Oysters & jellied eels – MAN CITY 6 WEST HAM UTD 0

When it comes bus parking, Sam Allardyce has ‘L’ plates as big as the mountain his hapless Hammers have to climb in the second leg of the Capital One Cup semi final.

Big Sam’s West Ham masterplan was to frustrate City’s goal gluttons with a resolute rearguard action, putting the brakes on Manuel Pellegrini’s push for silverware so early in his Etihad reign.

It worked like a dream for all of 12 minutes…before descending into his worst managerial nightmare, as City’s beast of a bargain Alvaro Negredo opened the floodgates on a scoring tsunami.

Wet one - Big Sam cuts a desolate and isolated figure  Courtesy @MCFC

Wet one – Big Sam cuts a desolate and isolated figure Courtesy @MCFC

Allardyce had already incurred the wrath of West Ham’s magnificent travelling support, when a chronically weakened side was smashed 5-0 in the FA Cup by Nottingham Forest.

City’s subsequent 6-0 annihilation of the proud, but now pathetic Irons, was too much to bear as the vociferous and very vocal Hammers fans colourfully suggested Sam took his managerial skills elsewhere.

It speaks volumes when a six goal defeat flatters the vanquished.

Once again, Manuel’s Marauders were simply delicious as they tickled the tastebuds, ripping the Londoners apart and leaving the blue side of Manchester moist with anticipation in the driving rain.

Rain man - Magnificent Manuel has it all figured out for City  Courtesy @MCFC

Rain man – Magnificent Manuel has it all figured out for City Courtesy @MCFC

Having suffered a minor cup hiccup at Blackburn, Pellegrini strengthened his starting line up with the re-introduction of Zabaleta, Kompany, Toure and Nasri, whilst still managing to rest Hart, Nastasic and Fernandinho, amid a hectic fixture schedule.

The contrast in quality with the ramshackle West Ham starting XI was stark. Only Adrian, the Hammer’s Spanish keeper, emerged with any credit, pulling off a string of super stops, literally saving Sam from double digit embarrassment.

City were unstoppable with wave after wave of free-flowing attacks, intricate passing and deadly finishing.

As many would now attest, Pellegrini has City playing with a vibrance, a certain verve and vitality that has taken the club onto a new and hitherto, unchartered, level of excellence.

Beast of a bargain - Negredo is superb value at £16.4m  Courtesy @MCFC

Beast of a bargain – Negredo is superb value at £16.4m Courtesy @MCFC

His football philosophy of placing great store on how his team performs is percolating through, even to those who initially doubted the Chilean’s desire for attacking flair, although sometimes to the detriment of wholly adequate defending.

It was telling that as his team racked up a staggering 59 goals in just 15 home games, Pellegrini chose to emphasise his pleasure at keeping a clean sheet.

Not so for West Ham whose laundry bills must be sky high…and rising rapidly.

Negredo started the rout with a sensational left foot volley after a sublime 40-yard Yaya pass split the Hammers wide open. Demonstrating supreme technique, the Beast let the ball drop over his shoulder before smashing it past Adrian.

The £16.4m bargain from Sevilla was at it again in the 26th minute, sending an angled strike past the keep from six yards out following a beautiful hook up with Dzeko.

Coming of age - Negredo has hit 18 goals so far in City colours  Courtesy @MCFC

Coming of age – Negredo has hit 18 goals so far in City colours Courtesy @MCFC

Yaya scored his 13th goal in what is rapidly becoming a prolific season for the Ivorian giant.

Having survived an injury scare that had him clutching his ankle and giving the Etihad faithful palpatations, Yaya gathered the ball in City’s half and rumbled upfield with the West Ham defence backing off until it was too late.

His measured shot from inside the 18-yard box, eluded Adrian in the 40th minute. City’s supporters immediately began turning their thoughts to a welcoming pint or two at The Green Man pub and another trip to Wembley, this time on Sunday 2nd March.

Increasingly well versed in Pellegrini’s ways, the estimated 39,000 crowd just knew City weren’t about to shut up shop and protect their three goal advantage. Given the glorious home form, there was every reason to expect more of the same in the 2nd half, and so it was.

Unlucky for Sam - Yaya nets goal number 13 of his prolific season  Courtesy @MCFC

Unlucky for Sam – Yaya nets goal number 13 of his prolific season Courtesy @MCFC

Just four minutes after the re-start Negredo completed his second hat-trick of the season in clinical style.

With City all passing and movement , West Ham’s desperately discombobulated defence was in total despair as a deflected David Silva pass was dispatched from 15-yards out by Negredo’s  luscious left foot howitzer.

City’s front pairing of The Beast and Dzeko were in pleasantly surprising synch on the night, a factor which clearly delighted Pellegrini.

His body language transformed, Dzeko had one of his finest matches in City’s colours, not only contributing goals but becoming far more involved in creative approach play, tracking back, tackling… you name it, Edin was up for it.

The much maligned Bosnian striker added his name to the goal scoring extravaganza on the hour.

Dynamic duo - Dzeko & Negredo combined to great effect  Courtesy @MCFC

Dynamic duo – Dzeko & Negredo combined to great effect Courtesy @MCFC

Silva, so often the mercurial provider, played the ball wide for the energetic Clichy, who crossed from the by-line and Dzeko, displaying a desire and hunger often missing from his make-up, touched it home.

It was just reward for a player whose match statistics can flatter to deceive, but not on this occasion.

He rounded off the glut in the 89th minute when Kolarov – on as a substitute for the departed hero of the night, Negredo – supplied a standard issue AK47 low driven cross, which Dzeko thrashed into the net.

A special mention in dispatches to another sub, youngster Marcos Lopes, whose cheeky back heel set up Kolarov’s cross. The Portuguese prodigy oozes potential and promise.

Balkan Waltz - AK47 Kolarov provided the ammunition for Bosnian hitman Dzeko  Courtesy @MCFC

Balkan Waltz – AK47 Kolarov provided the ammunition for Bosnian hitman Dzeko Courtesy @MCFC

Dzeko maintained his run of scoring in each round of City’s Capital One Cup campaign and is now the competition’s top scorer with six.

The Bosnian’s post-match interview illustrated how easy it is to become a tad goal giddy this season, as he mistakenly expressed satisfaction at City’s 5-0 victory, only to be corrected and told it was half-a-dozen.

For Negredo, his hat-trick took his tally to 18 for the season and swelled City’s haul to a mind boggling 92 in all competitions.

Pellegrini, ever the diplomat, was courteous enough to say the 2nd Leg had still to be played and that the tie was not yet won – scant consolation for the away fans who had suffered seeing their side smashed 11-0 over two cup games in the space of four days.

It wasn’t so very long ago that City could more than empathise with the East Londoner’s plight. The self-deprecating humour and spirit of the cockneys was truly commendable and the banter flowed with City’s choral section.

Leader of the pack - Negredo had the flags waving at Fortress Etihand  Courtesy @MCFC

Leader of the pack – Negredo had the flags waving at Fortress Etihand Courtesy @MCFC

Notable ‘ditties’ among many was the Hammers fans ‘ We’ve got Sam Allardyce…’ which was greeted with a City riposte of ‘You’re just a sh*t Bolton Wanderers…’

Taunts of ‘Are you Tottenham in disguise?’ were countered with a hearty round of West Ham ‘Olés’ when their team completed more than five consecutive passes, and they even performed a cack-handed rendition of the Poznan dance…for no particular reason.

As for Pellegrini’s City – chasing glory on four fronts – the world really could be their oyster. Sadly for Big Sam it only extends to jellied eels.



By David Walker




  1. January 9, 2014  9:51 am by Graham Ward Reply

    That was just beautiful to watch. You really can't say too much more than that, I think.
    It's not just the quantity of goals scored or chances made...it's the quality as well. Breath taking, even taking into account how poor West Ham were.
    I feel sorry for their loyal supporters who made the trip. They deserve far better.

    • January 9, 2014  10:08 am by David Walker Reply

      It was gorgeous wasn't it! Yes, I could have sat at home and watched on TV and saved myself a six hour round trip but a jaunt up the M5,M6 & M56 seems a small sacrifice when you look at the delights on Manuel's menu. This could be the greatest season in our history and as Aerosmith's Steve Tyler put it '...& I don't want to miss a thing...'

      Thanks as ever for your comments Graham - much appreciated.

  2. January 9, 2014  10:01 am by Alan Baxter Reply

    It says a lot about West Ham's "resistance" when you notice there wasnt one booking last night. Tremendous display and if not for Adrian maybe it could've been double figures. I think Negredo's first must be one of my favourites of the 59 so far at the Etihad, his touch and technique for such a big lad is staggering. Anyway, must go, I've got our branch trip to Wembley to organise.

    • January 9, 2014  10:09 am by David Walker Reply

      Arrange away. Look forward to seeing you at our second home on March 2nd - thanks Alan.

  3. January 9, 2014  10:03 am by Chris Williams Reply

    You're absolutely right L Plates on Big Sam's Bus. I thought it was going to be a much tougher test to break them down than that.

    Actually feel for West Hams supporters as we've been where they are now and it's not great. Obviously with our investment we'll never be bad in them depths again, but having endured that type if football in the past I do feel for them.

    That said marvellous performance from start to finish, Dzeko & Negredo linked brilliantly and Edin even showed a better work rate. Those that stayed away will be sorry to have missed such a wonderful display.

    • January 9, 2014  10:13 am by David Walker Reply

      Absolutely correct on all points Chris - hopefully it will encourage a 'decent' turnout for the Blackburn game next Wednesday, especially from those close to the Etihad. Not being a burning martyr,there are those who come from a damn sight further than me, but if I can do 220 miles to see the Sky Blues, then let's hope for 30,000. Thanks for comments. CTWD

  4. January 9, 2014  10:05 am by Fifthcolumnblue Reply

    Did some work on Tuesday & Wednesday for a Hammers fan who was desperate for me to finish before the game because, in his own words "I'm sure I won't feel like handing over any money to you after you stuff us" And so it came to pass.

    Am I alone in hoping that it's Stretford in the final? Sunderland just wouldn't seem appropriate somehow

    • January 9, 2014  10:16 am by David Walker Reply

      Must be careful that confidence doesn't cross the line into arrogance, but does it really matter? Sunderland are a bogey team up at their place but on neutral territory - nah. It would be preferential to beat Manure in the Final, but that means them winning a game to get there and I couldn't possibly condone that school of thought ;-)

  5. January 9, 2014  10:10 am by Susan Richardson Reply

    Brlliant summary almost like watching it again! Wembeleeeee wembeleeeee!!

  6. January 9, 2014  10:23 am by Dave Batey Reply

    Superb display once again and in Negredo we have one of the best out and out strikers in world football. In my opinion MP's City has yet to realise its full potential which is freighting to any future opponents. I try to tell my children how fortunate they are to watch the quality of football currently on offer at the Etihad. Hopefully they will not have to endure the dark days of the past. Good to see you again last night Dave.

    • January 9, 2014  10:27 am by David Walker Reply

      Great to see you and apologies for the non-instant recognition - probably an 'age thing' ;-)
      This could be the greatest season ever but as MP rightly says, one game at a time. City were once oh so very meek, so maybe we are about to inherit the 'footballing' earth? Thanks for reading and taking the time to feedback.

  7. January 9, 2014  10:30 am by Mole Rocks Reply

    It was an excellent performance and what pleased me the most, was that they kept playing great football for the full 90+ minutes.

    West Ham didn't really put up much resistance, but City stuck to their task and built a tie winning lead (crosses oneself in a Catholic fashion - typical City fan :-) )

    Was good that Lopes got a reasonable time to play, hopefully he and Jovetic can feature from the start in the return leg.

    All in all another great night to be a blue.

    • January 9, 2014  1:24 pm by David Walker Reply

      Sky blue thinking Carl - we are getting stronger as a team & gradually, the injuries are clearing up. If we were to strengthen - big word IF - this month, we're going to be nigh on unstoppable. MP is doing a magnificent job.

  8. January 9, 2014  10:44 am by Carl Reply

    I often do remember the bad times which keep me grounded, and I do have a soft spot for West Ham as I think there fans are as close to blues fans as you can get. But it's difficult not to get turned on by the football we are playing at the moment. Absolute delight to watch and Pellegrini has so many players performing even higher than I thought possible.

    • January 9, 2014  1:29 pm by David Walker Reply

      Quite right to keep the old feet firmly planted - it only takes two or three reversals & we could end up empty handed - perish the thought. That aside, I think most neutrals are enjoying our style of play and City supporters are having a ball.

  9. January 9, 2014  10:49 am by Guvnor Reply

    Good write up Dave. I too think it will be Stretford Ushited at Wembley, I hope it is, then the world will see them get Hammered (excuse the Pun).
    You did not mention the guy on the Right? x

    • January 9, 2014  1:33 pm by David Walker Reply

      If it were the Trafford Troglodytes the guys at Sky would be creaming themselves & a City victory would be all the sweeter. Bit of history in the making.

      As for the guy on the right...daft b*gger! Cheers Dave.

  10. January 9, 2014  10:53 am by Andy Devereux Reply

    Great performance from City, Dzeko playing with a smile and a bit of a swagger, brilliant goals all round and all put into excellent words by you David, cheers.My sympathies go to the vociferous hammers fans who did their team proud shame the players couldn't do the same.

    • January 9, 2014  1:37 pm by David Walker Reply

      Thanks for your kind words & yes, the West Ham supporters are where we were not so long ago, giving it their all in the face of adversity.

      We play them in last PL fixture of season so hope they don't somehow throw a spanner in the works #MCFCPLCHAMPIONS2014

  11. January 9, 2014  11:21 am by carol Reply

    there seems to be nothing left to say about our beautiful teams joyous performance so instead I will ask, what the frig was Big Sam wearing? those 1970s track suit bottoms, that hood!! what was all that about? ha ha sorry...oh and by the way, I now understand why Dzeko continuously looks glum, its because when he smiles he looks like the Grinch! There, thats my usual girly perspective- thank you Davy

    • January 9, 2014  1:40 pm by David Walker Reply

      Totally lost for words Blondie - we're winning 6-0 & you're wondering why Sam isn't a style icon? Thanks for reading

      • January 9, 2014  7:02 pm by Toby ornot Toby Reply

        Reminded me of Karel Reisz's film version of French Lieutenant's Woman. The bit with 'Meryl Streep' standing on storm lashed Lyme Regis Moll waiting in vain for that cad Jeremy Irons to return.

        Although in Sam's case I think he was probably hoping for a Tsunami to swallow him whole. Either that, or nobody had told him where the 'Taxi for Mr Allerdyce' was waiting.

        Quite apt given the current weather.

        • January 10, 2014  10:32 pm by David Walker Reply

          I can but bow to your greater knowledge of the cinema sir...but I get the drift. Thanks for reading.

  12. January 9, 2014  11:51 am by Paul Swarbrick Reply

    Lads, Why do you want to give united a door into Europe. If the get to Wembley, win or lose, they're in the Eurpoa Cup. There's every chance now given their league position and performances that they'll miss out onThe Europa League as well as the Champions League. Let's not give them a 'get out of gaol free' card. Come on Sunderland!!!

    • January 9, 2014  2:36 pm by David Walker Reply

      Very relevant point - thanks Paul.

  13. January 9, 2014  4:56 pm by Eileen Fullen Reply

    A night to remember agree it was Dzekos best game by far, looked much sharper and contributed so much more to the game. Also looked hungry to do more for the team an excellent performance by all. Nice to see Lopes given a chance. A white wash to help the laundry bills lol

    • January 9, 2014  6:29 pm by David Walker Reply

      It was almost as if Edin wanted to try and keep apace with The Beast as a point of personal pride. Long may it continue.

    • January 9, 2014  7:14 pm by Toby ornot Toby Reply

      I am not a Dzeko fan, but his first goal showed he was prepared 'to get in where it hurts', after a West Ham defender had got his dander up by kicking him whilst he was on the deck.

      Maybe City should employ someone to kick him before every game, or at least slap him a bit.

      If City are still looking for a backup for Joe Heart, they could do worse than look at Adrian.

      • January 9, 2014  11:59 pm by David Walker Reply

        Adrian played well enough & any talk of Iker Casillas or someone of that standing coming to City would spell the end of Joe, so why not? I think Joe should be at City for the next 6-8 years.

        As for buying a Bosnian slapper...no comment !

  14. January 9, 2014  5:46 pm by DOUGLAS HENSHAW Reply

    Hi Dave good piece as always what a game we were tremendous could have been a lot more.Negrdo has got to be the signing of the season& MP seems to have got Dezko going again. Feel sorry for WHU fans they reminded me of us a few years ago really hope there season turns round for them. I read what Mike Summerbee had to say about about MP when Mike Summerbee speaks I listen he's a city legend & my all time city favourite. He said about his man management & the effect he has had on the club since arriving.I dont want this to sound arrogant but I truly believe under this guy we are on the verge of something special it might not be this season but its going to happen. #TrustOurMP

    • January 9, 2014  6:33 pm by David Walker Reply

      My thoughts entirely, hence me being a bit of a smartarse before the beginning of the season and #TrustOurMP

  15. January 9, 2014  7:17 pm by Nev Artingstall Reply

    Again most of the press referring to how bad the opposition were. We were brilliant last night and Alvaro is fast becoming a City legend in his first season. My cousin said he's almost feeling sorry for them lot from Trafford. I reminded him how long that banner was up at the theatre of nightmares. That soon snapped it out of him. Lol
    Great piece again David.

    • January 9, 2014  8:19 pm by David Walker Reply

      Cheers Nev - yep, no good going soft on them after decades of taunting - what goes around comes around...eventually!

  16. January 9, 2014  10:20 pm by pete lynch Reply

    excellent as always David. I for one hope we meet Sunderland in final. The demise of the rags is a joy to behold

    • January 9, 2014  11:56 pm by David Walker Reply

      Whole heartedly endorsed CTWD

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    • January 10, 2014  10:23 pm by David Walker Reply

      Hi Vaclav - not sure how this one made it live onto RBNR but if you would care to follow on twitter @djwskyblu I will follow back and get personal contact details. Thank you for your interest.

  19. January 10, 2014  4:15 pm by Kev Russell Reply

    Another Heavy Slab of brilliance! I'm not just on about City's performance but your writing as well. You deserve a stab with the papers David. We are unstoppable at present & playing football that everyone in European football must be watching with green eyes of jealousy & brown pants of fear! I'm sure there will be some mild setbacks as we are city! but that's all it should be. Sheer joy ahead I feel. #TopScriber

    • January 10, 2014  10:29 pm by David Walker Reply

      Your faith in me is hugely appreciated BUT there's no queue forming at the door. People have people already fulfilling the type of role I would be interested in and, although I like to think I'm quite good at this caper, maybe I'm not good enough. Nonetheless thank you for your support and, as I've said before we really must meet in 2014. Get yourself to the Etihad as my guest one day and we'll cheer City to another win...but before you ask, the seats are gone for Barcelona game ;-) Cheers Kev BIG GRATITUDE.

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