WEST HAM UTD 1 MAN CITY 3 – Who needs Harry Potter?

Manchester City at long last served up a perfectly palatable portion of away day success in a feast of  football, leaving  Big Fat Sam swallowing humble pie at its conclusion.

It may have been Allardyce’s birthday, but cake, candles, jelly and ice cream were never on offer.

For those who like to dine on the gastronomic delights of the Premier League menu this tasty dish went well beyond the old fashioned fayre of jellied eels and Lancashire hotpot.

One Direction - Going up! Pellegrini directs City with a new attacking flair

One Direction – Going up! Pellegrini directs City with a new attacking flair. Pic courtesy @MCFC

West Ham and City combined to cook up a gloriously satisfying spread at the Boleyn Ground, enjoyed by 34,507 invitees, plus a few million stay-at-home connoisseurs of the beautiful game.

City provided the champagne and caviar and the Hammers – to their eternal credit – the cava and cod roe, in a good-old fashioned meaty affair at the Upton Park diner.

A very conciliatory Sam Allardyce conceded that his team could not live with the ‘size, power & money…’ of City, whereas Manuel Pellegrini purred his team should always ‘play in an attacking way because of the players we have…’

Both sides emerged with credit from a hugely entertaining affair which City dominated for long periods, only managing to finally put the cookie jar out of West Ham’s reach with 10 minutes remaining.

Silva Strike - David finishes off the Hammers' Finnish keeper Jaaskelainen for 3-1Courtesy @MCFC

Silva Strike – David finishes off the Hammers’ Finnish keeper Jaaskelainen for 3-1
Pic courtesy @MCFC

David Silva’s exquisitely crafted 80th minute ‘winner’ eluded the grasp of the excellent Jaaskelainen, confirming  City’s first away win of the season after the Irons had made an unlikely battle of it with the Premier League title favourites.

City were in the ascendancy in the first half with some superb stuff but, come the break, only had a one goal advantage to show for their dominance. The spectre of Villa Park loomed large.

Super Sergio Aguero executed the goal in fine style in the 15th minute. It was what the legendary Brian Clough called ‘carpet football’ as the rapidly improving Fernandinho stroked a long range pass through the massed ranks of the West Ham midfield.

Surgical strike - Sergio Aguero opens City's account at Upton Park.Pic courtesy @MCFC

Surgical strike – Sergio Aguero opens City’s account at Upton Park.
Pic courtesy @MCFC

Aided by a fantastic feint of genius by Alvaro ‘The Beast’ Negredo, the ball travelled into Aguero’s path before he dispatched it with clinical precision past the Hammers’ keeper.

Three minutes later and another Sergio strike was snuffed out by the fine Finnish shot-stopper, following nice approach work by Negredo and Silva.

The three-pronged Argentine-Spanish axis is rapidly establishing itself as the platform for Pellegrini’s team – a platform promising more magic than the mystical Platform 9¾  at Kings Cross Station in the Harry Potter stories.

It begs the question, did author JK Rowling draw inspiration for her Hogwarts hero from the Wizard of Gran Canaria – David ‘Merlin’ Silva?  Anyway, enough of this hocus-pocus – back to the East End.

Magical Merlin - David Silva is in top form.Pic courtesy @MCFC

Magical Merlin – David Silva is in top form.
Pic courtesy @MCFC

Pellegrini had City’s 2,200 travelling support perplexed pre-kick off, when he revealed Javi Garcia at the centre of his defence in the absence of wounded skipper Vincent Kompany.

 Joleon Lescott was on the subs’ bench, despite a very accomplished showing against Everton.  The sage like City boss was ultimately proved right, as Garcia gave a good account of himself against an unconventional 1-4-6 West Ham tactical arrangement.

Lacking a recognised striker, West Ham, with the extraordinarily promising Ravel Morrison, were all movement and interchanging of personnel – a scenario to which Joleon was perhaps not best suited.

Towering performance - Micah for England...otherwise Woy's selection is rank!Pic courtesy @MCFC

Towering performance – Micah for England…otherwise Woy’s selection is rank!
Pic courtesy @MCFC

Micah Richards came in for his first PL start of the season and put in a powering display. A fully fit Micah is a mighty fine asset for both club and country – are you listening Woy?

Wichards for England, otherwise Woy’s wight back selection policy looks totally rank!

Missing Kompany, City’s defence tends to look vulnerable at set pieces and, if Andy Carroll had been fit to play, he could have caused City’s centre back pairing of Nastasic and Garcia problems.

Thankfully Vinny and Martin Demichelis should both be fit shortly to help City’s collective effort to retain its title as the meanest PL defence for a 4th consecutive year.

Pellegrini is prepared to trade some of City’s defensive thrift for attacking flair – not a bad thing – but screw compromise, let’s have the highest scoring and lowest conceding team in the PL please Manuel.

Cranium crasher - Sergio scores his first headed goal in the PL.Pic courtesy @MCFC

Cranium crasher – Sergio scores his first headed goal in the PL.
Pic courtesy @MCFC

Aguero notched a novelty in the 50th minute – his first headed Premier League goal…and what a goal it was.

Having won the free kick on the edge of the Hammers’ box, Sergio subsequently peeled away from his marker to have his cranium connect perfectly with Silva’s deftly flighted cross – 2-0.

Clearly outclassed, West Ham could have capitulated and allowed City to run riot – they did the exact opposite.  A surprisingly lively Stewart Downing, a determined Mohammad Diame and vociferous Ricardo Vaz Te started to cause problems, underpinned by the revelatory Ravel.

Vaz Te reduced the arrears – albeit with a hint of offside courtesy of Diame’s right leg – in the 57th minute – game on.

Negredo was a crossbar away from restoring City’s two goal buffer, hitting the underside of the bar with a great effort on the hour, after combining with – yes you guessed it –  Silva and Aguero.

Hand in hand - Pellegrini & Aguero are in form for City.Pic courtesy @MCFC

Hand in hand – Pellegrini & Aguero are in form for City.
Pic courtesy @MCFC

Pellegrini – perhaps mindful of his perceived failure to close the game out at Villa Park – put AK 47 Kolarov on for Negredo in the 65th minute. This was followed by Milner for Nasri as City gradually curbed the Irons’ new found fight.

Kolarov was twice thwarted by Jaaskelainen in the 68th minute, just 60 seconds after Aguero had been denied, what would have been a richly deserved hat-trick, by the flying Finn.

Just the beginning - could City's away win at West Ham be the catalyst for winning ways?Pic courtesy @MCFC

Just the beginning – could City’s away win at West Ham be the catalyst for winning ways?
Pic courtesy @MCFC

Having broken the away wins duck it would be wonderful if City can do it  thrice more and advance on three fronts – Champions League in Moscow, Premier League in West London and Capital One Cup beside the Tyne against the Toon.

It’s perhaps too much to ask that the West Ham win was just the hors d’oeuvre before what is yet to come, but it is nonetheless, a mouth-watering prospect.



 By David Walker  www.readbutneverred.com @djwskyblu


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  1. October 20, 2013  12:17 pm by Graham Ward Reply

    An excellent City display. I, too, was surprised at the selection of Garcia in central defence, but, prehaps with hindsight, Pellegrini thought West Ham would start with no recognised strikers, and so decided the ball playing Garcia was more worthy than Lescott in this case?
    It was, as you say David, justified here.

    • October 20, 2013  1:29 pm by David Walker Reply

      One phrase plus a hashtag #TrustOurMP!
      Cheers Graham, always appreciated.

  2. October 20, 2013  12:18 pm by Mole Rocks Reply

    Great to see City take their home form away this time.

    The Negredo/Aguero partnership is quickly becoming a beauty to behold and with Silva and Nasri to supply them, I'm hoping for 20+ goals from both of them.

    As per your Harry Potter references, we need the magic to continue in the next 3 games.

    • October 20, 2013  1:31 pm by David Walker Reply

      I wonder if we could get an invisibility cloak for the City strikers - that should further boost productivity. Thanks Carl - as ever. CTWD

  3. October 20, 2013  12:32 pm by Alan Baxter Reply

    A Saturday teatime treat. A couple of twitchy moments at 1-2 but overall a very good performance. We've exorcised the away win ghost before it haunted us too much. Silva and Aguero, superb. Negredo proving more than a handful for any defence and lest we forget a good game for Garcia in what is an unfamiliar role for him. Hard to find fault in such a fluid and at times dominant display. Anyway Champions League midweek so...Moscow.....

    • October 20, 2013  1:32 pm by David Walker Reply

      Yes a nice tea time treat, now...fairycake anyone? Early kick-off on Wednesday make sure you're home in time for kick-off. Thanks Thistle.

  4. October 20, 2013  2:03 pm by Dave Bones Reply

    Great match review David,Garcia was okay,but even as backup to Kompany I'd prefer Lescott ahead of him.
    This was probably city's most important win of the premier league campaign so far,getting an away win on the board will breed confidence.

    • October 20, 2013  2:28 pm by David Walker Reply

      Dave - I agree on Lescott but both he Nastasic are left footers so it was a question of balance. Also West Ham's 4-6-0 set up meant no conventional strikers, hence more mobility required. #TrustOurMP.

      Thanks mate #mcfcbluebros

  5. October 20, 2013  5:12 pm by Lawson Dauer Reply

    I know you refer to it, & the newspapers I've read have each had a line about it, but why are the media not making more of the brilliant Negredo dummy? If Bale, or Messi, or Percy Van had done something like that it would have been on the back pages for a week.

    • October 20, 2013  6:48 pm by David Walker Reply

      Anti-MCFC there aren't many in the press who actually want to laud City - they still can't see beyond traditional allegiances e.g. West Ham, Man Utd, Liverpool, Spurs, Arsenal etc. City's football will have to do our talking because we won't get many championing Pellegrini & Co!

  6. October 20, 2013  5:21 pm by Nev Artingstall Reply

    I agree with you on Fernandhino David. He's getting better by the game. Thought Garcia played well also. A good all round team performance and a welcome first away win. First of many we hope. Great piece again mate.

    • October 20, 2013  6:51 pm by David Walker Reply

      Thanks Nev - yes the boy from Brazil is adapting & should prove himself as our first real signing success from that country. A frat game for neutrals & even West Ham fans will have been heartened by that 2nd half display. #MCFCBlueBros!

  7. October 20, 2013  7:11 pm by Etta Reply

    It was a great Saturday night in the Gregory household! We too were very, very worried by Javi starting in that position but thankfully were proved wrong, perhaps his best match so far. I've been mentally putting an invisibility cloak in front of goal for years, much good it's done. Love our Blue boys! #TrustinourMP

    Family commitments must always come first, but I hope we have your brilliant blog for a long, long time.

    • October 20, 2013  8:07 pm by David Walker Reply

      Thanks Mrs G. I too hope that I can continue writing about City for a good while to come. It all depends on time, commitments, priorities and to a personal degree, is it going anywhere? The silly little nerds on twitter who denigrate what I do are no bother to me, it's as you say, making sure family come first and providing for their needs above and beyond my own self indulgences. Anyway enough of all that - thanks as ever for commenting on what was a very satisfying early Saturday evening.

  8. October 20, 2013  7:28 pm by DOUGLAS HENSHAW Reply

    Excellent match report again Dave. The front three of Negredo, Aguero, & Silva is a joy to watch & can only get better also Feranandhino is really getting too grips with the prem & showing what a class act he is.Gracia had an excellent game good to see after all the stick he gets a lot unfairly in my opinion the guy tries nobody can deny that.But what pleased me most was when it looked like Hammers were getting a foothold in the game MP made the right substitutions at the right time & stopped them.The guy is getting to grips with prem . #TrustOurMP.

  9. October 20, 2013  8:14 pm by David Walker Reply

    I really do rate Pellegrini and have done since day one - hence my little hashtag coined upon his appointment. There's a learning curve for anybody who is new to any role, no matter how expereinced or talented. That applies to MP as well as four or five new players. I was also cognisant of the fact that MP's Mum died during the pre-season tour of Hong Kong. Anybody who has ever lost a parent, a sibling, a child or indeed anyone they loved or cared for will testify it can shake your whole world to its foundations. MP is a human being, flesh & blood with the same emotions and vulnerabilities as the rest of us. He's coping with his grief as well as the demands of a very challenging new job in a foreign land. It'll be a chilly day in hell before I lose faith. Thanks for reading and commenting Doug - i enjoy reading the feedback, even if it were ever to be less than complimentary. #TrustOurMP LIKE NEVER BEFORE

  10. October 21, 2013  6:44 am by Jim Land Reply

    ".....Wichards for England, otherwise Woy’s wight back selection policy looks totally rank!...." Thanks for that, gave me a really good laugh; given your obvious penchant for alliteration you did well to go for the subtle option.

    • October 21, 2013  7:13 am by David Walker Reply

      Rell weally - how wude - it was nothing of the kind, simply a typogwaphical oversight!

  11. October 21, 2013  12:14 pm by Simon Dear Reply

    A much more City like away performance although I did start to chew my nails when they scored with half an hour to go .. Oh no not again . I think the difference was Merlin and on this form he & City will take some stopping although I'm not getting carried away as we are still 2 pts shy of where we were this time last season and 6 pts adrift of our magnificent title winning start . But the signs are there .. 3 pts behind an inform & strong however still untested Gunners team is a nice position to be in, a season long fit again Kompany and no missing colossus in the shape of Yaya who has tended to head south around Xmas time over the last 2 seasons will be a massive tonic and will bring us that much closer to the EPL title. The bookies all have us as favourites so we must be doing something right . I hope they still have us there in 4 or 5 games time .. I think these next games will define our season. Great read as usual

    • October 22, 2013  7:11 am by DAVID WALKER Reply

      Good observations and 'take-outs' from the match Simon. The PL is a different animal this year - far more competitive & provided we stay right in the mix in the run up to Christmas we won't be one of those falling away in the second half of the season. It's not arrogance but we can surely win it this season as long as we stay focused and relatively free of key injuries. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  12. October 21, 2013  8:35 pm by Glyn Rathbone Reply

    Loving rbnr even more now with its own app on my home screen . Regarding the match I thought we were strong in most departments. Good to see fernandinho starting to settle in, it was always going to take time to adapt to the pace of the premiership. The front 3 of aguero nagredo & silva are as good as anything in Europe on that display & should always start in games that really matter. Just felt sorry that negrado didnt get the goal that his display deserved. As always an excellent read.

  13. October 22, 2013  7:27 am by DAVID WALKER Reply

    Smashing feedback Glyn - thank you. If you are on Twitter and would care to share how you put RBNR on your device as a home screen app that would be MASSIVELY APPRECIATED. If others adopted your approach it would make RBNR much more readily accessible and ensure folk don't miss any articles. The days of me being able to tweet out on a personal basis have, sadly, gone. It is far to time consuming and attacts negative comment from certain quarters.By contrast, other readers love the 'personal' touch but it just eats away into my day. Thanks again GR.

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