West Ham United kicked the 2019-20 season off in nightmare fashion on Saturday, crumbling to a crushing 5-0 defeat against Manchester City at the London Stadium.
The Premier League champions showed no signs of letting up, despite the Hammers giving a good account of themselves in the first half, going into the break just one goal down thanks to Gabriel Jesus’ poacher’s finish.
Raheem Sterling opened his account just six minutes into the second period though, and it all went downhill from there.
Sergio Aguero’s re-taken penalty – thanks to VAR – came in between a further two Sterling goals, recording the first hatrick of the campaign.
Next up for Manuel Pellegrini’s side is a trip to the AMEX Stadium where Brighton & Hove Albion await following their impressive 3-0 opening weekend triumph at Watford.
Who could miss out after their exploits against City? Who deserves to keep their place or come into the team?
Here are the winners and losers from an afternoon in East London many will want to forget…
Winner: Sebastien Haller
Service was unsurprisingly scarce for Haller, but he showed signs of the player he is against, possibly, the strongest defence he’ll face all season. His ability to hold up the ball at times was admirably and seems like a complete striker. Expect him to score a lot of goals.
Loser: Aaron Cresswell
Plenty of questions were asked about Cresswell’s ability to fill in for Masuaku at left-back and by the end of the game, you could actually feel sorry for the stand-in Hammers captain.
City were having an absolute field day on his side; in fact, four of the Blues’ five goals came from the right-wing. That’s no coincidence. Expect Masuaku to come straight back in once fit.
Winner: Declan Rice
Rice is still a teenager and it felt like he was having to contain one of Europe’s best midfield outfits by himself at times. He was getting stuck in and won 70% of his ground duels, and fans should have every confidence in him developing even further this season.
Loser: Andriy Yarmolenko
Yarmolenko was initially named on the bench, but when kick-off rolled around he was nowhere to be seen. It seems it was a mistake on the West Ham media team’s part, but his absence must either mean he’s suffered another injury blow or he’s low in Pellegrini’s pecking order.
It hasn’t worked out for him so far in England, but he’ll be hoping to make an impact further down the line.