Sunday, 24 August 2008

City 3 - 0 West Ham

  • Just before Sturridge scored, I was about to turn off the TV and go for a walk. Failing to break down a team you ought to be beating is so frustrating (remember this and this?), and with the Richards injury unsettling everything, it was not enjoyable watching. So for City (and me) to show the patience we did was good. We didn't panic, try anything new: we just kept on playing our football, getting the ball out wide and eventually got what we deserved.
  • As a team performance it was exceptional. We dominated the midfield, moved the ball at pace and generally defended well. Even before Mark Noble was sent off Johnson and Kompany were controlling play, and Dean Ashton was starved of anything more than long balls from the back. When Kompany dropped into defence and Hamann came on we did the same. Choosing Didi ahead of Gelson was a good decision: we needed patience rather than enthusiasm, and he allowed us to keep knocking the ball around, looking for a way in.
  • Garry Cook said, with reference to Corluka and Ireland, "everyone's for sale. If they want to stay at this club they will have to aspire to it." I thought the two of them were fantastic today, both individually and in concert. Charlie was untroubled defensively and incisive going forward. Ireland was busy and tidy throughout. And together they linked up perfectly: for both of Elano's goals and other times besides. Maybe having Cook try to sell them both on the quiet gives them a real bond.
  • It was a shame to lose Etuhu to that hamstring injury. Bringing on him and Evans was a positive move from Hughes. We could have let the game amble to full time, but introducing the youngsters was a good attempt to raise the tempo and maybe even score some more. So when Kel pulled up Sturridge had to move out wide and some of that momentum was lost.
  • West Ham were woeful. Those just reading reports of the match could be led to think that the sending off changed the game. It didn't: we hit the post and the bar while Noble was still on the ptich, and had a few other chances besides. Johnson and Kompany schooled Parker and Noble for forty minutes, and then Parker and Faubert for another fifty. They were unlucky to lose Cole to injury; he gave Richards one or two uncomfortable moments early on. But they had no spark, no drive, no sense of urgency.

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