tuesday night, a last-day home fixture against Aston Villa is not one filled with trepidation and in all likelihood City will win their sixth Premier League title.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Jarrod Bowen (West Ham) – He is a player it is impossible not to be super impressed by. From a youngster at Hereford, to a strong Championship player at Hull, there were few who saw him making the leap to be one of the most dangerous forwards in the Premier League but that is exactly what he is now. The skill and composure to keep his head and loft a finish into the net after rounding Ederson illustrates he has elite ability in addition to his tireless running and commitment. He is the perfect compliment to the horde of English attacking players who prefer the ball to feet rather than running onto through-balls and should be rewarded with appearances in Gareth Southgate’s side over the next few months.
West Ham: Fabianski 8; Coufal 5, Dawson 6, Zouma 7, Cresswell 6; Soucek 6, Rice 7; Bowen 8*, Lanzini 6, Fornals 7; Antonio 6.
Subs: Noble 6, Johnson 6, Yarmolenko 6.
Man City: Ederson 6; Joao Cancelo 6, Fernandinho 5, Laporte 6, Zinchenko 4; Bernardo Silva 6, Rodri 7, De Bruyne 6; Mahrez 6, Gabriel Jesus 7, Grealish 7.
24′ GOAL FOR WEST HAM! Bowen is played through down the middle and rounds Ederson before slotting coolly home with his left foot from a narrow angle. There will be no VAR. It’s a goal.
45′ GOAL FOR WEST HAM! Bowen again! A lovely ball over the top from Antonio and Bowen took it on before finishing with aplomb across Ederson’s body into the corner.
49′ GOAL FOR CITY! That didn’t take long. A bit of a freak goal as Rodri and Soucek competed for a ball in the area and it fell to Grealish who shot into the ground and bounced freakishly off Dawson’s under-leg and above Fabianski for a goal.
69′ GOAL FOR CITY! There were near calamitous errors at one end, but the West Ham one at the other cost them a goal and maybe Liverpool a chance of the title. There was no need for Coufal to launch a diving header at a free kick heading easily into Fabianski’s arms and left the keeper with no chance.
83′ JESUS DOWN IN THE BOX The referee doesn’t give a penalty but it looks like Dawson brought him down.
84′ THE REFEREE IS GOING TO LOOK AT THE SCREEN Penalty incoming…CONFIRMED
86′ PENALTY SAVED! Fabianski dives to his right and parries the effort away.