Manchester City 2 West Ham United 0

FA Premier League
Sunday 11 May 2014, 15.00 KO

City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany (c), Demichelis, Kolarov, Garcia, Toure (Negredo 86), Silva (Milner 76), Nasri, Dzeko (Fernandinho 69), Aguero
Unused: Pantilimon, Lescott, Clichy, Jovetic
Goals: Nasri (39), Kompany (49)
Booked: Demichelis, Aguero

Referee: Martin Atkinson
Man of the Match: Yaya Toure

Kompany lifts the Premier League trophy

Kompany lifts the Premier League trophy

Manchester City are champions of England and have secured their first ever league and cup double. Indeed, victory over West Ham on the final match of the 2013-14 season ensured the Blues took only their second double – the first coming in 1970, when Joe Mercer’s City won the League Cup and the European Cup Winners Cup. Manuel Pellegrini’s City added a top-flight championship to the League Cup.

The home side went into their final match of the campaign knowing that a draw would be enough for them to take the crown – barring any sort of goalscoring miracle at Anfield. Compared to the title win of 2012, the mood inside the stadium was much more relaxed – though there was still the feeling things could go wrong if the Blues weren’t professional.

There was little danger of the team letting this one escape, however, as Pellegrini’s City were always in control of the match and eased to victory. The Manchester weather had been unwelcoming at the start, raining buckets onto an already soaked pitch – though, if anything, it aided the hosts’ slick passing moves.

One of the best moves of the campaign almost finished with a beauty of a goal. Zabaleta, Garcia and Nasri combined to work an opening for the cross from the right, and, as the ball fell to the back post, Silva arrived in time to volley at goal. He caught it sweetly, but got under it slightly too much and it was blasted just over the crossbar.

The home side wanted a penalty two minutes later as Zabaleta appeared to be felled by Diame inside the box, but the referee waved play on. He trod on the defender’s leg and tripped him up – the West Ham man was lucky.

Aguero had his first shot of the game, but he slipped in unleashing the long range effort and it went straight at the goalkeeper. That’s as news came through the Newcastle had taken the lead at Anfield and that the unlikely wasn’t happening in Liverpool. As the fans were settling down to the positive news from Merseyside, Kolarov blasted from long range, too – Adrian tipped his 40-yard effort over the bar.

Zabaleta in a tackle with Taylor.

Zabaleta in a tackle with Taylor.

As it looked like the Blues might end up being level with their visitors at half time, Nasri came up with a cracking strike to break the deadlock. He picked up the ball on the edge of the West Ham box and, after knocking it out of his feet, belted if for the bottom corner. Adrian got his fingers to it, but couldn’t redirect it enough – tipping it onto the post and into the net.

And it could have been two on two occasions going into the break. First, Aguero deflected Nasri’s free kick across the face of goal and the diving Kompany couldn’t reach to touch over the line, before, second, Silva’s deflected effort crashed into the crossbar. The Spaniard wriggled free inside the box and shot for the far post, but it deflected up off a defender in front of him, hit the underside of the bar and bounced to safety.

Early in the second, the home side doubled their advantage: a corner to the near post was half headed away by the visiting defence and half knocked down by Dzeko. Waiting was the captain and Kompany turned to belt the ball past Adrian and into the back of the net.

City were sensing the kill was on the cards. Nasri stung the goalkeeper’s gloves with another long range effort, Aguero tried to angle a header into the top corner but just got slightly too much elevation on the effort, while the Argentine should have scored with just over 20 minutes to play. A low cross from Zabaleta picked out the striker, but he couldn’t adjust his feet quickly enough to turn it into the empty net.

The result never looked in doubt in truth and, with just over 10 minutes to play, the Blues almost had their third. Toure chipped a cute ball over the static Hammers’ back line for Nasri or Zabaleta to run on to. The Frenchman took control and smashed his shot for goal, but Adrian got his foot in the way to keep it out.

In the end, the Blues weren’t able to get their third goal and they finished the season with a solid, professional and comfortable 2-0 win. It was more than enough for the club to lift their second ever Premier League title.

West Ham United 0 Manchester City 3 (agg 0-9)

League Cup Semi Final Second Leg
Tuesday 21 January 2014, 19.45 KO

City: Pantilimon, Clichy, Nastasic, Lescott (c), Boyata, Fernandinho, Garcia (Rodwell 63), Lopes, Navas (Kolarov 79), Negredo, Aguero (Jovetic 65)
Unused: Hart, Demichelis, Zabaleta, Dzeko
Goals: Negredo (3, 59), Aguero (24)
Booked: Aguero, Clichy

Referee: Chris Foy
Man of the Match: Marcos Lopes

Lopes jinks past Taylor.

Lopes jinks past Taylor.

With the tie already won from the first leg, West Ham seemed dead on the feet even from kick off. It took the visitors less than three minutes to extend their lead from the previous game – Lopes found space on the left flank and crossed to the middle, where the marking was non-existent. Negredo met it unchallenged in the six-yard box and found the net.

The Hammers responded by putting the ball in City’s net through Nolan latching on to a Diame cross, but the linesman’s flag put an early end to any celebrations from the home fans. Nolan had been a yard offside when the cross was put in.

Carroll connected to a header inside the box as Lescott wasn’t aware the forward was there, after Diame fired over from a Carroll flick on. At the other end, Aguero forced Jaaskelainen into a good save, pushing the Argentine’s effort from the edge of the box around the post.

The visitors added their second of the night – and eighth of the tie – just before the 25 minute mark. A mazy run from Lopes opened up the West Ham defence and the ball fell kindly for Aguero after the Portuguese winger tried to slide the striker through. Jaaskelainen committed himself and Aguero dinked it over the goalkeeper and into the net.

Early in the second half, a great tackle from Lescott denied Morisson inside the box, with the former United man looking for a penalty – though the referee waved away the claims. Pantilimon stood big to deny Cole, before a challenge on Nolan by Nastasic could have also been a penalty, but once more the referee turned down the appeals.

On the hour mark – despite West Ham’s spell of pressure – the visitors went on to score their third. Negredo picked up the ball on the edge of the box and simply bullied his way through the home side’s defence. Three players tried to stop him, but he bulldozed his way through, before flicking the ball over Jaaskelainen.

Lopes came close to scoring – completely by accident, it must be said – as his left-footed cross dropped onto Jaaskelainen’s crossbar, before both Negredo and Rodwell couldn’t find room for a shot as they wriggled inside the West Ham box – both won corners.

With 15 minutes to place, West Ham twice came close to a consolation: First Rodwell got up ahead of Diame to head the ball behind and, from the resulting corner, the Hammers’ midfielder headed wide from inside the six-yard box. Navas responded with a blast over the bar, from a cute lay-off by Jovetic.

In the end, the game meandered to a close, with City coasting to victory. It was nine on aggregate in total, but could have been so much more – City strolled to Wembley.

Manchester City 6 West Ham United 0

League Cup Semi Final First Leg
Wednesday 8 January 2014, 19.45 KO

City: Pantilimon, Zabaleta, Kompany (c), Lescott, Clichy, Nasri, Toure (Demichelis 66), Garcia, Silva (Lopes 73), Negredo (Kolarov 79), Dzeko
Unused: Hart, Nastasic, Fernandinho, Milner
Goals: Negredo (12, 26, 49), Toure (40), Dzeko (60, 89)
Booked:

Referee: Jon Moss
Man of the Match: Alvaro Negredo

Negredo doubles City's lead.

Negredo doubles City’s lead.

With the way that City have been knocking goals in at home this season, Pellegrini was making his intentions clear: Get the job done in the first leg, as he named a strong starting line-up. It paid off as Pantilimon’s work was little more than collecting crosses and clearing back-passes in a game that the Blues dominated from start to finish.

It started to go downhill for the Hammers on 12 minutes. There was a certain sense of irony in the manner in which the Blues scored their first; City have the reputation as the one-touch specialists, while it’s Allardyce’s teams who carry the long-ball reputation. But Toure played it long for the run of Negredo, whose superb volley, over his shoulder, nestled in the bottom corner.

The second goal of the night virtually killed any competitive edge in the tie – not that there was much to begin with. Negredo dummied the ball for Dzeko to receive it mid-way into the West Ham half. The Bosnian controlled, turned and laid it off into the path of his strike partner, who took a touch and, on the slide, powered it into the top corner from just inside the box.

As the first half wore on, City should have been further in front. Garcia stabbed over from a Silva corner, before a great run by Nasri set-up Dzeko to shoot from just inside the box. The Bosnian, however, got under the ball and it ended up in the fans behind the goal.

With five minutes until the break, however, the home side made it three. The ball bounced kindly for Negredo in the centre-circle and Toure took it off the Spaniard’s toes to run at the West Ham defence. He just kept going until he was inside the box, where his shot took the slightest of deflections on its way past Adrian and into the net.

Negredo’s hat-trick came a mere four minutes into the second period. A corner from the left was cleared as far as Silva, who wriggled his way into the box to square towards Dzeko. It was deflected straight into the path of Negredo, whose side-footed shot picked out the left side of the net.

Nasri has an effort on goal.

Nasri has an effort on goal.

But City weren’t done. Toure tried an effort from a free kick on the edge of the box, but his shot was just over the bar, before a Dzeko blast from range missed the top corner by inches. The Bosnian, though, didn’t have to wait much longer to get his name on the score sheet, touching in a low Clichy cross on the hour mark.

It quickly became a training exercise for the home side, who were keeping the ball expertly and barely out of second gear, despite the scoreline. Negredo had a shot deflected around the post, before Dzeko’s header was superbly saved by Adrian – who was doing his level best to keep the score down.

That was until a minute from the end, when Dzeko added his second of the evening to make it six for City, and five for him in four appearances in the competition for this season. Kolarov’s pull-back found the Bosnian just inside the box and the striker got a good connection to smash it past the stationary goalkeeper.

At the mid-way point in the semi-final, City look already on the way to Wembley, barring a miracle at Upton Park for the Hammers. If anything, 6-0 flattered the visitors; it could have been much more.

Manchester City 2 West Ham United 1

FA Premier League
Saturday 27 April 2013, 12.45 KO

City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany (c), Lescott, Clichy, Barry, Y Toure, Silva (Milner 78), Nasri (K Toure 88), Tevez (Garcia 84), Aguero
Unused: Pantilimon, Kolarov, Nastasic, Dzeko
Goals: Aguero (28), Y Toure (83)
Booked: Zabaleta

Referee: Howard Webb
Man of the Match: Carlos Tevez

West Ham1Despite enjoying the early possession, City found it difficult to break through the two banks of four that had been set up by the West Ham defence. With eight minutes on the clock, Tevez had an effort from the edge of the box, but he probably didn’t catch it as well as he’d hoped and it dropped nicely for Jaaskelainen to collect. It was a stuttered start to the game and West Ham were defiant and stout in their defending.

With almost 20 minutes played, a corner from the left was cleared as far as Barry on the edge of the box. He brought it down on his chest, but was fouled before he could get a shot away. Advantage was played as it bounced to Silva, who smashed a left-footed effort through the crowded penalty area. It didn’t take a touch off anybody and finished just wide of the far post.

Tevez was next to miss an effort from the edge of the box, as some neat play from Nasri worked the ball through to the Argentine. He couldn’t get over the shot, though, and it dropped into the fans behind the goal. A minute later, his compatriot Aguero received a stroke of luck as a return ball from Silva towards Tevez was deflected to him unmarked in the box. He scuffed the effort, though, and it smacked into the post.

Just before the half hour, the goal that had been threatened finally arrived. One-touch build-up play from Toure, Silva and Nasri left the Frenchman free on the by-line to cross low into the box. Aguero had pulled off his man and received the pass, shooting through Jaaskelainen and into the back of the net. The blues were deservedly in front.

From the very next attack, it should have been two: Jaaskelainen spilled a Nasri shot from the edge of the box and Zabaleta was following up unmarked. It was a difficult effort on his left foot, but, as he prodded it towards goal, Jaaskelainen managed to nudge the ball behind for a corner.

The visitors came into the game more in the second half. They started the brighter, without really testing Hart, but still putting the home side under pressure. It was City who came up with the first real chance after the break, as Nasri scooped a wonderful lob to Tevez, but the striker’s volley was blocked as he tried to score against his old club.

Carroll couldn’t get a header from a deep cross on target, as he started to get into the game, before Tevez missed a brilliant chance to double City’s lead, as he tried to mimic Aguero’s opener and drop off his marker, but Jaaskelainen managed to block the shot. Nasri then conspired to miss a Tevez cross with an open goal in front of him, before Aguero was somehow foiled by Jaaskelainen after the goalkeeper had spilled the initial shot.

Seconds after West Ham let City off the hook – as a free ball in the penalty area was poked wide by Collins – the blues doubled their advantage in style. Yaya Toure picked the ball up on the right corner of the visitors’ area and cut inside onto his left foot. With a yard of space, he curled a shot right into the top far corner, leaving Jaaskelainen with no chance of keeping it out.

As the game entered stoppage time, there was a worry for City as Hart went down injured and the home side had used all three substitutes. Seemingly struggling, he carried on and managed to pull off another great save to keep Carroll out as he headed towards the bottom corner. However, with virtually the last kick of the game, the big striker smashed a shot straight at the City keeper, who missed his catch and it dropped through his legs into the net.

No doubt the back problem will have played a part, but nevertheless Hart will be disappointed in not claiming another clean sheet this season, especially that late in the game.

West Ham United 0 Manchester City 0

FA Premier League
Saturday 3 November 2012, 17.30 KO

City: Hart, K Toure, Kompany (c), Nastasic, Clichy, Y Toure, Nasri (Sinclair 90), Barry, Tevez (Garcia 84), Dzeko, Balotelli (Aguero 69)
Unused: Pantilimon, Zabaleta, Kolarov, Razak
Goals:
Booked:

Referee: Howard Webb
Man of the Match: Mario Balotelli

It was a very even start to the game, with both sides pushing for early control. A free kick mid-way into the City half allowed West Ham to loft the ball into the box and Nolan nodded it past Joe Hart, but his celebration was cut short by an offside flag. City were lucky, especially with replays suggesting the West Ham man was level with the visitors’ back line.

City responded with some pressure of their own. Some neat play in the middle of the pitch allowed Nasri to shoot from the edge of the box. It was pushed away by Jaaskelainen and Dzeko headed the rebound at goal, but he was also flagged offside. Not that it mattered, as the effort dropped wide, with Balotelli unable to touch it in.

With 12 minutes played, Diame found acres of space on the left side of City’s box and it allowed him to cut inside. As he entered the area, he belted a shot at goal, but he got underneath it and Joe Hart was able to cover it and let it go over the bar. The England goalkeeper was then helpless as Benayoun hit the bar.

Tevez hit a free kick into the West Ham wall, before, a few minutes later, he stole the ball back from the home side’s defence on the right flank and squared for Dzeko on the edge of the box. The Bosnian’s effort, though, curled easily into the hands of Jaaskelainen. Carroll could have opened the scoring in between those efforts, with a low drive, but it narrowly missed Hart’s post.

Some more City pressure put West Ham on the back foot. A Balotelli volley was blocked by Benayoun, before a Tevez free kick found the Italian unmarked inside the six-yard box. Somehow, though, the forward got underneath the effort and skied it, with Jaaskelainen rooted to his line. Kolo Toure set up Balotelli with a good shooting chance, but his effort didn’t go near the goal.

Balotelli tried an overhead kick as the board went up for stoppage time, but it caught his shin and didn’t trouble the West Ham goal. This followed Kolo Toure picking up a loose ball from a City corner and feeding it through to his brother on the right side of the box. Yaya Toure, unmarked, took a touch to control and, as he was closed down, fired his shot in. He sliced it, though, and it spun wide at the near post.

Early in the second half, some good work from Dzeko and Nasri allowed the forward to smash a ball across the face of goal. Balotelli, though, in the six-yard box, took a fresh air shot. Tevez rescued the ball and got a shot in, but it was a simple save for Jaaskelainen.

But then West Ham began to press. Nolan headed wide from a Benayoun cross as he stretched to reach it, before Carroll tried an overhead kick. He caught it well and it was on target, until it was blocked behind for a corner. From the flag kick, City struggled to clear, but West Ham couldn’t force a shooting opportunity.

A brilliant ball from Yaya Toure set Clichy through on the left flank. He looked inside for Dzeko, but the Bosnian couldn’t get a decisive touch on the ball to redirect it on target and it bobbled behind without troubling the goalkeeper. Tevez skied a shot from inside the box, after Clichy had recovered the ball on the left wing and picked out Balotelli in the middle. The Italian rolled it into the Argentine, but he couldn’t keep his left-footed effort down.

It was backs to the wall for West Ham with 15 minutes to play, as City pushed for the opening goal. Clichy had a drive at the box after having done brilliantly to keep possession under pressure, but it was blocked inside the box. Dzeko tried to hit the rebound, but his shot was blocked.

City spent the end of the game throwing the kitchen sink at the hosts, but despite a toe-poke from the edge of the box by Yaya Toure, the visiting side just couldn’t trouble Jaaskelainen in the West Ham goal. It was the first time City failed to score this season and the first goalless draw since Boxing Day 2011, but the Champions do remain unbeaten.

Manchester City 2 West Ham 1

Barclay’s Premier League
Sunday 1 May 2011, 16.10 KO

City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany (c), Lescott, Kolarov, Barry (Dzeko 75), de Jong (Milner 45), Y Touré, Silva, A Johnson, Balotelli (Vieira 87)
Unused: Taylor, Boyata, Wright-Phillips, Jo
Goals: de Jong (11), Zabaleta (15)
Booked: Zabaleta, Barry, A Johnson

Referee: Howard Webb
Man of the Match: Gareth Barry

With Tottenham having lost to Chelsea the day before and Liverpool smashing past Newcastle earlier in the day, this was a must-win game for City if they wanted to stamp their authority on that Champions League place. And it was City that started the brighter, with Touré having a shot blocked and Balotelli heading wide from a corner.

And, soon enough, that early goal came through the most unlikely of sources. A Silva shot was deflected behind for a corner and that cross was cleared to the edge of the box, where Nigel de Jong was waiting. He placed it expertly into the bottom corner and got his first ever City goal, in almost 100 games for the club.

Just four minutes later, though, and it got better and from another unlikely source. Silva picked up the ball on the right and spotted the run of Zabaleta in behind the full back. He chipped a delightful ball over the top for the Argentine to run on to and his low shot was helped over the line by the defender, via his own crossbar.

City began to slow down in possession and allowed West Ham to get themselves back into the game. Joe Hart produced another save similar to his against Berbatov at Wembley, this time as Robbie Keane broke the line, before the visitors pulled a goal back. Demba Ba reacted first as the ball his Lescott’s hand and he fired it past Hart for 2-1.

West Ham continued to press for their equaliser before half time, but weren’t able to fashion another shooting chance, while City were struggling to get hold of the game, despite starting so well.

With ten minutes of the second half played, City were almost further in front. Balotelli was found by Silva on the far side of the box and he cut it back onto his right foot, before aiming for the top corner. Green was rooted, but was relieved to see it crash back off his crossbar to the flagged-offside Yaya Touré.

Da Costa then forced a good save from Joe Hart, as West Ham looked for an equaliser from a corner, but it was a strong hand from the City keeper and he was able to gobble up the rebound.

Five minutes later and City had another golden chance to wrap up the points, as Silva was onside and played through for a one-on-one with Green. He took too many touches and couldn’t find room for the shot, so he squared for Balotelli, whose shot was cleared off the line by Tomkins.

With ten minutes of the game to play, City had gotten themselves comfortably on the ball again and could have sewn up the points with an effort from Dzeko, but Balotelli was offside as he tried to get to the rebound as it bounced off Green’s body.

City saw the game out with some possession play by the corner flags and almost caused West Ham more problems with a late charge by Zabaleta from right back, as Green made a meal of keeping the ball in play from a pass-back. It didn’t matter that the third goal never came because City were able to hold on and fourth place in the Premier League is looking good for the blues.

West Ham 1 Manchester City 3

Barclay’s Premier League
Saturday 11 December 2010, 15.00 KO

City: Hart, Boateng, K Touré (c), Kompany, Zabaleta, Y Touré, de Jong, Barry, Silva (Milner 87), Balotelli (A Johnson 61), Jo
Unused: Given, Richards, Lescott, Vieira, Santa Cruz
Goals: Y Touré (29), Green (og 73), A Johnson (81)
Booked: Balotelli, de Jong, Zabaleta

Referee: Phil Dowd
Man of the Match: David Silva

City started the brighter of the two teams, controlling the play in the opening stages in the West Ham half. Zabaleta tried to feed it through to Jo, before Silva did manage to find the Brazilian, wide on the left, but his low cross towards Balotelli was held by Green.

A minute later, the same combination should have put City into the lead. Silva found Jo wide on the left and he played it in to Balotelli on the edge of the six yard box. But, unmarked, the big Italian couldn’t find the net and his side-footed effort rolled wide of the far post.

Some neat interplay between de Jong, Yaya Touré and Jo then left the Dutch international a chance to cross, but it was just cut out before it reached Balotelli. The resulting corner was played short and led to half-hearted shouts for handball, before Boateng had to be across quickly to deny a quick West Ham breakaway.

West Ham had a little pressure on the City goal, with a couple of free kicks, but the crosses into the box were easily dealt with. Scott Parker than had West Ham’s first effort on goal – a volley from a clearance by Kolo Touré, from about 35 yards. Hart, though, had it well covered.

Nigel de Jong then gifted West Ham a shooting chance, giving away a free kick on the edge of the City box, after Balotelli had crossed high and wide from a free kick at the other end, but Stanislas skied it.

With just over 20 minutes played, Stanislas beat Boateng in City’s right back position and fired in a low shot towards goal. Hart saw it late, but he got down quickly to block and hold it.

A crunching challenge from Kompany then denied a quick breakaway by the home side and set City on the attack. Silva found Barry, who had the opportunity to drive the ball into the box low and hard, but it was blocked wide for the corner.

With 26 minutes on the clock, Yaya Touré picked up the ball in the midfield and drove towards goal. He carried it from halfway and into the West Ham box, but, instead of taking the shot with his left foot, he used the outside of his right and it was an easy save for Rob Green, who was able to hold it.

Barrera then had a pop from range, but it was watched well wide by Hart, before City went up the other end and took the lead. Yaya Touré found Barry wide on the left and the England international’s return pass was hit first time, just inside the area, with his left foot and it found the top corner emphatically.

City could have doubled the lead almost instantly, as a long throw-in from Boateng laded to Balotelli with his back to goal, but he couldn’t quite get his shot in, and West Ham managed to scramble it clear. Balotelli then had a free header cleared off the line from a corner, as City began to dominate.

Just before the clock ticked to 40, Scott Parker turned away well from Nigel de Jong before trying to slide a shot from the edge of the box inside Joe Hart’s post, but the City keeper had it covered and it was just wide.

West Ham had the chance to level just before the break, as Piquionne beat Kolo Touré in the air, but his header, from the penalty spot, was just over the bar and Joe Hart had it covered.

It was the home side who started the second half the better, with some pressure on Joe Hart’s goal. City, though, while struggling to get the ball away at times, weren’t troubled and West Ham couldn’t force a decent shot on target. A couple of corners were cleared, Joe Hart collected a low cross and a shout for a penalty for a handball by Yaya Touré were waved away – it would have been very harsh.

With 53 minutes gone, Yaya Touré had another shot from range that stung the gloves of Rob Green, but it was comfortably dealt with in one of City’s isolated second half attacks.

The same man had another effort from range, again held by Green, before Jo volleyed over from a deflected Silva cross, before an Adam Johnson corner caused chaos in the box, but the home side just about scrambled it clear.

As the game entered the final fifteen minutes, though, City were able to take it by the scruff of the neck and take complete control. Yaya Touré ran from the edge of the box, past Tomkins and into the box and fired in a low shot. It hit the post, bounced off the back of Green and into the net for 0-2.

And soon enough, City were showing their dominance. David Silva played a beautiful ball to Adam Johnson and the substitute took the ball around Rob Green and slid it into the net, taking them joint top of the Premier League.

But, there was a blemish on the copybook to come for City. With the game heading towards stoppage time, Tomkins was unmarked from a West Ham corner and he rose to head the ball past Joe Hart, with the aid of a deflection off Kolo Touré.

Add to: Facebook | Digg | Del.icio.us | Stumbleupon | Reddit | Twitter | Technorati