City’s record of scoring in every Premier League game this season went west in the East End but the Blues remain the top flight’s only unbeaten side.
The defending champions are well placed just two points off the pace after a goalless but far from lifeless draw at Boleyn Ground.
There was plenty of decent stuff played by the Blues but in the week we said goodbye to Halloween the visitors suffered a Hammer horror show in front of goal.
Throughout all the trials and tribulations of away days in Europe, the Blues have been steadfast on their Premier League road trips. Draws at perennially difficult venues at Liverpool and Stoke were precursors to wins at Fulham and West Brom.
Happily, those last two destinations yielded four additional points to the tally garnered last season en route to the title so this is not a debilitating point and West Ham can be given credit for a superb rearguard action for virtually the whole of the last hour of the contest.
City huffed and puffed but they couldn’t blow the house down and remain just adrift of the summit.
...West Ham 0-0 City...
Having most recently struggled past Swansea at home thanks to a wonder goal by West Ham old boy Carlos Tevez, the Blues travelled with still something to prove to football’s chattering classes who have been all too eager and willing to write off a championship repeat.
Upton Park deep in the Eastend of London is not the easiest of places to snaffle up a maximum and becomes even more of a test when you throw in a WHU side playing in the no-nonsense, high-tempo style of its manager Sam Allardyce so no panicking please.
Having recalled young Ivorian midfielder Abdul Razak back from loan at Charlton in the week – a move that suggested a lack of fit bodies around the Carrington training ground – Mancini was able to ease those worries with a recall to the 18 for Pablo Zabaleta, James Milner and Javi Garcia.
However, he lost Milner in the warm up to a hamstring injury and Gareth Barry started in his place; Razak moved from the stands to the bench
...Whu 0 City 0
The Italian was still able to show he likes to spring a surprise or two. For the first time he started a game with Edin Dzeko, Mario Balotelli and Carlos Tevez in the side and preferred the height and power of Kolo Toure at the back to Zabaleta.
Having lost more emphatically that the scoreline suggested at Wigan last time out, the Hammers had a point to prove to their manager and supporters and made just one change to the side that lost at the DW Stadium.
Their early vim and vigour was all too evident they had the ball in the net in the opening five minutes but Kevin Nolan’s effort was harshly ruled out for offside.
There were other scares, too, for the Blues as Yossi Benayoun and Andy Carroll both raised Joe Hart’s pulse rate with shots that threatened to break the deadlock.
The second quarter of the contest did, however, belong to City though they didn’t work Jaaskelainen nearly enough. Balotelli volleyed over from six yards when he should have scored and also sent an acrobatic overhead kick spinning narrowly wide.
Dzeko shot weakly straight at the keeper when well placed at the edge of the box and Yaya Toure then smashed an effort wide of the near post when he would have been better served finessing a cross for the waiting hoards.
It was, though, entertaining enough stuff for the watcher and a game that constantly threatened a goal.
Balotelli might have been the man to provide it but managed a fresh air shot when poised to score in the opening moments of the second period then Carlos Tevez couldn’t get enough power in his effort and Jaaskelainen fell on the ball.
The former Bolton custodian also denied substitute Sergio Aguero whilst Hart remained a virtual spectator as City recorded a third clean sheet in the last four league games.