Barclay’s English Premiership
Monday 28 September 2009, 20:00 KO
City: Given, Zabaleta, Lescott, Touré (c), Bridge, Wright-Phillips (Santa Cruz 80), Barry (Johnson 88), de Jong, Petrov, Bellamy, Tevez
Unused: Taylor, Weiss, Sylvinho, Richards, Garrido
Goals: Tevez (4, 60) Petrov (31)
Referee: Chris Foy
Man of the Match: Nigel de Jong
After a tired performance and over a week to move on from the defeat at Old Trafford, the City team faced West Ham, a team who have been struggling this season. City wanted a good performance and a victory to get themselves back on track and that’s exactly what they got.
And before West Ham could settle, the visitors were behind. Martin Petrov was released down the left wing and, when he got to the byline, he got his head up and found Carlos Tevez. He slammed the ball into the net as Green dived to try and stop the low cross.
Two minutes later, the former Hammer nearly doubled his tally. The ball bounced to him from a corner and he swivelled to unleashed a powerful half-volley, but it was just inches outside the post.
On 13 minutes, it was Tevez again who had the shot on the end of a fantastic City move, but it was well over the bar. City were in total control and giving West Ham the runaround.
With 17 minutes on the clock, Martin Petrov forced a fine save out of the visitors’ keeper, as he volleyed in a left foot cracker towards the bottom corner, from a Carlos Tevez low cross.
But, with their first chance of the game, the visitors equalised. Diamanti’s free kick wasn’t cleared by the City defence and Kovac puts in a weak shot. It didn’t look too threatening until it flicked off the heels of Carlton Cole and beat Shay Given.
Seven minutes later, and the home side had the lead again. De Jong was fouled outside the area and Carlos Tevez, Craig Bellamy and Martin Petrov stood over the free kick. Petrov took it and beat Robert Green low to the bottom left corner.
Just before half time, City could have extended their lead. Some neat play between Petrov and Bellamy lead to Carlos Tevez picking up the ball outside the box. He beat one defender, but Green was out quickly to save with his feet.
Bellamy then had a powerful header well stopped by Green before Martin Petrov fired in a volley from outside the box on the left, but the goalkeeper was in the right place at the right time.
City started the second half slowly and it was de Jong who was alert to clear for a corner and get his head on the ball to get the resulting kick away.
On 53 minutes, West Ham were pressing but weren’t testing Shay Given. But the almost got themselves a golden chance when Bridge miscued a backpass and Given had to hurry to get it clear.
Just before the hour, Lescott wanted a penalty for a foul from a Craig Bellamy corner. It was probably a foul, but his theatrical fall could have swung the referee’s mind the other way.
On 61 minutes, City were given a free kick on the left flank. Bellamy floated it in and City were queuing up at the back post to put it in, with three players unmarked. It was Tevez who got the header and beat the despairing dive of Robert Green.
Noble then forced Given into a decent save, before Gareth Barry headed over from a corner. Both players will have felt they should have done better.
With 20 minutes left, Shay Given earned his keep with three top class saves. The first, from Diamanti on the break, was an excellent fingertip stop to his left and, moments later, the same player forced Given to push the ball over the bar.
Ten minutes to go and Gareth Barry nearly secured the points for City. Bellamy’s pace caught West Ham out on the break and he knocked it back for the City midfielder, who took a touch and attempted to lob Robert Green. The goalkeeper, though, got up well to tip it over the bar.
Santa Cruz and Johnson came on for their first appearances of the season – both just to get some match time under their belts after long spells injured – but it was one of last season’s main absentees who could have rounded off a City win. Petrov found himself through, but decided to cut back onto his right foot and his curling effort was just over the bar.
In the end, City cruised to victory, keeping possession well and it was a game the home side needed to win to get back on track from the disappointment of ‘Time-gate’ at Old Trafford. City were comfortable winners on the night.