Jesse Lingard: West Ham star wasn’t at his best in 2-1 Man City loss

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Manchester United loanee Jesse Lingard wasn’t at his best as West Ham lost 2-1 away to Manchester City on Saturday.

The Irons fell to only their second defeat in 12 Premier League fixtures after strikes from Ruben Dias and John Stones either side of Michail Antonio’s seventh goal of the season.

West Ham now have to hope Chelsea fail to beat title-hopefuls Manchester United on Sunday to remain inside the Champions League positions, with two points all that separates the east and south west London outfits in the Premier League standings.

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Lingard has been a pivotal part of West Ham’s push for European football since arriving at the London Stadium in a £1.5m loan deal last month, with the £100,000-per-week maestro scoring three times and providing one assist in his prior four appearances.

The £9m-rated maestro doubled his tally for assists on Saturday when Antonio turned home Lingard’s mishit shot past Ederson late in the first half, having squandered a big chance to pull West Ham level but fortunate to have his teammate lurking at the back post for a tap in.

Being credited with an assist failed to prevent Lingard from marking a middle of the road performance in claret and blue, with the 28-year-old’s SofaScore match rating of 7.2 out of 10 achieved at the Etihad the third-best of his five games with the Irons.

This month’s goalless draw with Fulham had been Lingard’s worst performance with a 6.5 attained at Craven Cottage, while earning a 7.1 in last week’s London derby win over rivals Tottenham Hotspur. He also earned an 8.4 on debut thanks to a double against Aston Villa before later warranting a 7.7 against Sheffield United.

The England international’s display further ensured he performed worse than Ben Johnson, who Moyes had recalled to the starting line-up to allow for a return to five-at-the-back.

Johnson had dropped to the bench for the Spurs affair last Sunday after playing the full 90 at home to the Blades, marking only the second time this season that the academy product has seen out a full Premier League fixture.

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But Moyes’ decision to recall the full-back did not prove a masterstroke, with Johnson caught out a couple of times and playing Ilkay Gundogan onside in the build-up to Stones’ goal having not pushed out in line with his teammates.

The 21-year-old also produced a string of sloppy passes and was fortunate to end his day with an 80% completion rate thanks to four misplaced efforts from 20 attempts, per SofaScore.

Lingard had plenty of opportunities to find the back of Ederson’s net to seal West Ham a result away to early champions-elect Manchester City, but could only direct one of his four strikes toward the Brazilian’s goal with two efforts blocked.

He also boasted a worse pass success rate (78%) than Johnson, with eight of the 24-cap star’s 37 attempts failing to find an Irons shirt helping toward losing possession 16 times – no West Ham player turned the ball over more often.

Lingard additionally failed to come out on top in three of his four attempted dribbles, scoring just a 25% success rate compared to his average 42% (1.6) in Premier League games this season.

The 2016/17 Europa League winner also performed below his usual standards for accurate passes (81%), for losing possession (14.6) and shooting accuracy – WhoScored data shows 1.8 on target efforts a game to just 0.4 off target and 1.0 blocked.

Moyes can forgive Lingard for having a somewhat off day given his importance since joining on loan and for his hand in Antonio’s goal, but will expect to see the Manchester United-owned playmaker bounce back against Leeds next time out.