Manchester City 1-2 West Ham United
Saturdays late afternoon kick off was a daunting trip to Manchester City’s Etihad stadium to face a squad full of very expensive talent. West Ham’s day was made slightly easier when David Silva pulled out of the game after picking up an injury during the warm up.
The Hammer have already been very impressive on the road with superb away wins against Arsenal and Liverpool, so we all knew that we were going to give this one our best go.
And it was exactly that what we saw from the team once again, a resilient team performance as we were put under an immense amount of pressure for the City players especially in the second half as they tried their all to get back into the game.
One thing I have noticed more than anything since the arrival of Bilic, is that the team really looks and has the feeling of one, they play for each other, help one and other and are always talking which is a good sign because you don’t want a group of players that are frightened to have a go at a team mate even if it’s for the good. This in my opinion is having a crucial contribution on the results we have been getting so far this season.
Linking to the point about having a close team, it’s also brilliant to finally see a bench where you are happy to see a player come on from it, this adds to the competition for places which automatically make every player try that bit more. But most importantly it gives the manager choices, maybe to get back into the game or like the City game hold out for the closing period. Jelavic and Antonio both came on during the later stages of the game, and although they didn’t have the most time on the pitch both players helped to get that result with the fresh energy that took the pressure of the defensive players so they could re organise.
Obiang who was a doubt for the game with a minor injury, was one of the best players on the pitch on Saturday. The young Spaniard is growing into the role and we can already see why he got his good reputation back in Italy over the past few seasons. His ability to read the game combined with his tough tackling and then quick distribution of the ball was a big factor in the win and I’m sure we will see this all season long from him, could be a real bargain yet again.
Diafra Sakho who has been very good so far this season, is finally turning his great performances into goals with one against Liverpool and now Manchester City. Without him these wins would have been very difficult to collect. He never stops moving with or without the ball, hassles defenders and gets the ball up the pitch whenever possible in order to start an attack, where somehow most of time he’ll be on the end of the final ball. If he keeps going at this rate then he will most certainly match or better his goal tally for last season.
One final player performance to mention is the captain Mark Noble, We already know what he does for the team however this season he has taken another step up. He hasn’t played a single bad game so far and possibly even our best player in the first 6 games. Gives everything for the club, the players and the fans, even more so now that he’s the captain. On each goal he brings the team together and reiterates the game plan, making sure that every single player feels a part of it again linking to my point about having the feeling of a very close squad. If there is ever going to be a time for Noble to get his fully deserved England chance then it is definitely now, at the very least he deserves a couple of games for the national team, especially when you look at the current players that are in the squad but that’s a debate for another day.
Looking back at the game it is very difficult to find any bad. To be harsh you could say conceding the goal was a bad moment as it came at a crucial time in the game, just before half time as they caught us in what I would say was our only moment where we lost concentration The one real bad thing to come from the game is the injury picked up by Carl Jenkinson, hopefully it isn’t too serious and just a case of cramp or a minor knock which the medical staff will treat with care.
Man of the match
Once again this week there were some outstanding individual performances from several player but I have managed to pick out 2 from the team.
The first one and the player to just miss out on the man of the match award is the returning Adrian. He returned to goal in the first team after his 3 match suspension and to see him play as he did after such little game time in the past month was brilliant to see. There were some amazing saves throughout the game. But the ones that stick out are the one handed save from an Otamendi header following a corner, and then a low save from a Yaya Toure shot.
The man to be named as man of the match is the Kiwi defender Winston Reid. He put together an immense individual performance, come the end of the season I wouldn’t be surprised if this was one of the best games by any defender.
He made countless tackles, blocks and interceptions during the 90 minutes, always in the right place to stop Man city from getting an effort on goal. This game also showed us exactly why he is the captain of the New Zealand national football team, which is also a good thing for the team in general as it’s always good to have several voices and leaders and he is one of them for sure. At the other end in a rare venture forward he won the header from a West Ham corner that lead to our second goal which underline just how important he is at both ends for the team.
Going into the week where we face a testing trip to Leicester City who have already beaten us this season, hopefully we will take his fantastic result into that and win another away game. The league may be the priority but I really think we should give our all and play our strongest team in all cup games. If we are to get into Europe next season the cups could be the best way to do so. Plus it gives us the chance for some silverware that really could push us even more.