Manchester City 2-0 West Ham United 

Saturday, 23rd September 2006
by Jacob Steinberg

On Thursday West Ham travel to Sicily for their UEFA Cup game against Palermo, where they will attempt to overcome a one goal defecit. Based on their woeful showing today against Manchester City, they needn't bother.

It has been six games since West Ham won, and that against ten men Charlton. Manchester City went into this game having lost to Chesterfield in the Carling Cup in midweek, and with manager Stuart Pearce under pressure. West Ham obligingly relieved it for him, and instead heaped it on themselves.

The depressing statistic of the day is that the Hammers failed to register a shot on target. Such was the paucity of their attacking threat, the only dangerous moment that comes to mind is a cross Matthew Etherington wastefully wafted over the bar early on.

And what looked like a nasty hamstring injury Anton Ferdinand suffered will do little to lift the enveloping gloom. West Ham's defence had already looked threadbare and was even worse with confirmed midfielder Hayden Mullins shifted to right back.

City were not much better than their visitors, but the partnership of Dietmar Hammann and Joey Barton in midfield exerted a relative amount of control, and West Ham were constantly troubled by the forward surges of Micah Richards.

Georgios Samaras was City's likeliest source of a goal and the Greek went close with a curling effort and then forced Roy Carroll into a sprawling save. Bernado Corradi should have scored in first half stoppage time, but sent Richards' pass wide of the gaping net.

But five minutes into the second half the opening goal arrived and it was worth waiting for. The young left winger, Ishmael Miller, burst past Mullins and Benayoun and when his shot was deflected, Samaras controlled the ball on the edge of the box before firing a brilliant volley into the far corner.

The young striker made the game safe thirteen minutes later, as he took advantage of Corradi's clever flick and hesitancy in the West Ham defence and delicately chipped the ball over the onrushing Carroll.

Alan Pardew introduced Carlos Tevez soon after, but it was too late. His team remained listless and never hinted they could claw their way back into the game. It is perhaps too early to panic, but right now, they resemble the side pundits predicted they would be last season. The priority must now be the home game against Reading next week, rather than the glamorous opportunity in Italy on Thursday.

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Player Ratings

Roy Carroll
He again made some good saves and was well beaten by Samaras. He was slow leaving his line for the second however, and his wayward kicking is infuriating.

Christian Dailly
Poor distribution and poor defending at both right-back and centre-back.

Paul Konchesky
Poor defensively against Richards, poor control and poor passing.

Anton Ferdinand
We missed him when he went off. Hopefully not too bad an injury.

Danny Gabbidon
Ok, but missed Ferdinand more than any other player.

Javier Mascherano
Decent passing but was mostly quiet.

Nigel Reo-Coker
If you want to go to Arsenal, be my guest. It is frustrating because we watched him destroy Barton here in March. Today he was dominated and a waste of time.

Yossi Benayoun
He looks dangerous but flatters to deceive, thanks to little end product. We need more from him at the moment.

Matthew Etherington
His crossing was wide of the mark and Richards handled him easily. One of those games spent in hiding.

Bobby Zamora

Marlon Harewood
Didn't look confident the one time he had a chance to shoot and lost the opportunity. Failed to hold the ball up.


Hayden Mullins
(Replaced Ferdinand, 22) We know he's not a right back and it was sad to see him there.

Carlos Tevez
(Replaced Harewood, 65) On far too late.

Carlton Cole
(Replaced Mears, 67) Ditto.

Robert Green
Did not play.

Lee Bowyer
Did not play.

Match Facts

West Ham United: Roy Carroll, Christian Dailly, Paul Konchesky, Anton Ferdinand, Danny Gabbidon, Javier Mascherano, Nigel Reo-Coker, Yossi Benayoun, Matthew Etherington, Bobby Zamora, Marlon Harewood.

Goals: None.

Booked: None booked.           .

Sent Off: None sent off.     .

Manchester City: Weaver, Richards, Dunne, Distin, Jordan, Barton, Hamann, Sinclair, Miller, Samaras, Corradi..

Subs not used: Hart, Beasley.

Goals: Samaras (50, 63).

Booked: None booked..

Sent off: None.

Referee: C.Foy.

Attendance: 41,073.

Man of the Match: Anton Ferdinand.