Sunday, 24 August 2008

City vs West Ham player ratings

Hart. Had almost nothing to do. A few good catches. Rolled the ball out to Corluka to get attacks going a lot. Wish I could write more but simply can't think of anything noteworthy. 6

Corluka. We saw the best of him today. His defensive nonchalance can infuriate when it is costly, but against opponents of the calibres of Etherington and Boa Morte it is a joy to watch. Unruffled and in control at the back, he was genuinely penetrative going forward. Took up good positions, retained possession, and twice put through Ireland to set up for Elano. 8

Ben Haim. Once Cole had gone off his only job was to win those long balls aimed at Ashton: and did this quite successfully. Headed Micah Richards once, by mistake. Has the big advantage over Richard Dunne of being consistently able to retain possession. Went on a run almost as good as his one at Villa Park. 7

Richards. Had a few problems with Carlton Cole early doors, but after that stuck to his task (Ashton) well. Looked in complete control before a nasty clash of heads with Ben Haim. Could give Hughes a reason to play Dunne and Ben Haim together on Thursday? A shame he wasn't able to lead the team to victory as captain. 7

Ball. Very competent. Didn't put a foot wrong defensively, and wore the captain's armband when Richards went off. Overlapped Petrov a few times, even executing a lovely nutmeg of Valon Behrami late in the second half. I don't really know why Garrido was dropped after only one game, but am sure Ball did enough to get picked next week. 7

Ireland. One of his best games for City, certainly his best ever playing wide right. His precision was preferred to Etuhu's rather clumsy explosiveness, and rightly so. Linked up with Corluka, Elano and the midfield, drifting inside when he needed to and kept our attacks flowing. Two very good pieces of play to assist Elano, and went close with a few shots of his own. Given the Man of the Match by the stadium announcer. 9

Johnson. An improvement on Villa Park, which was itself better than much of his 2008 form. Formed a very effective partnership with Kompany, not letting Parker and Noble get in the game from the start. Got into the box regularly, and will surely end up with more than two league goals this season. Covered huge amounts of ground: the Hughes/Bowen fitness regime seems to be paying off. 7

Kompany. Imperious. Started in holding midfield, just over fifty hours after signing for us. Strong in the tackle, won even more 50/50 balls than Fernandes does in that role. His big improvement on Gelson though, is technically. Two footed and comfortable on the ball, his range of passing came as a genuine surprise to someone who'd never seen him play before. Moved to centre half when Richards went off, and did his job impeccably. 9

Petrov. As quick and explosive as on one of his good days, if not quite as productive. Comfortably had the beating of Valon Behrami all day, and got to the byline with ease. His crossing wasn't as good as it always is, and his corners were consistently poor. Almost scored a quality free kick in the first half. 7

Elano. The joint top scorer in the league this season! Was playing very high up the pitch: almost level with Sturridge often, even beyond him sometimes. And took his two goals like a serious centre forward. Also dropped to link the play, never quite picking out the perfect pass but producing a few lovely touches. I didn't think he'd get much of a game under Hughes, but seems to be relishing the number 10 role he's been given. 8

Sturridge. There can't have been much between him and Evans in selection, but impressed with his flair and vivacity. Sometimes takes too many touches, but equally uses such moments to get himself out of seemingly impossible situations. Only had one real chance before his goal, which he took very well. Unlucky to be shunted out to the left when Etuhu went off: I would have backed him or Ched to grab another in the last twenty minutes. 8

Hamann. A good move by Hughes, passed the ball very well and kept constant pressure on West Ham. Opportunities will be limited this season by both his competitors and his own fitness, but in situations like today's he is still a real asset to have around. 7

Etuhu and Evans: Kel got injured early on, Ched had a few touches.

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