Was it too much to ask for another repeat of last season at the Etihad?
Still no Payet – massive rumours that he is about to be sold rather than actually be injured, and Lanzini in the bench. Fletcher starts which was much needed as we have bugger all strikers up front, and Simone Zaza was nit registered on time.
Talking of Zaza, heaven knows we need someone up front as Valencia is really short of confidence and shooting. maybe no his fault, but with Ayew and Carroll out, folk are needed up front.
It was a sign of things to come – City pressure in first 5 minutes and on 7 a lovely bit of City play cuts open the Hammers defence for Sterling to make it 1-0. A very bad start indeed. 2-0 up on 17 mins with a great free kick by De Bruyne…no one marking Fernandinho……and you just knew that this game could well be a rout. All the excuses will come, missing players, injuries, etc. But on this basis we are going to really struggle this season – the spark has gone and there just does not seem to be a kindred spirit within the side. Some of the intention is there with passes threaded through heading to goal, but the reading of the ball is poor at the moment with West Ham which in turns means that there are limited chances or chances that are not created. Creativity is needed – and where is Payet when you need him?
The Hammers were pretty much ineffective int he first half and as at the back of my mind thoughts of a relegation scrap started to enter which is will simply start to fray my nerves.
I missed the majority of 2nd half due to being a parent again….but coming back to Sky Sports very quickly, Antonio headed goal on 58 brings some cheer (not that I saw the goal) and with Lanzini on the pitch, a bit of a fightback.
However, this was all a bit of an anti-climax as Sterling got his brace (and some much needed fantasy points for myself) to make it 3-1 and a horrible start to the season in August for the Hammers.
I still cannot understand why the Hammers are not playing to their potential – is it the new stadium or the pressure of repeating last seasons efforts? OK, City are a very strong side under Guardiola over Pellegrini, but surely we should have done our homework to contain City? This can now only put pressure on Slav and no doubt that there will be pressure on him with some numpties calling for his head.
The international break may give us some welcome relief, but there are some things of note:
1) Looking at Zaza to get some fitness under his belt and look forward to seeing him start against Watford.
2) We finally find out what the hell is going on with Payet – is he staying?
3) Good luck Antonio with your England call up –
“You can break it down to two halves of football,” Bilic said. “They were much better than us in the first half. They started very well, and not only did they show the quality on the ball which we knew [they had] but they were quicker, more aggressive than us and better on the second balls.
“We gave them way too much space and time on the ball and of course they have plenty of class.
“In the second half it changed and of course the goal helped. We put them under a little bit of pressure. They had their chances too, because we were open, but in the second half I was more than happy.
“At half time, I wasn’t happy, but I asked the guys to show the character, the spirit, the attitude and mentality which they basically did in the second half.
“I have praise for the team for the second half performance. It’s a shame that we conceded the late goal, but it was a good second half as I said. The first wasn’t.
“It gives us hope, that when the players who are out injured come back after the international break, that it’s going to be different.”
Subs not used: Hart (GK), Navas, Delph, Iheanacho
Goals: Sterling 7, 90+2, Fernandinho 18
Bookings: FernandinhoWest Ham United: Adrian, Collins, Reid (Calleri 78), Ogbonna, Antonio, Noble ©, Kouyate, Tore (Byram 46), Masuaku, Valencia (Lanzini 60), Fletcher
Subs not used: Randolph (GK), Obiang, Burke, Oxford
Goal: Antonio 58
Bookings: Masuaku, Fletcher, Noble
Referee: Andre Marriner