Monday, 28 September 2009

City 3 - 1 West Ham

  • I wrote before the game that City need to make these games more routine. When Chelsea or Manchester United go into these matches there is no plausible result other than a home win, and all twenty-three men on the pitch know it. This was not quite that: not enough care or precision in either box. We were too open at times, and better teams will punish us. But it was still good, with some attacking football better than anything we have played so far this year.

  • With Stephen Ireland missing Hughes reverted to the 4-2-4 approach we saw earlier in the season against Blackburn, Wolves, Crystal Palace and Portsmouth. Nigel de Jong is a more natural fellow anchor for Gareth Barry than Ireland, and so the midfield had a more balanced feel than when Ireland has been asked to do that job in the past. de Jong's mastery of the destructive arts is such that West Ham could never really dominate possession as much as they might have liked.

  • The front four - from right to left Shaun Wright-Phillips, Carlos Tévez, Craig Bellamy and Martin Petrov were quicker, sharper and more inventive than any other line up we have put out this season. We created more chances than in any other game, and ought to have won the game before Carlton Cole's first half equaliser. Tévez was a particular culprit, scoring two but missing four opportunities almost as easy.

  • Still defensive questions, though. As good as we are at attacking set pieces we are no better at defending them: Cole's goal came from our failure to police a freekick, and we never looked comfortable with West Ham corners throughout the game. Touré had a good game, but Joleon Lescott still looks like he needs to settle in. He was fortunate that Carlton Cole was penalised for muscling him off the ball, in the build up to a Scott Parker goal.

  • We have been waiting for months - for different reasons - for the Roque Santa Cruz and Michael Johnson appearances this evening. Neither looked 100%, and neither will start at Villa Park, but it is a genuine thrill to see them both back around the side. Next year, presuming that we are in Europe, they will be crucial.


jackblue said...

So good to see Michael Johnson back, he still looks a bit off the pace but that was to be expected. I honestly think that he will be an immense influnce on this team when he claims his regular spot back again.

N Rowland said...

Agreed about the "routine". Could have been a different game if the 2-2 goal were allowed. We seem good enough to get the lead, but can't finish the 2nd goal, and let the opposition back into the game! Chelsea and Man U usually get the 2nd, and execute the balance of the game with a clinical feel. Still, a win is a win. Good to see Petrov start and Johnson for a bit.