City v West Ham United 1-1
January 20th 2008 att.39,042
City managed to scrape a point from this average game and West Ham will wonder why they left with only one point. But for some saves by Joe Hart they would have inflicted the first defeat for City at home in the league. There were doubts about City's equalizing goal too. The great active or inactive offside question raising its ugly head. Since City have suffered twice from this stupid law recently it was about time we gained from it! The one big worry is the decline in form of Elano who showed only the odd glimpse of his early season form. Though Vassell and Bianchi tried their best the lack of a proven striker must worry Sven and hasten the clubs efforts to add to the playing staff during the January transfer window. The visitors tightened up their defence to curb the efforts of Petrov who had a quieter game. The lack of cutting edge in the last third is worrying. One good point from the game was the form of Joe Hart who is now definately number 1.
Bianchi made a rare start in place of the injured Castillo and West Ham were without Ashton and Etherington.
Joe Hart was in action early to foil Freddy Ljungberg
After 7 minutes there was an early disaster for City. Richard Dunne made a rare error giving the ball away to Ljungberg who centered for Cole to score with a spectacular overhead kick.
Elano although playing further forward rarely got into the game
City fought back and soon forced a corner which was cleared
Joe Hart was easily the busiest of the keepers and had to be on the ball to thwart Cole and Ljungberg
After 14 minutes Petrov forced a corner on the left which was taken by Elano. This was deflected for another corner ,taken on the right by Petrov . The ball was partially cleared (above left) but when the ball was returned in by Petrov, Dunne missed the ball (above right) .............
....... but with Bianchi being held by McCartney it was left to Vassell to slot the ball home from close range.
Though replays suggested that Vassell had been in an offside position when Petrov played the ball in it looked like the ball came off a defender in the scramble that followed the cross the goal stood and City were level.
Hart on the alert as Ljungberg crosses
Hart does his best to clear the corner
Lucas Neill decides that Petrov was becoming too much of a danger so he took him out and deserved the yellow card brandished by referee Dowd.
Ferdinand takes a defensive position as Ireland shoots
Ferdinand heads clear . I might have just caught the moment of contact
Bowyer looks shocked- surely not the haircuts of Richards and Corluka
Carlton Cole has been watching too much rugby with this tackle
Dunne heads over his own bar to clear this West Ham attack
The City defence force Cole wide to nullify the attack
Ireland and Noble clash in mid-field
For once Bianchi is not being held !
Man of the match Joe Hart in action yet again
Hart 9: Corluka 6.5, Richards 7.5, Dunne 7, Ball 6.5: Vassell 6 (Fernandes 6.5), Ireland 6 (Geovanni 6), Hamann 7, Petrov 6.5: Elano 6.5 Garrido 6), Bianchi 6.5
West Ham get the ball in the net but the goal is ruled out by the referee presumably because of a foul
Hart saves well from Noble with his feet the ball rebounding to safety
Elano heads just over from a Corluka cross
Is Cole trying to pick Hamann's back pocket?
Bianchi who tried hard was constantly held by McCartney and did not get much help from the referee