Monday, August 13, 2007

Reaction, stats & player ratings: West Ham 0 City 2

I'm trying really hard not to get carried away by this result. But I'm failing dismally.

A win on the first day against disorganised opponents just shouldn't leave you with that giddy feeling. But somehow there is magic in the air, as though the unreality of the summer has been carried into the first match. A team assembled with such haste, with such little Premiership experience, just shouldn't be able to play football like that.

There's been a lot of words written over the summer about City's heritage and how somehow it has been betrayed by this takeover. For me, the real betrayal of our tradition came under Pearce, with the negative, dirty football he instilled in his side. But a City team playing with pace, skill and vision, and with the confidence to go forward at every opportunity, encapsulates everything I hold dear about this club.

'Boring' Sven has provided his critics in the media with their first big surprise, and the look of steely determination on his face before kick-off suggests a few more might be forced to eat their words before long. On Saturday, he not only got his tactics right, but it became pretty clear he had beaten other clubs hands down in the transfer market too.

Maybe the next few games will bring us back down to earth a bit, but then again, maybe not. Something has changed at City, and for the better. Never before have we had an owner with such ambition, and a manager who has won so much.

Setbacks are going to come our way, and maybe we'll hit a losing streak or two this season as the harsh realities of the Premiership bite. But one thing is for certain. This fledgling side, with an average age of 22, is only going to get better.

~ Latest Premiership table
~ Video of Bianchi goal, Geovanni goal
~ Sven's post-match interview
~ Getty Images photos

Match stats

The stats (below) are compiled from the live commentary and can differ slightly from the BBC and Sky:

Match reports

Eriksson's new-look City deal Hammers early blow (Jamie Jackson)
While Alan Curbishley's new signings, Craig Bellamy and Freddie Ljungberg, were ineffective, just about all of Sven-Goran Eriksson's new boys contributed. As did those not signed during a frantic summer.

West Ham 0 City 2
Eriksson must have feared for the 20-year-old, son of great Dane Peter, when he named him in a starting line-up featuring six Premier League debutants. Yet Schmeichel was a virtual spectator as City’s defence, protected superbly by Dietmar Hamann and Michael Johnson, kept them at arm’s length.
All the threat came from the Blues, with Martin Petrov particularly prolific in the shooting department. The Bulgarian midfielder let fly from all angles without being able to beat Robert Green.

Eriksson purrs as City slickers click instantly to nail Hammers (Nick Townsend)
In those words we came to love, and expect, from Sven-Goran Eriksson in his England days, it was a case of: first half good; second half not so good.
But no matter. It was a convincing enough victory on his debut as an England club manager and will have swiftly assuaged doubts, both over the Swede's appointment and over his wholesale import of foreign talent on judgement apparently made largely on the basis of videos

Sven’s foreign legion shine (Brian Glanville)
Fresh from their recent tribulations, a mischievous computer decreed that West Ham should play Manchester City on this opening Premier League day. And City won at a canter.

Fantasy football from Eriksson's new Man City (Patrick Barclay)
West Ham were being utterly outmanoeuvred. True, Alan Curbishley lacked the right-sided energy of the newcomer Julien Faubert, from Bordeaux, and Scott Parker and Lucas Neill were also absentees. But the home support had not been prepared for the sight of their team being mesmerised by such hastily assembled opponents.

~ You can read match reports from a West Ham perspective at, West Ham til I die, while the Kumb messageboard has a few choice comments.

Player ratings

Ratings come from (in order): DidsburyBlue, Slim, (Mancityfans), Gavin, bluebrendan, marcusb, kooka, Kemmyn, SturridgeIsDaMan, (Citymancs) , MEN, Sunday Times, BBC, Sky and Sky Your Rating.

Schmeichel: 7, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 7, 7, 6, 6, 6.8, 6, 7.3 (av: 6.4)
As easy a debut as he could have expected away from home. Looked confident and rarely troubled. (MEN)
Had very little to do, but made a fantastic save on Bowyer's effort that he tipped on to the bar. It wouldn't have counted as it was flagged, but still very impressive. Quick off his line and some great kicking. Good debut and a clean sheet to boot. (DidsburyBlue)
Had fuck all to do. (Slim)
Not called on much at all but didn't look convincing at times. (Gavin)
Did what he had to, looks a bit unsure but for a first game played well. (Kemmyn)
Nowt to do, but what he had to do he did well and looked good, edgy beginning to second half, but that was no doubt due to slight nerves and not wanting to make a costly mistake, will improve no doubt about it. (SITM)

Corluka (Onuoha 62): 7, 8, 7, 7, 7, 7, 7, 7, 6, 6, 6.7, 6, 7.4 (av: 6.9)
Powerful defender wants the ball in attacking positions which is promising - but ran out of steam after an hour or so. (MEN)
Seems that Sven put him in at right back just to bed him in as looks more of a centre half. Made some great tackles and looked comfortable on the ball, didn't get forward as much as I would have liked but looks very classy. Nedum has some real competition. (DidsburyBlue)
Kept Bellamy in his pocket all fucking day. (Slim)
Looked solid and got forward well but unsurprisingly tired. (Gavin)
Got better as the game went on till he got tired. Kept up with Bellamy too, got good timing for his tackling. (Kemmyn)
Kept Bellamy very quiet and only tiredness got the better of him, looks a solid defender and a great buy by Sven. (SITM)

Dunne: 8, 9, 9, 8, 9, 8, 9, 9, 7, 7, 7.2, 8, 8.2 (av: 8.2)
Skipper back in his best position and was as solid as ever - not least in communicating instructions to the rest of the side. (MEN)
Without his old partner Distin, but it was the same as usual from Dunne, got stuck in, making some good tackles in the box. Distribution was a little poor at times with some long punts upfield, but kept the defence organised. (DidsburyBlue)
He is a big fucking brick wall. (Slim)
Again almost flawless, is a little too keen to hoof the ball rather than pass though at times. (Gavin)
Defensively a 10 but went long ball when we were under pressure giving possession away too easily. (Kemmyn)
Another solid and commendable display by the Big Captain. (SITM)

Richards: 9, 10, 8, 9, 9, 9, 9, 10, 7, 8, 6.9, 9, 9.0 (av: 8.7)
Settled the debate about who will play alongside Dunne and even on the left side of the pairing looked highly accomplished. (MEN)
Proved himself as valuable as any new City signing (Observer)
MOM - was a colossus in defence winning vital headers, making vital tackles and just not letting anyone through either by air or ground. We forget he's only 19. (DidsburyBlue)
Another wall, played like he was keeping Distin out of the squad. (Slim)
Almost a flawless display but does on occasion give away needless free kicks. (Gavin)
Absolute monster in the middle, the spring he gets from his legs is amazing. (Kemmyn)
The Proverbial Brick Wall that West Ham could not or dare not pass. Who needs Sylvain? (SITM)

Garrido: 7, 7, 7, 6, 7, 7, 7, 7, 6, 6, 6.3, 7, 7.5 (av: 6.8)
Booked early on but didn't let it bother him in what was a competant Premiership debut. (MEN)
Good solid debut, looks good going forward and links very well with Petrov, could be a great steal at £1.5m. Ball will find it hard to get back in the team. Got a bit out muscled on occasion, but will learn with experience that the Premier League is not La Liga. (DidsburyBlue)
Nice overlapping, but at times forgot himself at the back. (Slim)
A promising start for the lad but he did lose Ashton for the Hammers best chance which could have been costly. (Gavin)
I thought he did well, unlucky to get a card, marking Freddie was a hard job and he stuck at it. (Kemmyn)
Coped well defensively, supported the attack but was caught out a few times from forward runs when West Ham broke, good performance though, very impressed. (SITM)

Elano (Geovanni 80): 8, 10, 9, 9, 9, 8, 8, 9, 8, 6, 7.2, 6, 7.7 (av: 8.1)
Will get fitter and stronger and then Premiership sides really had better watch out. Brilliant on the ball and will delight fans. (MEN)
Controlled the game in the first half hour, vision is unreal, and made the goal by making Upson look like a donkey, got kicked about a fair bit, but looked class. (DidsburyBlue)
A very good debut, some nice touches and a great run for the first goal. (Gavin)
Looks a superb player and had more pace than i thought, ghosted past people. Can only get better. (Kemmyn)
Only lost 1 mark, due to being subbed, but what a player, what a performance and some superb skills thrown in. West Ham couldn't handle the genius and had to revert to kicking, but somehow avoiding any bookings. (SITM)

Hamann: 8, 9, 8, 8, 9, 8, 8, 8, 8, 7, 6.6, 7, 7.6 (av: 7.9)
Shared man of the match honours with Brazilian Elano. Turned back the clock to boss the midfield with cleverness. (MEN)
Suddenly looks like he can run, pass and tackle. Sat in front of the defence making countless interceptions and tackles, one of which led to the goal. Rejuvenated? You bet! (DidsburyBlue)
Who the fuck is this guy? Amazing work today. (Slim)
Very simple, neat and tidy. (Gavin)
A true pro, his experience helped us in the second half. Best I've seen him play in a City shirt. (Kemmyn)
I thought he was finished last season, but he looks like the Hamann that wore the red of Liverpool, marshalled the gap between midfield and defence superbly, was there to break all West Ham's attacks up. (SITM)

Ireland: 6, 6, 7, 6, 6, 6, 7, 7, 7, 7, 6.8, 6, 6.8 (av: 6.5)
Stationed out on the right but was involved in plenty of eye catching attacking moves. This could be a big season for him. (MEN)
Not at his best today, didn't seem too comfortable on the RW, but still showed glimpses of quality. A quiet game from him. (DidsburyBlue)
Not really his day, was funny to see him do a stepover though. (Slim)
Similar to Johnson. (Gavin)
Not sure right mid is really his position, but gave it his best and tracked back well. (Kemmyn)
Helped support the breaks that City had, in an unfamiliar right of midfield 5 formation, worked back as well as a few telling passes at the other end. (SITM)

Johnson: 7, 6, 8, 7, 7, 7, 7, 6, 6, 7, 6.5, 5, 6.6 (av: 6.6)
Quietest of the midfielders but like the rest of the side fully earned his win bonus thanks to tremendous effort. (MEN)
Showed Barton how to be a box to box midfielder, always found a blue shirt and got stuck in to the tackles as well, another 19-year-old well beyond his years. (DidsburyBlue)
Really learnt a lesson today, good passing but caught in possession too much. (Slim)
Covered a lot of ground in a busy midfield. (Gavin)
Covered a lot of ground and did well but gave up the ball and was caught in possession. Off day. (Kemmyn)
Caught in possession too often, needs to sharpen up, but he is young and will get far better, he is already great now, felt he was spectating the stars a few times, and wants to remember he IS a star also. (SITM)

Petrov: 7, 8, 8, 7, 8, 8, 8, 8, 6, 8, 7.5, 6, 8.1 (av: 7.5)
Flashes of brilliance and when he settles into the system will be another who will make sure plenty of tickets are sold. (MEN)
Desperately wanted a goal and showed searing pace and attacking instinct, made the wrong final decision on a few occasions but had the opposition defenders trailing behind him. He will definitely score and create goals. (DidsburyBlue)
Constantly a threat, not sure they knew where he was coming from next. (Slim)
Very good when we're in control of the game, when we get the ball to him, if we don't he disappears a little. (Gavin)
Exciting to watch and another that can only get better. (Kemmyn)
Does this man ever pass an opportunity to shoot!?, he had more shots than we had goals last year, will be very exciting player and a great asset to the team all year, superb wing-play from the Bulgarian player of the year for 2006. (SITM)

Bianchi (Bojinov 61): 7, 8, 8, 7, 8, 8, 8, 8, 7, 7, 7.6, 7, 8.0 (av: 7.6)
BIANCHI - Led the line bravely and energetically on his own and his reward was a tap in to open his Blues account. (MEN)
Held the ball up well and had real goalscorer's instinct to get on the end of Elano's shot. Looked like he could have done with a partner but led the line well. (DidsburyBlue)
Take fucking notes Corradi and Samaras, right place, right time, GOAL! (Slim)
Some good touches and did what he is paid for, got in the right position at the right time. (Gavin)
Superb hold up work, some great touches, intelligent running and a goal. (Kemmyn)
A hard job up front on your own, got support from midfield, but worked hard, held the ball up well to enable the midfield support to flourish and scored a debut goal. Who says Italians don't flourish in the Prem? (SITM)


Bojinov (Bianchi 61): 7, 6, 7, 6, 6, 6, 7, 7, 6, - , 6.2, 6, 7.3 (av: 6.5)
One flashing header nearly found the net. (MEN)
His control and strength looked impressive, should have probably scored with his header and lacked a bit of sharpness. Could form a very good partnership with Bianchi in a 4-4-2 formation. (DidsburyBlue)
Great first touch, but hardly on long enough to make a judgement. (Slim)
Looked lively. (Gavin)
Looked lively and skillful hopefully starts mid week. (Kemmyn)
A la Bianchi, but without the debut goal, only a matter of time before he finds the net. (SITM)

Onuoha (Corluka 62): 8, 8, 9, 8, 8, 8, 8, 7, 7, - , 6.5, 7, 7.7 (av: 7.7)
Brilliant run and pass set up second goal. (MEN)
A little unfortunate to be left on the bench, but rose to the occasion. Didn't put a foot wrong in defence then seared forward on a great run showing great pace and strength to set Geovanni up for the winner. (DidsburyBlue)
Really picking up his level, his run forward was nothing short of world class. (Slim)
Solid and a great run for the second goal. (Gavin)
Did well and great run for the second goal. (Kemmyn)
Just for the goal assist alone, superb play from Ned to create the goal, muscling his way through, great skill inside the box and determination to assist, also did his defensive duties solidly. (SITM)

Geovanni (Elano 80): 8, 9, 8, 7, 9, 8, 8, 7, 7, - , 7.5, 7, 7.8 (av: 7.8)
Looked full of running and took goal well. (MEN)
Took his goal well and should have probably scored another but for a good save by Green. Wouldn't be surprised to see him start ahead of Ireland on the RW in the next game. (DidsburyBlue)
Turned the game when we were under pressure, nothing like Samba fucking magic. (Slim)
Not on long but who can argue with a debut goal. (Gavin)
Took advantage of a tiring Hammers could be pushing Ireland for the right mid. (Kemmyn)
Would have got a 9 if he had been on long enough for me to see more than just the goal and the other chance, no doubt though, this man posses every skill that Elano has, WOW! are we going to be entertained this year. (SITM)

Subs not used:

Hart, Fernandes.

Wednesday's match

I was thinking it's about time I met some of this site's readers, so if anyone wants to share for a pint or two before the game, drop me a line at and I'll try to arrange something.


Anonymous said...

Strange that the umber of bokings bears no relation to the number of fouls committed.

Hhhammer said...

As a hammers fan a home win on the opening day is always welcome, and with a put together side alegedly bought via video as our opponents we thought this would be a rout. i saw punters putting bets on the hammers to win from 1-0 up to 5-0 , honest! how wrong were we, a v good city side made us look like average, take nothing away we werent bad as man city were superb, good win blue mooners. (we still hate sven though)

Andrew said...

Yeah, also strange was Zamora committing seven fouls without picking up a card.

I used to a big critic of Sven too, but he's really impressed me since he took charge. I think club management suits him far more than being an international boss.

Slim said...

I can't believe you quoted me, I swear WAY too much it seems, certainly on our site I do.

It'll all be different tonight when we find out if we can shake that awful tag we have been labelled with for decades.