The Gods at home: Manchester City destroys West Ham 6-0 in the Capital One Cup first leg of semi-final | Sportzwiki

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The Gods at home: Manchester City destroys West Ham 6-0 in the Capital One Cup first leg of semi-final 

The season started well for a certain wee club from London. They finished the season previous in a respectable tenth place (more than respectable considering the fact that they were newly promoted) and smashed the club transfer record on an England international. Things couldn’t have been rosier for West Ham United and Sam Allardyce back then. They had signed wingers Matt Jarvis and Stewart Downing to aid crosses for the header-specialist Andy Carroll. But that seems to be the reality ages ago. Back to the present, and West Ham are currently playing arguably the worst football in Europe. “I’m forever blowing bubbles” is the most sung club chant; the bubbles in the air have long been burst. Two cup games, 11 goals conceded. West Ham’s Spanish goalkeeper Adrian fell on his back last night after conceding the last of the 11. Even a day laborer had had lesser work to do than the helpless Adrian in the last four days, who had to pick up the ball from the back of the net in regular intervals.

A formidable fortress is what the Etihad Stadium stands for these days. Manchester City came into the game without having lost a single domestic game at home. The West Ham players hurried inside the tunnel before kick-off; that perhaps makes it clear that they all wanted the business done as quickly as possible. But it went on to be a longer night than they all hoped for, they surely should have expected something like that. Manchester City, with last night’s 6-0 win, have now scored six or more goals in four separate occasions at home this season. That perhaps clears the air as to how on earth has the second string Edin Dzeko managed to score 12 goals in the season.

One of the most lopsided games in the fledgling ‘Capital One Cup’ history, City seemed like they would have had a harder time facing their reserves. West Ham played little to no football; they could’ve let in almost a dozen had it not been for the fine shot-stopping of Adrian. The kick-off, a West Ham long ball, set the tone for the night. They came to City after their humiliation at Nottingham Forest’s City Ground. And they returned back to London with nothing left to play in the second leg.

ANALYSIS

CITY’S FULL FUNCTIONALITY, WEST HAM’S EARLY ACCEPTANCE OF DEFEAT

Manchester City look like the most in-form team at the moment. Manuel Pellegrini has instilled a beautiful fusion of the fluid, passing football with big men. Who says aesthetic football remains an art to be perfected only by the smaller guys? Manchester City had an average starting eleven height of six foot, and it would rage an endless debate if I don’t say that they play beautiful football at the very least. Negredo and Dzeko might be one of the tallest strike partnerships around, but the way they dovetailed would even put the Iniestas and Messis to awe. Manuel Pellegrini has done incredibly well to realize his team’s strengths and maximizing them. He has given his players the freedom, released them from Roberto Mancini’s tactical straitjacket and brought in a South American essence and flair to the Eastlands.

West Ham for their part played their part in making it a tennis score line, and the watching David Sullivan would surely have somebody else on the back of his mind to replace Allardyce. Stewart Downing might have been a 20 million flop at Liverpool, but he had one of his best performances in a red shirt at the Etihad some two years ago, the last time City managed to not score a home goal. And then there was yesterday’s performance; a totally ineffective, headless performance that made every other Hammer pull their hair off in angst. Downing came up against City’s weakest link in Clichy and never completed a single take-on or sent in a good cross. Inverted wingers can make life difficult for full backs; they often like to turn one way then the other, but Clichy probably had one of his easier nights in a City shirt. So much did he enjoy that he even bombed forward to send in a cross for Dzeko to score; a goal that culminated from a 26-pass move.

A bit too easy for City last night, every one of the starting eleven had a good day. Samir Nasri, Yaya Toure, Vincent Kompany, and the list will go on. Pellegrini even had the audacity to give a debut to the young Marcos Lopes. Lopes had a say in the last goal; a beautiful back heeled nutmeg setting Kolarov free who crossed for the ever willing Dzeko. Dzeko was one of the top performers, my pick for man-of-the-match. He worked hard as ever, laying off for teammates, intelligently freeing up space by his off-the-ball running and deservedly scored two (could’ve been three had he not forgotten his shooting boots in the dressing room).

West Ham had new signing Roger Johnson at the defensive heart along with local lad George McCartney. Johnson has this unwanted record of getting relegated in each of the last three seasons. West Ham fans would surely hope that his signing won’t be the rubberstamp to West Ham’s relegation. He failed to adjust to the pace of the game (although he did pull off some blocks later on), and seemed to miscommunicate with his defensive partners. The first goal was a direct result of his positioning. He was nowhere in the picture when Toure sent the ball flying in behind his defense. Left back Joey O’Brien and McCartney were miles apart and as they converged in on Negredo, he was already off celebrating. That was as early as in the 12th minute. It opened the floodgates and West Ham were drowning in the deluge some 80 minutes later. A complete mishap party would be a huge understatement; only Adrian saved some grace as the defense was shred to six pieces.

ALVARO NEGREDO AND EDIN DZEKO AND THE OTHER GAME DEFINING PLAYERS

Negredo and Dzeko exemplify a perfect partnership. They scored five between themselves, and could have had double figures had it not been for their misses. One multi-million pound signing has barely made a start (Stevan Jovetic) and the other has now scored 18 goals in all competitions. Negredo packs a punch, is physical enough to not get bullied and has a wonderful left peg. His eye for a pass is good too, but it is his goals that do the most talking. It must have been painful for Dzeko to see City sign two strikers in the summer; he even contemplated a move away. But as the dust settled, so did he. The injuries to Aguero and Jovetic have been kind to the big Bosnian, and he has relished this opportunity to prove his manager wrong. Aguero will surely take Dzeko’s place when fit, but then good players are the ones who can be good at difficult times. Pity for him, but that’s the way it is. Dzeko won’t be short of admirers in the summer though.

Yaya Toure is inhuman. It took him less than a minute to shake off what was a serious-looking knee injury in the drizzly and cold Etihad pitch. And barely 15 minutes later, he produced the moment of the match. Leo Messi scored a similar goal in his comeback against Getafe yesterday, and he surely has the entire world purring with applauses and appreciations. Yaya Toure deserved similar recognition, but he isn’t Messi and he knows that. His slaloming run from midfield finished in a goal; a stunning run and a calm finish. Toure is the midfield general at his club, and it would be interesting to see both him and Messi doing things against each other in the Champions League.

VERDICT

West Ham were bad as they’ve ever been. And as for City you can’t help it when your opponents don’t show up. The Etihad has become a scary cauldron, a place where even the best get nervy and anxious. Sam Allardyce and his band of non-football-playing footballers owe a huge apology to their fans who made a sickening journey in the rainy January night. They didn’t witness a single moment to cheer themselves up, perhaps referee Jon Moss’ comic fall on the pitch made them warmer. Now that the cup distractions are over (almost), Sam Allardyce is running short of excuses. West Ham aren’t prone to calamities, but ‘Big Sam’ hasn’t ever got a team relegated either. But changes must be drastic, or else we all know what it means to lead the table-proppers by a solitary point. As for City, they will be league champions unless there is some big, unforeseen disaster in the future. They are well-placed in all competitions, and as much as their fans enjoy their football, we the neutrals and rivals do it too.

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The Gods at home: Manchester City destroys West Ham 6-0 in the Capital One Cup first leg of semi-final

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