Tuesday, 29 September 2009

West Ham reax

Daniel Taylor, The Guardian

The game was so one-sided, indeed, that Mark Hughes, the City manager, could justifiably argue his team should have won by a more handsome margin, but it was only a small complaint on a hugely satisfying evening for City in which the fit-again Roque Santa Cruz finally made his debut and Michael Johnson also came off the bench for his first appearance in over a year.

Tevez was an easy choice for the man of the match award and it was impossible not to detect the sense of optimism inside the stadium as a fifth win in six league games was skilfully constructed. Hughes talked of a side "playing with confidence and real purpose" and the feel-good atmosphere here is being rewarded by the attendances, too. To put it in context, there were 6,000 more fans here than at the corresponding fixture – on a Sunday afternoon – last season.

Henry Winter, Daily Telegraph

Bellamy matched Tévez’s industry and both worked well in tandem in Mark Hughes’ 4-2-3-1 system. Bellamy was up top while Tévez buzzed around to great effect just behind him. They swapped positions, swapped passes and were twin terrors to West Ham’s defence throughout.

As the Blue Moonies filed merrily out of Eastlands, savouring all manner of delights from Tévez’s double, Bellamy’s persistence, a fine free-kick goal from the excellent Petrov, Zabaleta’s composure at right-back, a debut for Roque Santa Cruz, the return of Michael Johnson and pondering the question of whether Robinho can get back in the side, City fans should still have found time to consider how worryingly open they were.

Tim Rich, The Independent

And yet this is a Manchester City side infused with the spirit of two men who were not in the audience. Not since Joe Mercer and Malcolm Allison's brilliant, uneasy alliance at Maine Road have City looked like credible title challengers.

It is only September but the manner in which they swatted aside West Ham was in keeping with everything else they have done this season. It was stylish, brilliant and slightly arrogant. Craig Bellamy thought this the best team he has ever played in and since he turned out for a Newcastle side that twice qualified for the Champions League and played for Liverpool when they overcame Barcelona in the Nou Camp, that is quite a statement.

James Ducker, The Times

It was a night when the positives abounded for City. Roque Santa Cruz, the Paraguay striker signed from Blackburn Rovers for £18 million in July, made his debut after three months on the sidelines with a knee problem, while Michael Johnson, the midfield player, enjoyed his first appearance for more than a year. Hughes confirmed, though, that Robinho, the City and Brazil forward, will be out for another three weeks because of an ankle injury.

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