WEST HAM clip CITY’S WINGS
Try as they might, Sergio Agüero and the Citizens just could not find a way past their inspired hosts
Sam Allardyce’s West Ham revolution continued yesterday as the Hammers handed Manchester City a shock 2-1 defeat at Upton Park. Goals in each half from Morgan Amalfitano and Diafra Sakho gave the home side a two goal lead before David Silva pulled one back with 13 minutes to play as City mounted a late charge.
From the outset, West Ham weren’t paying attention to the script. Allardyce’s side was considerably sharper than the defending Premier League champions as Sakho and Enner Valencia provided a real threat up front.
Hammers sides of the past may have preferred the direct, long-ball approach. However, their new strike partnership consistently caused the woeful City centreback pairing of Eliaquim Mangala and Vincent Kompany trouble. So there was no need to hit and hope as they ran freely down the flanks and out-muscled the offkilter City midfielders.
It was the visitors, though, who had the first chance, with Sergio Agüero nearly getting on the score sheet in the opening minutes when his deflected shot from distance saw West Ham keeper Adrián scrambling to keep it out.
It would prove something of a false dawn for City, though, as West Ham soon seized the initiative. Having seen Sakho and Valencia come close, Amalfitano made no mistake on 21 minutes.
It was Valencia who was the architect of the goal as he broke down the right before cutting into the box, leaving Mangala in his wake. The hulking defender was reluctant to make a challenge for fear of conceding a penalty.
Pablo Zabaleta overcommitted as he looked to come across and clear, losing his footing and taking his keeper Joe Hart out of the equation in the process, allowing Amalfitano to stroke home with ease.
Rather than look to defend their lead, West Ham continued to push and could have added a second before the break, with Valencia going close.
City had a great chance of equalising on the stroke of half-time. But Agüero was unable to control a Jesús Navas ball from the byline, allowing Adrián to gratefully snuff out the threat.
Agüero was in deadly form against Tottenham last weekend but it appeared the Argentina international would do everything but score on the day.
On 65 minutes, the striker had the goal at his mercy after being picked out by Navas, but he somehow conspired to get underneath the ball and help it on to the crossbar when it would have been easier to score.
Ten minutes later, Yaya Touré hit the bar for City, with the visitors growing into the game.
However, the game then took another turn against the Citizens, with Sakho doubling the home side’s advantage in the 75th minute.
The striker rose higher than Gaël Clichy at the back post after a pinpoint cross from Stewart Downing, the Senegalese heading into corner with Hart unable to reel it back.
If there had been any thoughts that the second would kill off City, Silva showed that would certainly not be the case, with the Spaniard producing a great piece of footwork. His two sublime touches saw him glide past three players before curling the ball in at the far post.
Both sides pressed hard in the final 10 minutes, but it was City that had the best of the chances, with Adrián called on to keep out injury-time efforts from Stevan Jovetić and Aleksandar Kolarov.
There would be no comeback then, with West Ham claiming a well-deserved win that takes them – perhaps only briefly – into the top four in the standings. City remain five points adrift of leaders Chelsea, which have a season-defining clash against Manchester United at Old Trafford today. –
TITANIC TUSSLE Manchester City striker Edin Džeko (left) competes for the ball with West Ham defender Winston Reid during the Premier League match at Upton Park in London yesterday. Defending champions City lost to West Ham 2-1