With tomorrow’s Premier League trip to The Etihad Stadium to face Manchester City now just over 24 hours away, we delve into the archives once again in the second edition of our Classic Match series to relive a much happier evening than tomorrow promises to be in Manchester.
Cast your mind back to the late summer of 2016, “Easy Love” by Sigala was on top of The UK Charts and NASA was about to announce that it had found the first traces of liquid water on Mars.
Meanwhile, in The English Top-Flight, the 2015/2016 campaign had just gotten underway, Slaven Bilic’s first season in charge of West Ham United and what a start he had made to it too.
Having already dispatched Arsenal and Liverpool away from home in the League, we headed into a clash with Manchester City in the North West sitting fifth and off the back of a triumph over Newcastle United.
Whereas, The Citizens, under Manuel Pellegrini, were off the back of 11 consecutive PL wins, the most recent one coming against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
Both sides were very high on confidence, setting up what would prove to be an exhilarating Saturday night battle Live on Sky Sports.
At the announcement of the two teams, new signing Kevin De Bruyne visibly posed the biggest threat for the home side, pulling the strings in midfield, while free-scoring Sergio Aguero had done a pretty good job of converting his assists in the early part of that campaign.
Whereas, for the visitors, creative midfield paring Dimitri Payet and Manuel Lanzini, who were settling into life in England very well indeed, both looked very dangerous alongside Chelsea loanee Victor Moses in midfield.
And it would be that very winger to find the game’s opening goal after just six minutes.
Picking the ball up in the centre of the park and driving at the relatively unstable City backline, Moses was able to get a stunning low strike past Joe Hart at the near post for a shock lead, the first goal City had conceded in that campaign.
But, things were about to get a hell of a lot better for the travelling Claret & Blue Army just after the half-hour mark.
Payet’s gracefully swung in corner from the right side found the head of Winston Reid expertly as the ball was blocked by Fernandinho on the line but Pedro Obiang was able to touch it into the path of Diafra Sakho.
The Senegal striker made no mistake from close range to convert a stabbed effort back across Hart to bulge the net.
However, the ever-present hosts would give themselves a lifeline on the stroke of half-time with Aguero setting up De Bruyne to fire home from the edge of the area.
This paved the way for a second-half bombardment from Pellegrini’s side, the likes of Yaya Toure, De Bruyne, Fernandinho and Aguero all going close but not close enough, as Michail Antonio made his Hammers debut.
Adrian San-Miguel was instrumental and a Man of the Match contender, but ultimately Sakho proved to be the match-winner on a historic day to remember in Manchester.
Over two years later, the question remains, can we replicate this remarkable feat when we need it most? As David Moyes’ struggling side face off with Pep Guardiola’s elite Xl tomorrow afternoon.