Saturday, 11 December 2010

West Ham 1 - 3 City

  • Our fifth away win of the season, and we go second, for tonight at least. Efficiency, control, discipline, shape; they might not be enough for some people but they'll certainly do for me. We won today without really having to stretch ourselves. We defended well enough, we kept the ball, and we scored at hinge moments. At no point did it look as if we would not win. I'd probably rather it felt like a siege repelled, a raid, a pillage. Aways wins like that are fun. But it doesn't, and it wasn't. It was a stroll.

  • And all of this without Carlos Tévez. Insofar as today was difficult, it's because we missed our captain. There's just no way of substituting his unique gifts into a team that's deprived of him. Roberto Mancini moved Mario Balotelli up front, with Jô preferred to Adam Johnson and James Milner on the left wing. We did miss Carlos, certainly, and the rest of the forward players noticeably had to work harder in his absence. Neither Balotelli nor Jô played particularly well, as it happened, but with David Silva and Yaya Touré such a mix of the subtle and the, well, unsubtle just behind them it wasn't a problem.

  • We started well enough, quick to move the ball out wide but generally patient in our delivery. There was more value than usual in crossing the ball but with neither of our tall forwards looking that sharp nothing was quite coming off. But it was an intelligent move that led to our first goal: Gareth Barry had the ball in a wide position and rather than swinging it into the box he rolled it back to Yaya, finally spare, who fired it high into the net. Once ahead we looked comfortable. We are perfectly set up to defend leads in away games, as we all know.
  • West Ham did have a good spell at the start of the second half, and we were briefly under some pressure. But as they came at us the game opened up, and Yaya and Silva started to find more space in their half. There was clearly a goal coming, and a definitive one, and it was ours. Yaya tore down the left channel, found an opening and slammed the ball in via the post and Rob Green. At 2-0 the outcome was certain. Adam Johnson came on and scored a third: slid in by a pass from David Silva that no one else on the pitch would even have spotted. Characteristic play from a beautiful footballer.

  • West Ham scored a late consolation, which was a shame for my fantasy league team more than anything else. (I have Boateng and Kolo). I wish I could say now that we passed a test, or showed our mettle, or ran through a wall, or some other cliche of hardship and achievement. But we didn't, really. We beat a poor team in an atmosphere-free away game. We did so comfortably, which I suppose is noteworthy. But overall this will go down as a decent three points and that's it. Not much learnt either. The media might take from it that David Silva is a gift of a player, and that Yaya is not a defensive midfielder - but we knew all that anyway.


trinder said...

So, Tevez.

My view is that it isn't possible for him to leave without us gaining a considerable return. Who in the world could afford a 26 year old that the Murdoch papers have been insisting cost £47m, who has since scored 33 in 50 Premier League games, and who has 3.5 years left on his contract? At a conservative estimate the bidding would start at £60m.

Now the money isn't important to City of course, so the sensible move would be to demand players in return. Given that only Barca and Real (and maybe Chelsea) would be willing to pay that sort of money, and who could attract him to play for them, we should get someone very special in return. I can think of plenty of players from those clubs that I'd like to see in sky blue.

All that aside, I don't expect Carlos to go.

StanMCFC said...

Well one thing's for certain he won't be able to continue as captain. Step forward Mr Vincent Company...