1-0 Sturridge 65, 2-0 Elano 70, 3-0 Elano 76
West Ham 0
- Match reports
- 24 August 2008 18:00
- Posted by Leon Collins
Pre match news
After signing on Friday afternoon Vincent Kompany comes straight into the City line-up as Mark Hughes makes four changes from the side that lost 4-2 at Aston Villa last weekend.
Stephen Ireland, Michael Ball and young striker Danny Sturridge also come into the side as Hughes might opt to tweak the formation slightly due to a lack of proven strikers.
West Ham got us underway and indeed it was a change of formation for City with Elano playing a supporting role to Danny Sturridge.
Vincent Kompany lined up as a defensive midfielder with Michael Johnson able to break from the middle of the park.
City settled immediately and after Kompany and Petrov combined well four minutes in, the Bulgarian’s short cross saw Elano give chase, before Davenport appeared to bundle the Brazilian over inside the box.
Kompany, who was having a great start to his career winning tackles and making good passes, again was the provider on 11 minutes as his fine ball released Ireland down the right who forced a corner.
The first was headed straight out but the second caused chaos in the West Ham box as Callum Davenport literally put his body on the line to keep City out.
As the scramble ensued, which could have seen a penalty awarded in the middle of it, the Hammers defender cleared off the line with his head then was on hand to deflect Ben-Haim’s effort on the bar as it eventually ended with a goal kick.
The Blues pressure was growing by the minute and after 22 Petrov wrapped a beautiful free-kick against Green’s left-hand post with the keeper only able to stand and stare.
A minute later referee Webb had his yellow card out for the first time as Behrami clearly blocked the run of Petrov.
Next it was the chance of Ireland and Sturridge to work an opening which deserved a goal as both players juggled the ball before Sturridge fired wide from the edge of the box with his unfavoured right foot.
Just on the half hour West Ham were forced into the game's first change as Cole had failed to shake off an earlier knock. Youngster Freddie Sears replaced the former Chelsea man.
Mark Noble was booked on 33 minutes for a deliberate handball, but that silly mistake proved to be a very costly one for the young midfielder, as just four minutes later a late sliding tackle on Michael Johnson earnt Noble a second yellow and an early bath.
After a series of shouts for handball by City had led to the West Ham fans mocking 'handball' with every pass...they soon kept quiet when the referee and his assistant failed to see the most blatant of handballs in the penalty area by Lucas Neill.
The Australian clearly handled the ball in front of his face following another Petrov corner and City were denied a penalty for the chance to take the lead they so obviously deserved.
In first half stoppage time Johnson hammered a 25-yarder which needed Green to be at his best to turn behind after a good run from Ben-Haim.
So somehow was 0-0 at the break but with City the better team and a man up.
HALF TIME: City 0-0 West Ham
Freddie Sears' afternoon of action was short and sweet as Alan Curbishley decided to replace the young striker at half time with midfielder Hayden Mullins as West Ham looked to keep things tighter than they had during the first 45 minutes - with or without 11-men.
It wasn't the best of starts to the second half for City as a clash of heads between Tal Ben-Haim and Micah Richards saw the stand-in skipper stretchered off in front of the watching Fabio Capello after lengthy treatment on the pitch for what looked like a serious injury.
Michael Ball took on the captain's armband as Hamann replaced Richards and Kompany dropped back into the centre of defence.
Despite the blow of being without Richards, who had been taken straight to hospital, City continued to press and probe for the opener.
And on 65 minutes that duly arrived thanks to Danny Sturridge. It was neat build-up play again from the Blues started by Elano, which involved Sturridge and Petrov, and after the latter's cross had been partially cleared Sturridge fizzed home from 15-yards past a helpless Green.
The England youth was up and running for the season and it was just reward for his efforts.
It got better for the Blues five minutes later as Corluka's clever ball found Ireland inside the box and his lay off saw Elano stretch to find the finishing touch with a good strike low into the corner from 12-yards out.
City 2-0 up and only what they deserved for their good, attacking play and patience during the afternoon.
Just six minutes later it was the same Corluka, Ireland and Elano trio that ripped West Ham apart again down the right before Ireland's cross was volleyed home from close range by the Brazilian to make it 3-0.
Elano was then replaced by Ched Evans, with Kelvin Etuhu coming on for Petrov to great applause.
But unfortunately Etuhu didn't last too long, as he appeared to tweak his hamstring when trying to latch on to a Hamann pass, so City played out the last six minutes of normal time with 10-men.
Although 10 was the number of additional minutes the fourth official signalled soon after due to the long stoppage for Micah Richards' injury, but by this time West Ham fans were doing the conga, while City's were ole-ing the Blues' passes.
Despite more injury woe with Richards and Etuhu coming off, Mark Hughes can take great heart, as well as three points from this very encouraging performance against West Ham. Vincent Kompany, Elano and Stephen Ireland were all worthy of praise on the day, with Ireland announced Man of the Match on the final whistle.
FULL TIME: City 3-0 West Ham