City prove too good for Hammers

Manchester City bounced back from a derby defeat to rivals Manchester United by dispatching West Ham United 2-0.

The hosts came out of the traps full of creativity and intent, and it was not long before they fashioned a number of threatening openings. 

First, Martin Demichelis’ lofted ball found David Silva in the six yard box, however the offside flag came to the Hammers’ rescue before Sergio Aguero fired wide from close range. 

Despite the current Premier League champions establishing a stronghold on the game, the deadlock was broken in somewhat fortunate circumstances in the 18th minute when James Collins’ attempted clearance sliced of his boot and looped over the helpless Adrian. 

Having taken the lead, City continued to pile on the pressure, David Silva went closest to extending the lead before Aleksandar Kolarov’s free kick went inches wide of the right-hand post. 

The host’s pressure took its toll soon afterwards as Sergio Aguero capped off a fine counter-attacking move to double their lead. Fernando picked up a loose ball deep in his own half before releasing Aguero. The prolific Argentine raced away, combining with Jesus Navas before slotting past Adrian. 

In response, the Hammers had several half-chances, the best of which came after good pressing by Enner Valencia who dispossessed Martin Demichelis. Carlton Cole ran onto to the loose ball and forced a smart save from Joe Hart, Valencia stretched for the rebound yet Pablo Zabaleta did just enough to put the Ecuadorean international off. At the half-time break, the score remained 2-0.    

The second half started much like the first, with City again demonstrating their top four credentials. The Citizens moved the ball around superbly on the edge of the area and looked to have sealed the three points but for an inch perfect tackle by Carl Jenkinson to deny Aguero his second of the afternoon.

In an attempt to inject fresh legs, Allardyce brought on Matt Jarvis and Kevin Nolan on for Carlton Cole and Alex Song and the change appeared to inspire a stronger final 20 minutes for the Irons. 

A lengthy stoppage in play then ensued as David Silva needed medical treatment following an accidental collision with Chiekou Kouyate. The Spaniard had to be replaced by Samir Nasri while Kouyate, who was deemed to have used his elbow deliberately, was booked. 

Shortly after the restart the Hammers appeared to have regrouped as the ball fell to Stewart Downing on the edge of the box, whose shot was blocked well by Eliaquim Mangala. 

In the 86th minute, Enner Valencia came closest to reducing the arrears following a fantastic run that bamboozled four City defenders yet his shot fell just wide. 

Inspired by the Hammers stand out moment of the game, Kevin Nolan picked up a loose ball and bore down on goal, forcing Joe Hart to make another smart save.

Moments later a lofted free kick broke to Winston Reid who fell just as he was about to pull the trigger. Despite fervent appeals from the Hammers, referee Anthony Taylor waved play on. 

Despite an improved finish, it proved too little too late as City held out for an important win as they look to secure fourth spot. The Hammers next face relegation threatened Queens Park Rangers as Sam Allardyce’s men look to record their highest points total since returning to the Premier League.    

Manchester City: Hart, Demichelis, Zabaleta, Kolarov, Mangala, Silva (Nasri 74), Toure ©, Fernando, Jesus Navas, Lampard (Fernandinho 88), Aguero (Dzeko 91)
Subs: Caballero, Sagna, Boyata, Pozo

Goalscorers: James Collins (O.G.) 18, Sergio Aguero 36

Bookings: Silva, Navas 

West Ham United: Adrian, Reid, Cresswell, Kouyate, Downing, Noble, Jenkinson, Collins, Cole (Nolan 66), Song (Jarvis 66), Valencia
Subs: Jaaskelainen, Nene, O’Brien, Amalfitano, Burke

Bookings: Kouyate, Downing