Manchester City v West Ham United

It was a Greek tragedy for the Hammers as Georgios Samaras bagged a second-half double to condemn Alan Pardew's men to their third defeat inside 10 days.

And while those three points will come as welcome relief to Stuart Pearce, this blue day at the City of Manchester Stadium will leave Pards with plenty to ponder ahead of Thursday evening's UEFA Cup clash with Serie A leaders Palermo.

Both managers started this game with just one victory from their six league and cup matches so far this season.

Pards's last win came in the opening day, curtain-raiser against Charlton Athletic and, following last Sunday's defeat at the hands of Newcastle United, the Hammers' boss made a trio of changes as Yossi Benayoun and Marlon Harewood replaced substitutes Lee Bowyer and Carlos Tevez, while Christian Dailly made his first start of the season, at right back, in place of an injured Tyrone Mears.

Certainly, City's only three-point haul of the current campaign - a 1-0 victory over Arsenal at the end of August - must have seemed light years away for Pearce, who had to endure an embarrassing exit from the Carling Cup at Chesterfield on Wednesday evening.

And just to make matters worse, since Dean Ashton's double gave West Ham a 2-1 victory over City in the FA Cup quarter-final back on March 20, the under-fire former Hammers' defender had seen his side win just two of their subsequent 14 league and cup encounters.

Refusing to panic, Psycho responded to that Carling Cup capitulation by making just one change as Ishmael Miller came in for Claudio Reyna, and the Blues' boss would surely have taken heart from a lively opening that saw Bernado Corradi's shot charged down before the overlapping Micah Richards sent two shots wide.

Making his first-ever Premiership start, Miller then climaxed a meandering run with a low angled 18-yard shot that skidded well wide and then, on 20 minutes, the City new boy invited Georgios Samaras to charge down the left flank and unfurl a clever 15-yarder that curled just an inch or so beyond the right-post.

In an awkward opening for the visitors, both Javier Mascherano and Paul Konchesky sent wayward 25-yarders high into the stands, while Pards' frustration was not eased by the enforced substitution of Anton Ferdinand, who hobbled away with a hamstring injury.

That called for defensive reshuffle, with Christian Dailly moving sideways into the centre as substitute Hayden Mullins came on at right back and, just minutes later, it could have got yet worse but, fortunately, the seemingly indestructible Mascherano did well to recover from Corradi's full-bloodied seat-drop tackle.

With the interval approaching, Samaras saw his inventive shot from the right-hand touchline scrambled behind by the alert Roy Carroll and then the racing Richards cut back into the six-yard box, where the ambushed Corradi sliced wide to keep it goalless at the break.

City did not have to wait long to break the deadlock, though, and within five minutes of the restart they were ahead.

Galloping from halfway, the motoring Miller looked set to mark his full debut with a goal but after seeing his scorching, angled 15-yarder loop back off the covering Dailly, the 19-year-old was soon celebrating an assist as Samaras latched onto the loose ball and unleashed an unstoppable volley from the edge of the area.

And having put City into the driving seat, the giant Greek striker then doubled the lead on 63 minutes when he ghosted behind the Hammers defence and chipped Corradi's well-weighted through-ball over Carroll from 12 yards out.

Despite forcing a handful of corners, only Hayden Mullins had gone close to threatening Nicky Weaver into a save and that was the cue for Pards to try and sharpen his attack, but not even the arrivals of Tevez and Carlton Cole could make any inroads into that two-goal deficit.