Premier League
Manchester City 3-1 West Ham United 

Monday, 28th September 2009
by Hammer John

In a game that, on paper, favoured the home side, the opening flourishes were all City. Our former hero Carlos Tevez busied himself in the West Ham penalty area, linking up well with SWP and Martin Petrov who was making his return to first team action in over a year. Tevez opened the scoring on 4 minutes following a cross from Petrov; he duly apologised to the 900 West Ham faithful behind Rob Green’s goal.

It was pretty much consistent Man City pressure at that stage, our only efforts in the opening 20 minutes coming from Alessandro Diamanti and Mark Noble.

Realistically Tevez should have had a hat-trick before West Ham won a free kick on 22 minutes. Taken by Diamanti, it was half-cleared by Joleon Lescott to Radoslav Kovac whose shot was back-heeled into the net by Cole. Against the run of play, we had an equaliser.

What followed was a brief but enjoyable spell of West Ham possession, however normal service was soon resumed with Petrov (again) giving City the lead with a well-taken free kick on 31 minutes. As we neared half time, Carlton Cole was penalised for a foul just before he slotted the ball to Scott Parker whose goal was somewhat harshly disallowed.

The first half saw a succession of City corners - six to our none - and a little bit of play-acting by Julien Faubert who obviously still holds a grudge against Craig Bellamy.

Diamanti showing skill but without that final touch; Herita Illunga and James Tomkins strong in defence. Parker and Jimenez still industrious and the lone figure of Cole fighting for every ball. Tevez showing why so many clubs were courting him, and Bellamy showing his strength and vigour.

The second half began with a good spell for West Ham; Diamanti and Jimenez again linking up well but with no end product. On the hour Bellamy?EUR(TM)s industry laid on the ball for Tevez to head the ball past a helpless Rob Green. 3-1.

Bellamy, desperate to get on the score sheet against us blasted over his effort on 62 minutes and again West Ham countered. Jimenez had his shot blocked only to see Diamanti have two shots on goal within a minute. Despite going close and good build-up work, we were being outplayed and outclassed.

Diamanti was booked for West Ham and Bridge for City in what was a keenly fought game that gave both travelling and home fans good value for money. Zola made two changes on 70 minutes; Jimenez and Kovac being replaced by youngsters Zavon Hines and Junior Stanislas. Neither made any real impact. City replaced SWP with Roque Santa Cruz, making his debut, while Michael Johnson made his long-awaited return in place of Barry.

For me the man of the match was Martin Petrov, no question he was incredible for a man who has been out with a serious knee injury. Our man of the match? Diamanti gave his all, Ilunga was solid, Faubert worked hard but Cole, for me, never stopped running all night.

It finished 3-1 but the gulf between the sides was greater, We played well and can take heart from this West Ham team. We don?EUR(TM)t look like a bottom three side, and with players returning in the coming weeks we look a decent prospect this season.

(below player ratings by stu1)

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Player Ratings

Robert Green
Poor for the second goal.

Julien Faubert
Not his fault he had to challenge their forward for a header - and that nobody came across to cover for the first goal.

Herita Ilunga
God knows what he was doing for the third goal, he had his hand up for offside before the free kick was even taken and then got beaten in the air by Tevez!

James Tomkins
I rate the kid highly but he was poor tonight. What was he doing for the first goal?

Manuel Da Costa
After being chucked in at the deep end he did well, and looked better than Tomkins.

Scott Parker
Decent at breaking up the play but seems to have forgotten how to pass this season.

Mark Noble
Once again a display where he didn't do too much wrong, but had no real impact on the game. Continuing to struggle against the better teams.

Radoslav Kovac
Played ok, seems to improving gradually.

Luis Jimenez
Didn't do much but looks comfortable on the ball.

Alessandro Diamanti
Didn't have a great game. Did the odd good thing but needs to improve his decision-making.

Carlton Cole
Our best player. Wasn't great but scored a goal and would have had an assist if it wasn't for a terrible terrible decision by the linesman!


Junior Stanislas
(Replaced Kovac, 71 mins) Came on in difficult circumstances with the game already dead and buried, tried to get involved but produced nothing of note.

Zavon Hines
(Replaced Jimenez, 71 mins) As with Stanislas, tried to make an impact, put himself about but no real end product.

Peter Kurucz
Did not play.

Jonathan Spector
Did not play.

Bondz N'Gala
Did not play.

Josh Payne
Did not play.

Frank Nouble
Did not play.

Match Facts

West Ham United: Robert Green, Julien Faubert, Herita Ilunga, James Tomkins, Manuel Da Costa, Scott Parker, Mark Noble, Radoslav Kovac, Luis Jimenez, Alessandro Diamanti, Carlton Cole.

Goals: Carlton Cole 24                  .

Booked: Alessandro Diamanti 55          .

Sent off: None.

Manchester City: Given, Zabaleta, Toure, Lescott, Bridge, Wright-Phillips, De Jong, Barry, Petrov, Tevez, Bellamy.

Subs not used: Taylor, Richards, Garrido, Slyvinho, Weiss.

Goals: Tevez (5, 61), Petrov (32).

Booked: Bridge (59).

Sent off: None.

Referee: Chris Foy.

Attendance: 42,745.

Man of the Match: Carlton Cole.