Premier League Upton Park Att:34907 Saturday, October 19, 2013 4:30:00 PM
West Ham United1
Vaz Te 58'
Aguero 16', 50'
- Michael Oliver
West Ham United:
- Demel (O'Brien 64mins)
- Vaz Te (Jarvis 64mins)
- Nolan (C)(Petric 82mins)
- Unused subs
- Adrian, Taylor, J.Cole, C.Cole
- Yaya Toure (C)
- Nasri (Milner 73mins)
- Aguero (Jovetic 81mins)
- Negredo (Kolarov 65mins)
- Unused subs
- Pantilimon, Zabaleta, Lescott, Dzeko
Why don’t we do it on the road?
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That was the question visiting supporters were asking themselves on their way in to Upton Park.
Not any more, as City turned in a performance of fluency and finesse spearheaded by the irrepressible Sergio Aguero and Alvaro Negredo to claim a first away win of the season at the fourth time of asking.
Aguero struck twice in the early stages of both halves but City were made to sweat when West Ham replied through Ricardo Vaz Te just before the hour.
However, David Silva added a sublime third with ten minutes on the clock to allay fears of more away day misery and confirm the destination of the points.
Perhaps last weekend’s international break came as an inconvenience to both sides after West Ham produced the shock of the last Premier League match day with a 3-0 victory over Spurs the day after City had expelled their Everton hoodoo with a classy 3-1 home win.
Manuel Pellegrini’s XI showed five changes from the team that beat Everton a fortnight ago, with Micah Richards, Gael Clichy, Matija Nastasic, Javi Garcia and Samir Nasri all making the cut for City’s first trip to the capital in 2013/14.
Vincent Kompany and Martin Demichelis were both still missing with injuries, so Nastasic and Garcia partnered eachother at the heart of defence, while up front, it was the Aguero and Negredo axis that left fans licking their lips in the Toffees triumph a fortnight ago.
The Chilean’s counterpart Sam Allardyce was able to name in-form Ravel Morrison in his side, along with Mark Noble, Kevin Nolan and Stewart Downing across a packed midfield in a team which lacked a recognised striker.
Allardyce or “Allardici”, if you like, was bang on trend, fielding a rotating cast of “false nines”, perhaps an indication that a repeat of last season’s goalless draw in this fixture would do Big Sam just fine.
Who could pick up from where they left off before the international break?
On that score, Pellegrini’s men made all of the early running, with Richards bombing forward from right-back at every opportunity and Silva pulling the strings in behind the menacing strike partnership forged in Madrid and Quilmes.
...West Ham v City match report...
It was that little and large combination which unlocked the home defence for the first time after a quarter of an hour.
Fernandinho played a straight pass through the lines towards Negredo which he nonchalantly dummied, allowing the ball to by-pass the Irons defence and roll invitingly into the path of Aguero who found himself all alone in behind.
It was a breathtakingly imaginative "non-assist" from Negredo and the end result never looked in doubt as City’s no.16 slammed past Jussi Jääskeläinen in the 16th minute.
City have never lost a Premier League game that the Argentine has scored in and just under ten minutes later, he had a chance to double the damage with a volley from a Negredo knockdown but this time Jääskeläinen was equal to the task with solid hands.
Negredo dragged an effort wide after 33 minutes and Yaya Toure forced a great save from the Hammers' keeper a few moments later but the early fizz and fluency had given way to a drift which seemed to encourage the home side out of their early malaise, although Joe Hart remained untested until after the break.
City’s two away defeats this season have seen them surrender leads, leaving pundits to speculate on concentration levels over 90 minutes in the away side's ranks.
Those early season slip-ups at Cardiff and Aston Villa would surely have been referenced by Pellegrini in his half-time briefing, as well as the fragility of a one-goal winning margin.
...West v City match report...
A second goal was top of the Sky Blue wish list when the game resumed and, happily, there was only a five minute wait for it.
Silva picked out an unmarked Aguero on the front post with a free-kick from the left side and time seemed to stand still as his guided header found its way into the top corner via Jääskeläinen’s fingertips.
West Ham halved the deficit eight minutes later with their second shot on target when Vaz Te beat the offside trap and bicycle kicked a looping pass from Morrison past a stranded Hart.
Negredo nearly restored the two-goal cushion when he thrashed the ball against the underside of the crossbar on the hour, Aguero was denied by another fine save ten minutes later, before substitute Aleksandar Kolarov worked Jääskeläinen yet again, but City’s knockout blow just wouldn’t register.
City lived on their nerves in the face of a brief onslaught from Allardyce’s charges but Silva added a delightful third with a precise finish around the goalkeeper from a silky Aguero flick to settle the match with ten minutes to go.
Moscow is calling and, in this mood, the Sky Blues look ready to answer the call.