Filed: Sunday, 1st May 2011
By: Staff Writer
West Ham remain rooted to the bottom of the Premier League after a predicatable defeat at the City of Manchester stadium this afternoon.
An horrific start for Avram Grant's side saw them go two goals behind after just quarter-of-an-hour - a margin that, despite a spirited effort thereafter, proved too much to eradicate.
As if the task in hand wasn't hard enough to begin with, manager Grant was forced to field an unfamiliar midfield including Freddie Sears and Luis Boa Morte with Gary O'Neil, Mark Noble and Scott Parker all sidelined through injury.
And it soon got worse for Grant and his side when Nigel De Jong gave the Citizens a 10th minute lead; the Dutch midfielder pouncing on a clearance via a corner to fire home through a crowd of bodies from outside the box. It was the Dutch midfielder's first goal since joining City nearly two years ago - and came just a week after Fernando Torres was allowed to break his Chelsea stalemate against West Ham.
Five minutes later and it looked as if we may be heading for a cricket score when Lars Jacobsen turned the ball into his own net whilst trying to hook clear a goalbound Zabaleta effort. However as City, in possession a two-goal cushion relaxed, West Ham continued to press forward - and Demba Ba profited in the 33rd minute when he fired home from inside the six yard box. Had the Senegalese striker not scored referee Howard Webb would almost certainly have awarded a penalty for a hand ball moments earlier.
City, finally realising that the game may not quite be the walk in the park it had appeared after 15 minutes stepped up the pace as the half ended to finish the stronger. But Avram Grant will no doubt be delighted at the way his team responded after the break as they pretty much matched City - despite failing to find the goal that would have given them a valuable point in the battle to avoid the drop.
The Citizens - for whom the win virtually guarantees Champions League football next season - had the better chances after the break, if not the possession; Mario Balotelli saw one effort crash off the underside of Rob Green's bar whilst Manuel Da Costa - on as a first half replacement for the injured (again) Matthew Upson - was forced to clear another effort off the line. Da Costa's 62nd minute header from a Thomas Hitzlsperger corner was the closest United went to grabbing an equaliser.
So overall it was a reasonable performance from which encouragement should be taken, despite the defeat - and although a disappointing result, with none of the bottom four managing to secure a win this weekend (Wolves drew 1-1 at Birmingham earlire in the day) United go into the final three games of the season just three points away from safety.
A difficult, yet far from insurmountable task. The season begins now.
West Ham Utd v Newcastle Utd: live [4th May 2013]
Top ten on the cards [27th Apr 2013]
Zabaleta apologises for O'Brien spat [27th Apr 2013]
Man City 2-1 West Ham Utd [27th Apr 2013]
Martinez on....West Ham United [20th Apr 2013]
Man Utd fixture confirmed [13th Mar 2013]
West Ham strike £9million deal [5th Feb 2013]
Play-off final replay on the cards [6th Jan 2013]
FA Cup draw: Man Utd await [2nd Dec 2012]
09:21AM 2nd May 2011
''City fan here. I thought your team showed up yesterday even if the fans didn't (where were you all? Normally get a good turn out from you lot). If you play like that in your next three games I think you'll stay up. Two home wins should do it for you. Good luck, we want to see proper teams in the Prem, not Wigan and Blackpool.''
by Tell it how it is Charley
09:12AM 2nd May 2011
''Lost the last five, haven't won in seven, only scored three goals from open play in seven; it would take an eternal optimist to think that this team can stay up. There's absolutely nothing to suggest West Ham can win their next three games.''
11:53PM 1st May 2011
''Good luck in the next three games 'ammers. I truly hope you survive above a p*ss-ant club like Wigan...''
by g portugal
11:01PM 1st May 2011
''Provided we beat Blackburn we have a realistic chance of surviving. If we can do that then we don't need a hope and a prayer. ''
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