Sunday, October 20

Manchester, so much to answer for…

West Ham United 1 Manchester City 3

Plenty of familiar faces in Ken’s Café in the hours before kick-off. My old mates Mark and Ian from Shenfield School are on the bacon baguettes, along with Mark’s two sons, eager to get into the ground for the pre-match entertainment (surely not as good as young Billy on plate duties). Jo from Whitstable arrives and reveals she heard the score was 3-0 at White Hart Lane and immediately assumed we’d lost.

Matt’s been clearing out his football annals and is dispensing old On A Mission From God and OLAS fanzines from 2000, while Highway Star Nigel arrives with My Woman From Tokyo (or is it Kew?) saying that Deep Purple at the Roundhouse was the gig of the year. There’s even a cameo from DC and the Wee Man.

At this point I dig out my Morrissey Autobiography, purchased from the Newham Bookshop, causing Matt to wonder if there will be Panic in the West Ham defence while Fraser later suggests that Some Goals Are Bigger than Others. Michael the Whovian claims to be at the New York Metropolitan Opera House (or is he just secretly watching the newly discovered Web of Fear?)

Surely miracles can’t happen twice in a fortnight? Manchester City haven’t won away all season, which is ominous. Sure enough City look slick from the start with Silva dominating midfield and Aguero looking sharp, despite the chants of “You’re just a shit Carlos Tevez!” Noble has a good game and Diame tries hard as a ghost striker but apart from one Diame shot wide we rarely threaten. Though we are playing exclusively on the floor in our new wingless formation.

Reid has to make a good tackle to deny Negredo early on. City score after 16 minutes when Reid and Tomkins appear to freeze and are beaten by a straight ball through the middle as Aguero slots calmly home.

Aguero has another shot saved and the ball is cleared after an almighty scramble. Reid makes another rare mistake and Toure gets in a powerful shot well saved by Jussi. Matt wonders if it's "Rolling Rat" after the full back wins a free-kick with a theatrical fall. West Ham rally a little to force a series of corners at the end of the first half, but City look like a side purchased by the richest club in Britain. 

At half-time we’re relieved it’s only 1-0 and CQ dispenses the lucky aniseed balls. But even they can’t help us as early in the second half Aguero wins a free kick on the edge of the box after being sandwiched by Reid and Demel. Aguero is then given the freedom of Upton Park to head in the free kick, being ignored by Nolan and Vaz Te. Jussi gets a hand to the ball but can’t keep it out. The City fans amuse themselves with cries of: “David Moyes is a football genius!”

A pitch invader suddenly emerges from the Lower East stand and is eventually tackled by three stewards after a lengthy chase across the pitch. “He showed quite a turn of pace,” muses Matt, wondering if the miscreant can play as a striker.

At least WHU show character at this point. We really give it a go with Rat prominent on the left and advancing to curl in some decent crosses. Suddenly we’re back in the game. Rat crosses, Downing heads to Morrison who scoops the ball into the box, and the previously ineffective Vaz Te scores with a brilliant overhead kick. We text Michael the Whovian but for some reason he doesn’t believe that Vaz has scored. 

City nearly reply with a third as Negredo wallops our bar. At this point Allardyce should surely bring on a striker but we continue to cross towards a Carroll-shaped hole. Allardyce brings off Jarvis for Vaz Te, which is strange, as Vaz has just scored. Jarvis pulls back a couple of inviting crosses but no one is on the end of them.

On 80 minutes City break with menace yet again. Toure finds Aguero who flicks on to Silva who scores with a delightful curled shot. Game over, and finally Big Sam brings on Petric. But it’s no disgrace to lose to City at the top of their game and you feel Morrison will benefit from a game against world-class players.

We retreat to the Central, where Jim Morrison appears to be playing in the front bar, and have a solitary pint before joining the queue at Upton Park tube. Should Cole or Petric play next week? Or do we persevere with ghost strikers? Let’s hope Swansea City are exhausted after the Europa League, because WHU need another result.

MATCH RATINGS: Jaaskelainen 6, Demel 6, Rat 7, Reid 5, Tomkins 5, Downing 7, Morrison 6, Noble 7, Diame 7, Nolan 5, Vaz Te 6. 


Phil Nichols said...

I see from my weekly email from Big (as he would have it)Sam, that he thinks Stuart Downing had a 'very, very good game.'No Sam, David Silva had a very, very good game. Downing just about good. Cant argue with your player ratings. Reid looked far too casual in a game that needed him to be at his best. Think we missed Collins today.

Re Morrisey. I should mention a late friend who managed to include the name of every song on the first Smiths album into an A Level essay on Anthony & Cleopatra. No mean feat - try it for of your blogs......

matt said...

Silva was the best player we've seen at the Boleyn this season, and Aguero, Toure and Fernandinho
were very good too. Reid played the whole game for New Zealand in Port of Spain on the Wednesday, which surely explains his poor performance - he is usually very consistent.

Pete May said...

Good idea Phil, though These Things Take Time. Presumably Girlfriend in a Coma made it into the Anthony and Cleopatra essay…

Silva was brilliant and Toure impressive too, along with Nasri and Ferdinandinho and they seemed to outnumber our six man midfield even with four players! Very rare Winston has an off day... sure he'll be as good as ever next week.