The encounter between Manchester City and West Ham United on Sunday could have all but sealed Pep Guardiola’s side as Premier League winners.
But it was the home fans who were celebrating a great moment of their own as the final whistle sounded at London Stadium following a tense match that ended 2-2 and featured Riyad Mahrez missing a late penalty that would have effectively clinched the title for the visitors.
Following a tumultuous game, West Ham veteran Mark Noble emerged from the tunnel with his children to receive a guard of honour after his final home appearance for the club, receiving the adoration of a 60,000-strong crowd, nearly all of whom had stayed behind to show their appreciation.
Manchester City’s happy celebrations will have to wait for now, as their party has been spoilt. Their champagne is still on ice, but for West Ham fans, this was a “I was there” moment to match the greatest they’ve had since moving from Upton Park, such as the 3-2 win over Liverpool in November and the epic Europa League victory over Sevilla in March.
This was a fantastic game that both teams knew they could have won, could have easily lost, and were happy to have drawn – and it was followed by the farewell to a true club legend.
In the end, the winner was a stadium that has been widely panned since its debut in 2016.
The atmosphere that was said not to exist is undeniably present. It turned out that all it took was a good team.
“It [the atmosphere] was fantastic today,” West Ham manager David Moyes stated. “This year’s stadium and attendance were incredible. But I believe that is due to the quality of the players. They refuse to give in. They continue to do so in every game.”
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