West Ham United gave a good account of themselves but ultimately came up just short in a 2-1 loss to Premier League leaders Manchester City on Sunday.
Angelo Ogbonna gave the Hammers a shock lead just before half-time, but second-half strikes from Nicolas Otamendi and David Silva were enough for the home side to take all three points at the Etihad Stadium.
Here are three things we learned from the defeat:
Adrian takes his chance
The summer arrival of Joe Hart on loan from yesterday’s opponents has seen the long-serving Adrian restricted to the role of backup goalkeeper so far this season.
However, with the England stopper ineligible to face his parent club, the former Real Betis man stepped into the fray and performed admirably with a string of important saves.
Hart has been much criticised this term and there were calls even before this match for the ex-Birmingham City man to be axed from the starting XI.
His display against Everton on Wednesday was arguably his worst in claret and blue and he looks a far cry from the confident youngster that broke into the national side seven years ago.
Adrian took his chance in Hart’s absence and will have given manager David Moyes plenty of food for thought ahead of the clash with Chelsea at the weekend.
Not only did the Spaniard turn in an assured personal performance, his presence between the sticks seemed to calm a defence that has conceded the most goals in the top flight.
There will be much anger amongst fans if Adrian is not selected for the game against the Blues and he may have left Moyes with no choice but to keep him in the side.
Rice is the future
Declan Rice has long been touted as one of the brighter academy prospects at West Ham and was thrust into the line-up at City with injury keeping out vice-captain Winston Reid.
Playing in the heart of the defence and up against one of the most lethal attacks in world football at present, the young Irishman performed manfully and was unlucky to come out on the losing side.
Moyes seemed to aim a dig at Rice after the match, telling Sky Sports that he felt he could have headed Kevin De Bruyne’s chipped ball away before it fell to Silva to volley home the winner.
However, the Scot also praised the teenager’s overall display and the Irons faithful will no doubt forgive him one mistake in such challenging conditions.
Rice now needs to focus on nailing down a first-team spot for the remainder of the campaign as his side look to fight off relegation from the Premier League.
Danger on the counter
Whilst West Ham defended resolutely against the Citizens, they also posed a threat at the other end and could have snatched a point with better finishing.
Chances for Michail Antonio and Manuel Lanzini were passed up before Ogbonna headed the opener, the second goal of the Moyes era and the second from a set-piece, a clear indication of the 54-year-old’s methods.
After the hosts had turned the game on its head, Diafra Sakho wasted a glorious opportunity to level the scores late on when he struck Marko Arnautovic’s cutback wide of the post from 12 yards out.
City boss Pep Guardiola claimed after the match that the Hammers ‘didn’t want to play’, as reported by BBC Sport, but those comments do a disservice to what was a brave performance.
The former Barcelona manager has untold resources at his disposal and spent over £200 million on new talent in the summer; he is naive if he expects teams battling relegation to play open and expansive football when they travel to face his expensively assembled side.
However, Moyes’ men did not shy away from attacking the City backline when the opening presented itself and arguably had some of the game’s best chances.
This may be a blueprint for a style of play moving forward, soaking up pressure and then breaking with speed and precision.
Obviously there will be a need for greater impetus with the ball against lesser opponents but it could be something for Moyes to build on as the busy Christmas period looms.