Last season Man City beat us 9-0 over 2 legs in the League Cup semi final and won the premier league, as well as the cup. Today was a test of how far we have come since then, with the new look team and style. Anything short of a hiding would be an improvement over previous encounters. Sam had suggested this was a good time to play them with their mid week trip to an empty stadium in Russia behind them, and I tended to agree. It worked for our Liverpool game !
Both teams lined up pretty much how you would expect, and the Song / Toure match up seemed a mouthwatering prospect. The ground was packed to the rafters, and for a change the atmosphere was electric and expectant. We actually thought we could win. Personally I thought if we could keep them quiet for half an hour, we may have a chance.
However City came out of the blocks flying, and as i thought he would be, Silva was dictating the play, and laid a couple off to Aguero which another day, would of had a different result. We coped with the onslaught by having Song cover every blade of glass, and drive his fellow midfielders on to get back and help out as well. One example was our attack breaking down, and City countering quickly. He must of run 70 yrds to collect the ball off the toe of Dzeko in our box.
After a long 10 minutes we started to get the ball and actually play. We were pushing them back and stopped them playing. Cresswell and Jenkinson were pushing their overlaps further and further back assisted by Sakho and Valencia getting among the back four to stop any counters being launched. This set the tone for the rest of the half. One loose ball came to Song who threaded a world class ball through for Valencia out wide on the right. He went round Clichy and got to the byline to cross a simple ball avoiding Hart for Amalfitano to tap in to open the scoring for the Hammers. Crowd go wild with chants of “we’re going to win the league”. One nil West Ham.
City did not recover and at half time WHU were quite comfortable with their lead.
The second half was more closing down by WHU high up the pitch, and we started to believe. But you knew we needed at least one more goal. This came on 75 minutes with the ever impressive Cresswell getting down the line to cross for Sakho to head into the corner, and the ball was scraped out by Hart. From my angle, it wasn’t in, but it’s not up to me, and the lino and the technology adjudged it to be over (see photo above), and Sakho gets his 7th in 7 starts. Roof lifts off the ground, and WHU fans start doing the “Posnan” much to the chagrin of the City supporters. 2-0.
Literally from the kick off, Silva shows his quality, by running through half our team to slot in a great goal for City, and set up the finale.
I’ll be honest, some last ditch defending and some saves from Adrian and the post / crossbar kept the visitors out from here on in. Aguero will be having nightmares regarding his shot that hit the bar from within the 6 yards box. Talking of defenders, Kompany should of not still been on the pitch, as once he started to lose it, he decided to kick Valencia all over the pitch. At least 4 times, and only got one yellow. I think the ref needs to have a look at himself today.Nolan, Kouyate and Cole came on to see the game out, and did their jobs well. I hope Nolan (and Sam) understands this will be more the norm for him, these days
Anyway, all told, WHU won and we really deserved it, and that is the important part. The team has been upgraded, we have had a little injury scare, and brought squad players in, and we are still doing well, and find ourselves in 4th, and it’s not a false position. Will we stay there? Probably not, but with Stoke and Villa up next, we dare to dream with some justification.
As much as it pains me to say, Sam has had more than a shout in this, but he needs to deal with this with humility (not a strong point) and not ram it down the fans throats.
MOTM was Song by a mile. If we can change the loan to a permanent move, it could up Sam’s relationship with the fans immeasurably.
On another note, we spoke to a few City fans afterwards, and not one gave us a hard time, and said we deserved the win. Class