Thursday, January 9

Six and the City

Manchester City 6 West Ham 0 (Capital One Cup)

Fraser, Matt, Lisa and myself are gathered in the Lucky Pub in the West End. We’ve decided that even if West Ham get tonked it can still retain its status as the Lucky Pub as we won’t technically lose the semi-final until the end of the second leg.

West Ham actually force a couple of early corners, which we aim straight at Pantilimon, before it reverts to ceaseless City pressure. City’s first comes from a long ball from the half way line on 12 minutes. Negredo has got between McCartney and O’Brien and expertly volleys home. Great finish but much too simple a goal to concede. Soon it’s 2-0 as Dzeko and Negredo combine for another crisp Negredo finish into the top corner.

Big Sam has his hood over his head and isn’t even bothering to stand up and brave the rain on the touchline. His body language isn't inspiring. We can’t get near the City players. Toure effortlessly swots our midfielders away, goes off injured, but then returns to run from the halfway line. Hapless Roger Johnson backs off and retreats so far he’s almost in Oldham before Toure fires home. I’m not sure we’re going to get four in the second half.

“Can we sack Allardyce at half-time, it will only take 15 minutes,” ponders Fraser.

It doesn’t improve in the second half. The ineffective Maiga is replaced by Carlton Cole. On 49 minutes Negredo completes his hat-trick after Silva’s shot is blocked. Diarra replaces Noble who hasn’t looked fully fit.

“I think the referee might score at this rate,” suggests Fraser.

Full-backs Demel and McCartney are looking terribly slow against a quality attack. It’s five when Dzeko shoots home from Silva’s cross. Only a couple of brilliant saves from Adrian keep the score down. And poor Matt is having to watch the game sober as he’s about to work the night shift.

The good-humoured West Ham fans turn on Allardyce and chant, “we want our West Ham back!”

Inevitably City get six when Dzeko scores again with a great finish from Kolarov’s cross. It’s Oldham and the Valentine’s Day Massacre all over again. City have been brilliant, but we haven’t even begun to give them a game. 

On this evidence Allardyce looks as if he has lost the players as well as the fans. He’s been unlucky with injuries, but there seems a lack of basic passing ability and fighting spirit at City. Diame has gone backwards, Downing fluffed what crosses he had, Joe Cole didn’t get into the game, Maiga didn’t close defenders down and Taylor is nothing like the player he once was at Portsmouth, while the defence was cut apart. And on top of this our captain isn’t there because of a stupid sending off. Defeat at Cardiff will surely mean that Big Sam is fired.

Nigel texts to say that CQ is very disappointed, as she had already got the eggs and bacon in for our cup final breakfast in Kew.

The pub juke box plays Rhythm of the Rain by The Cascades, the first record Fraser ever bought, and it seems rather apt on a night of sodden desperation in Manchester. Wonder if we’ll get our £45 tickets refunded for the second leg now? Nurse, the screens…


Chrissy Brand said...

Being a Hammer living in Manchester I have kept a low profile at work today...

Pete May said...

Poor you Chrissy. Better hide under a hood like Big Sam.

matt said...

They are making the home leg kids for a quid - which could scar a generation of youngsters for life.

At least I don't have to go to Cardiff...

Pete May said...

A quid is much too expensive… Nigel is going to Cardiff too now.