Good afternoon! Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole
for today's Premier League Asia Trophy match between Manchester City
and West Ham United
These two sides actually face off on the opening day of the Premier League season proper next month, but for now it is the beginning of City's preparations to defend their title, while West Ham are already a game into their campaign.
The winners will face Wolves in the final after Nuno's side hammered Newcastle on this very pitch just moments ago, and kickoff is just five minutes away so let's waste no time in bringing you the team news...
MAN CITY STARTING XI:
Bravo; Danilo, Angelino, Laporte, Harwood-Bellis; Rodrigo, David Silva
, Doyle; Bernabe, Poveda-Ocampo, Nmecha
Subs: Grimshaw, Walker, Stones, Sterling, Gündogan, Zinchenko, De Bruyne, Sané, Bernardo, Touaizi, Pozo, Aleix Garcia, Diounkou, Knight
WEST HAM STARTING XI:
Roberto; Fredericks, Diop, Ogbonna, Johnson; Rice, Noble; Wilshere, Lanzini, Anderson; Antonio
Subs: Martin, Reid, Zabaleta, Cresswell, Cullen, Sanchez, Diangana, Obiang, Snodgrass, Yarmolenko, Hernandez
The deal did not go through in time for this game, but there is some good news for West Ham fans just before kickoff - they have complete a club-record signing of Sebastien Haller!
KICKOFF: Here we go! We are underway in Nanjing!
Man City immediately make a bright break forward with a threaded ball down the left channel, but Fredericks shows good pace to get back and make an important challenge inside the box.
SAVE! Almost a dream start for Harwood-Bellis as he gets his head to the resulting corner, but his effort is straight into the arms of the keeper.
CHANCE! Huge chance for Man City again to take an early lead! It is far too easy for them as Rodri slides a pass through to Silva, who in turn helps it on to Poveda-Ocampo. The youngster has all the time in the world to pick his spot inside the area with only the keeper to beat, but his finish is tame and Roberto makes the save.
Two scares for West Ham early on, then, and it certainly does not look as though Man City were the team with the disrupted build-up. West Ham have been slow to get going here.
There is a great atmosphere inside the stadium whenever either side get into the final third. These fans are relishing the chance to see these Premier League players in the flesh.
It is very hot and humid out there today, and the players are already sweating buckets after less than 10 minutes. It's a good job we are allowed 10 subs otherwise some of these players wouldn't be getting through this game!
West Ham have their first really threatening attack of the match as Anderson is close to tucking his finish into the bottom corner.
Wilshere spins away from Rodri and drives towards goal before moving it to Lanzini, who in turn gives it out to Anderson. The winger is seemingly caught in two minds between crossing and shooting, though, and in the end his effort bobbles agonisingly wide of the far post.
Bright run from Bernabe down the right flank before trying to play a pass through, but Diop is across well to see it out. Positive play from the Man City youngster, though.
Lovely play from Anderson as he skips away from one blue shirt before bursting forward and waiting for Fredericks on the overlap. He slides the full-back in, but his cross toward Antonio at the back post is overhit.
Fredericks is called into action at the other end here, and he is left for dead by Poveda as he drops a shoulder to dip inside, only to see his shot then blocked.
Danilo chops Lanzini down with a mistimed challenge which would have earned him a yellow card in a competitive game. West Ham are more than holding their own now following their slow start.
SAVE! Bravo is called into action for the first time as Lanzini twists and turns and works a yard to shoot from just outside the area, but his end product is disappointing as he drags his effort into the arms of the keeper.
Superb pace from Fredericks as he runs almost half the length of the pitch down the right, bursting past Angelino before putting a cross into the box which is cleared away.
It might take Fredericks a while to recover from that run in this heat!
PENALTY! West Ham have a penalty as Angelino handles the ball on the floor when trying to stop Anderson from taking it past him!
GOAL! MAN CITY 0-1 WEST HAM (MARK NOBLE, PENALTY)
First blood goes to West Ham as Mark Noble
makes no mistake from the penalty spot, despite a few mind games from Bravo - who did guess the right way.
There was no question about the award of the spot kick as Angelino was beaten all ends up by Anderson's fake shot before sticking out an arm to challenge him.
We are having a drinks break after that penalty, and Guardiola is using it to stride out onto the field and give a long talking-to to Angelino after conceding the penalty.
Rodri has just been caught cold on a couple of occasions in the opening half an hour, and it looks as though it might take him a bit of time to get up to speed for the Premier League. Of course, we can't look too much into it in pre-season - particularly considering the conditions - but he has been caught in possession on more than one occasion already.
Angelino almost gives away a second penalty here! It is lovely play from Anderson again before releasing Fredericks, who takes Angelino on again inside the box. He gets the ball past the City left-back before going down under his challenge, but this time the referee says no.
Fredericks was looking for it a bit, but with VAR I'd think that would have been given!
GOAL! MAN CITY 1-1 WEST HAM (DAVID SILVA)
Manchester City level things up out of nowhere as David Silva finishes off a lovely goal!
Silva himself would have been proud of Bernabe's pass as he pings a perfectly-weighted pass over the top of Diop which Silva takes on his chest before firing home from a tight angle! Brilliant goal!
PENALTY! Now Manchester City have a penalty as Ogbonna brings down Nmecha!
GOAL! MAN CITY 2-1 WEST HAM (LUKAS NMECHA, PENALTY)
What a turnaround from Manchester City! They were trailing just three minutes ago, but now they have the lead as Nmecha cuts inside Ogbonna before going down under the challenge. It looks soft at first, but the replay shows that there was a trip by the West Ham defender.
Nmecha takes on the spot-kick duties himself and makes no mistake with his finish.
West Ham can feel slightly hard done by considering they should have had a penalty just before that quickfire double, but that is what Man City can do. Even in pre-season against a team mainly made up of youngsters, you cannot switch off against this Man City side.
SAVE! Rice threads a lovely ball through to Anderson, who again leaves Angelino on the floor with a fake shot before cutting back inside. This time he tries to stand a cross up towards the back post where Rice is waiting, but after taking it down his shot is tame. Lanzini might have been better placed just behind him.
CHANCE! Another chance for West Ham as Antonio bursts into the box before recycling the ball to Wilshere, who helps it on to Anderson. The Brazilian picks up the ball just outside and area and tries to pass his finish into the bottom corner, but it goes a yard or so wide of the target.
It is West Ham who are putting all of the pressure on in the closing stages of this first half, with Fredericks making progress down the right again before standing a cross into the box. It comes to nothing, but West Ham are very much in this game.
There will be two minutes of added time at the end of this first half.
SAVE! Another promising attack from West Ham as Noble threads a ball through for Antonio, who does well to keep it in. The forward then drops the ball back for Lanzini, who tries to catch Bravo out at his near post but sees his effort comfortably saved.
HALF TIME: MAN CITY 2-1 WEST HAM
The first half comes to an end in Nanjing - and not a moment too soon judging by some of the looks on the players' faces!
It has been hard work in this heat and humidity, but the game has nonetheless been played at a decent pace and it is Man City who go into the break with the lead courtesy of their quickfire brace to come from behind.
It was West Ham who took the lead, though, with Mark Noble converting a penalty after Angelino had handled the ball inside the area.
It was the beginning of a torrid period for Angelino in truth, with the returning full-back lucky to escape conceding another spot kick shortly afterwards when he tripped Fredericks.
The referee said no to that penalty claim, and Man City took full advantage of the let-off by levelling the scores just a minute later.
It was a stunning goal too, with Bernabe clipping a brilliant aerial pass into the box which was perfectly weighted to beat Diop and land on the chest of Silva. Silva still had plenty to do, but he had the quality to take the ball down before firing past Roberto from a tight angle.
The turnaround was complete within the space of three minutes when the referee again pointed to the spot - this time in Man City's favour after Nmecha was tripped by Ogbonna inside the area.
Nmecha dusted himself off to take the penalty himself, and he made no mistake from 12 yards by sending the keeper the wrong way.
KICKOFF: West Ham get us back underway for the second half in Nanjing, and there have been four changes apiece. West Ham bring on Hernandez, Sanchez, Yarmolenko and Snodgrass, while Man City are just showing off by introducing Sterling, De Bruyne, Bernardo and Sane.
Yarmolenko brings the ball forward and decides against shooting, instead laying it off to Hernandez. Hernandes does try his luck from outside the area, but sees his effort blocked.
Important block from Laporte to halt a promising West Ham attack. Snodgrass gets down the left and pulls the ball back for Yarmolenko, whose goalbound curling effort hits Laporte on the shoulder.
The danger is not over for Man City as Hernandez tries an inventive flick after seeing a deflected cross arrive behind him, but his effort loops high and wide.
SAVE! Double save from Roberto to deny Sane and Sterling! Angelino clips a lovely pass over the top for Sane, who collects it inside the area before cutting back inside and putting a lot of power behind his strike. Roberto stands up well to make a good save at his near post, though, and then gathers Sterling's tamer rebound comfortably.
The changes - and the quality of the players coming in - mean that the pace of this game has not dropped off at all in this second half so far, despite the humid conditions. It is a really well-contested match, which can often not be the case in pre-season.
Another good run from Fredericks down the right is almost picked out by Yarmolenko with a cute pass inside, but Bravo is alert and comes off his line to collect.
West Ham are pinning Man City back at the moment, and Yarmolenko in particular is seeing a lot of the ball. Dare I say he is carrying himself a lot like Marko Arnautovic - Hammers fans will just hope that he has a better attitude!
GOAL! MAN CITY 3-1 WEST HAM (RAHEEM STERLING)
GOAL! Raheem Sterling
gets his 2019-20 tally underway with a simple goal after a poor defensive error from Diop.
The West Ham defender never looked comfortable as he picked up the ball as the last man, and he duly gave it straight to Sane on the halfway line. A lack of cover means that one simple pass from Sane sends Sterling clean through on goal, and the England international bides his time before applying the finish.
Diop appealed for offside but then didn't even make much of an effort to close Sterling back down, so it was poor all round from a man linked with Manchester United this summer.
MAN CITY SUBS: We've reached the hour mark, which means that it is time for changes. John Stones, Kyle Walker and Ilkay Gundogan are among those to come on for Man City.
WEST HAM SUBS: West Ham also make a host of changes, with Zabaleta, Obiang, Diangana and Cresswell introduced.
We could - and should - have had another penalty here as Sanchez quite clearly pushes Sterling in the back inside the box. The referee has given two and should have given another, but this time he says no once more.
Bernardo slips De Bruyne down the right channel and the Belgian puts an enticing low ball across the face of goal, but it is just too far in front of Sterling.
CHANCE! Lovely football from Man City as Snodgrass, Diangana and Yarmolenko link up with one-touch football to find Hernandez. The ball arrives a little behind the striker, but he leans back and fires it over the bar.
MAN CITY SUB: Another change for Man City as Rodri's debut comes to an end, with Garcia coming on in his place.
WEST HAM SUB: Big moment for Winston Reid here as he returns from around 18 months out.
GOAL! MAN CITY 4-1 WEST HAM (RAHEEM STERLING)
Man City have a fourth, Sterling has a second and it is another defensive error which leads to it.
Sanchez is far too relaxed on the ball inside his own half and De Bruyne closes him down to send the ball looping forward. Sane touches it into the path of De Bruyne, who helps it on to an unmarked Sterling, who applies the finish past Roberto.
The champions have moved to another gear since that quartet came on at half time. Sane, Sterling and De Bruyne in particular have allowed them to take complete control over this one.
OFF THE POST! West Ham should have a goal back as Hernandez forces a low stop from Bravo with a free kick, and the keeper can only parry it out. Yarmolenko is following up and should score having got there, but he can only hit the outside of the post from a tight angle.
It looks for all the world as though Man City will be facing Wolves in the Premier League Asia Trophy final this weekend, then, and they will be particularly pleased with this second half.
CHANCE! City should have a fifth as Gundogan collects the ball on the left before putting a low pass into the box for an unmarked Sane. The German winger gets too much on his finish, though, putting it past the near post when he needed a glancing touch.
will have seen positives to take from this match - particularly in the first half when they were arguably the better team. They have been outclassed in the second half, but in attack especially there are reasons for optimism from the Hammers.
Bernardo Silva finds space to shoot from 25 yards and sure enough he goes for goal, but his effort deflects wide of the target for a corner.
Another dangerous attack from Man City, who at times in this second half have looked capable of carving West Ham open at will. The Hammers just about survive this time as Sterling is crowded out inside the box.
Man City slice through the West Ham defence again as Gundogan slides a pass down the right for Bernardo, but his pull-back is behind the blue shirts inside the area.
You would not be able to tell that Man City had such a disrupted build-up to this match. They have looked really strong, especially in this second half, and those hoping to catch them this season will not be too pleased from what they have seen here.
SAVE! Lovely footwork from Sane as he slaloms through two defenders to create space to shoot, but he doesn't catch his effort as he would have liked and it is easy for Roberto to gather.
FULL TIME: MANCHESTER CITY 4-1 WEST HAM
A win with minimum fuss for Man City, then, as they cruise into the final of the Premier League Asia Trophy, where they will face Wolves.
It didn't always look like being so straightforward for them - particularly when Mark Noble gave West Ham the lead midway through the first half - but a quickfire double from David Silva and Lukas Nmecha turned the game back in Man City's favour.
Raheem Sterling then came off the bench to score twice and wrap up the win as Man City get their pre-season campaign off to a positive start!
Right, that is all we have time for this afternoon!
Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole for today's Premier League Asia Trophy semi-final between Man City and West Ham as the English champions book their place in the final against Wolves. I will leave you with our match report, and be sure to stick around for reaction too.
From me, though, it is goodbye for now!