Man City Match Report

I guess most of us thought Manchester City would play like a team of strangers. I hadn’t heard of most of the players in their lineup, but by the end of the game I was wishing that at least two of them were on our side – Elano and Biannchi. This was a dire performance by West Ham and made you think that this season may well be just as difficult as the last one. Not a single player, bar Robert Green, had a decent game. They played as if there had been no pre-season. They were devoid of passion, initiative and guile. The English players must have known Steve McLaren was watching, yet none of them did their causes any good at all. From the off, Anton Ferdinand played with a lack of lustre that has become far too apparent in his game. Mark Noble played the whole game as if he couldn’t recognise another West Ham player. He gave the ball away so often you almost itched to have Nigel Reo Coker back in the side. Lee Bowyer was still on his summer holidays and was deservedly subbed at half time. Boa Morte was as bad as I have seen him. Indeed, I have never seen him have what you could call a good game.

At half time Curbishley subbed Bowyer and Boa Morte and brought on Etherington and Mullins. The first twenty minutes of the second half showed a little promise. Etherington constantly raced down the left and crossed the ball, only to find no one there. Etherington did more in the first five minutes of the second half than Boa Morte had done in the entire first half. Boa Morte didn’t seem to realise he was on the left and constantly went in field. It was left to Bellamy to ply his trade down the left.

But when Dean Ashton came on, instead of subbing the hapless Zamora Curbishley brought off McCartney (who headed straight down the tunnel) and unbelievably moved Etherington to left back. After that he disappeared.

However, let’s get some perspective. It’s one game. The way some peopel are reacting you’d think we’d just been relegated. What it demonstrated to me was that we need a new left back – hopefully Nicky Shorey or Matthew Taylor. We can’t afford to sell Etherington because Boa Morte doesn’t cut it. Mullins was a huge improvement on Bowyer and I wonder about the wisdom of flogging him to Reading or Charlton. He will always be half decent cover for Noble and Parker.

But the greatest lesson is in defence. Upson showed some compsure and nice touches but Ferdinand will have to do a great deal better than that to retain his place. He has Collins, Gabbidon and Davenport breathing down his neck. He’s better watch out.

And so to the marks…

Robert Green – 7 Not to blame for either goal. Solid performance, which will have impressed McLaren
Anton Ferdinand – 5 Poor performace with no redeeming factors
Matthew Upson – 7 Composed and solid
George McCartney – 6 Didn’t get forward enough and was weak on the overlap
Jonathan Spector – 6 Was he playing?
Mark Noble – 5 His worst performance yet. Unrecognisable from last season
Lee Bowyer – 5 Not at the races
Luis Boa Morte – 4 Must be dropped for the next game
Craig Bellamy – 6 Good in flashes but couldn’t work with Zamora
Bobby Zamora – 4 Terrible game. Won nothing in the air and barely had a shot
Freddie Ljungberg – 7 Probably the best outfield player in terms of commitment but seemed to roam all over the place
Matty Etherington – 6 Excellent for the first 15 mins of the second half but then disappeared because of move to left back
Dean Ashton – 5 Missed one good chance, but looked very heavy indeed
Hayden Mulling – 6 Competitive and busy


24 Responses to Man City Match Report

  1. tom says:

    fair comments but i think ferdinand, etherington n mullins deserve better ratings

  2. ny hammer says:

    i would agree with much of what iain dale wrote here , with perhaps a couple minor exceptions.
    for a start, i thought although boa morte began the game sluggishly, in the 20 minutes prior to the interval, he seemed to get much mor einvolved, making tackles and some decent passes. i also thought mccartney did not have a bad game- the real issue was the non-existence of our centrl midfield until mullins came on. Bowyer was catastrophic- it was embarrassing how out of his depth he was. Noble had teh worst game i ve ever seen him have in the claret and blue, though i feel in part, he was dragged down by bowyer. i cannot understand why collins did not even make the bench. To me Collins belongs there over Ferdinand. Upson did look solid, which was a relief. so the question simply becomes who partners Upson now. i don t have a lot of patience for Ferdinand- if he can t deliver then the change needs to be made quickly. Etherington and Mullins did well when they came on , and showed desire. Based on this evidence ,i wouldn t be to quick to sell either of them as the former cud be a starter , and the latter certinly provides good cover. it wasn t so much the scoreline, which i think flattered city a bit, given that we had ample chances to equalize before conceding the second, but the manner in which we lost. when ashton came on , and we kep three attackers on, our urgency should have increasesd- it didn t . we looked less of a menace, and less threatening, with 3 forwards on the pitch than 2. Ashton in particular not only lacked fitness, but lacked passion. it may only be the first game , but it s a big mistake to be anything less than very concerned by what went on at this match. Losing 2-0 at home to midtable , at best, opposition , that has players who barely know each othr or their own manager , is unacceptable. this has got to be a real wake-up call that new signings don t guarantee us anything , and that there is no superman like tevez this time to rely on. Curbishley needs to get these players focused , and sharp, with immediate effect . those that can t be relied on should be removed very quickly, and in the case of at least one, perhaps permanently. there needs to be a sense of urgency about this. thinking it will all get fixed when parker and neill return is a mistake that would see us ina relegation scrap again. it wasn t all bad- there were periods when we passed well and looked a threat, but there is a lot of work to be done. and some of that work involves attitude and commitment , not just skill and playing to our potential. not quite a disaster,but pretty damn worrying.

  3. Hammerithome says:

    Hi Ian; Just to say that your report is good but I will give my players scores if ok as they do vary a bit with yours. As they say though it is a game of oppinions so here goes.

    Robert Green 7,Anton Ferdinand 6,Matt Upson 7,George McCartney 5,Jonathan Spector 4, Mark Noble 6, Lee Bowyer 4, Luis Boa Morte 3, Craig Bellamy 6, Bobby Zamora 5, Freddie Ljunberg 8, Matt Etherington 6, Dean Ashton 5,Hayden Mullins 7.

    All in all a very dissapointing start. It looked as though we were frightened or nervous at times,and looked like they had a weight on their shoulders and didn’t get into any rythym.
    Curbs must get it sorted and I’m sure he will. Here’s hoping!!

  4. crazyhorse says:

    For starters curbishley played players out of position,secondly we didnt have neill or parker out there due to injury,and if anything todays result will prompt curbishley to step up a gear and sign atleast 3 new players,a midfielder,striker and without a shadow of a doubt a leftback.Although unhappy at todays result im not worried,things will take shape very quickly with neill and parker back and new signings to strengthened us all will be ok,so stop worrying,lets look forward,not,back, afteral,we were not the only team to lose today

  5. Connor says:

    It’s so easy to see what were missing, just from that game.

    Carlos Tevez.

  6. ny hammer says:

    i hope crazy horse is correct in neill and parker being back as quickly as is being reported- have my doubts about that , and won t believe it til i see it. To lose in and of itself was not so much the issue -it was the WAY in which we lost, and the way in which we played for periods of the game. having now had a little more time to reflect,the single thing that bothered me the most was how often we gave the ball away. there were times in the game when it looked like we could not even complete simple passes, especially late in the match when we were chasing an equalizer. what is shocking is how well man city distributed the ball considering they have so many new players who have had little time to work together. the mistakes we made in disributing the ball mde it look like we were playing a pre-season match, not a real league game. curbishley s comments after the game at least show he accepts how poor we were , and that this type of performance can t be repeated. i hope we go to birmingham with a bit more fire in the belly , and prepared to be lot les casual in giving the ball away.

  7. Keith R says:

    Oh dear …perhaps Southend could take Boa Morte off us for 50p?

  8. EastHammer says:

    Curbishley is tactically inept and when we do rubbish he shifts blames straight away onto the players. He did the same last season and he is doing it again. Its his job to get them up for it. I did not want him from day one and I do not want him now. He is a waffler.

    We should be aimimg top 8 with that squad but we will end up around 14th.

  9. DamerHammer says:

    He got it wrong from the start, no balence in the midfield 2 attackers in the centre, no holders, he knew he had it wrong thats why he made the half-time subs. Anton was poor, Boa was shocking, Bowyer has never had a good game in the claret and blue. Noble was poor. Upson did well, Matty and Mullins helped. But we’ve got no spark, we need a Paolo, or a Carlo’, to lift the crowd. i thought the atmosphere was virtually non existant. Normally the firwst game we’re all buzzin’, but yesterday was a real disappointment. im also not to sure what difference Dyer would make hes very similar to Beller, in that he runs with the ball a lot and hes very quick, we desperately need a striker. We also had no real leaders out there wit Lucas and Parks out, and i dont think i would have had Freddie as captain, out of the 16 Mullins is probably the best leader, but he was sub. im not saying hes a great captin, but surely he was the best man available for the job yestday!

  10. Ian the Hammer says:

    2 outstanding players of the last 10 games of last season missing from the line up yesterday – Tevez, but he’s no longer with us so can’t do much about that & COLLINS, COLLINS (so good I named him twice). When he came back from injury last season he made Anton look half decent again & I feel we missed him big time yesterday. If he had played it may very well still been exactly the same but I think Curbs has to start him next week. Glad to se Boa Morte carring onwhere he left off. If we lose to Brimingham next week I can see another very long season,starting full of promise but as usual going nowhere fast.
    Do you think Pardew had a chuckle after all the “poor pre-season last year” stuff? Think he might have.
    PS good post ny hammer, can always rely on yourself to say it as it is buddy>

  11. hammer says:

    Let’s be honest, it was pitiful. The reason Man.C. looked more composed and better at passing the ball around than us is because the players they have brought in are of a higher quality than ours. Sven might not be a football genius but he showed at his time with England that keeping the ball and not giving away posession gets results. It did not help with Parker out as the back four got little protection but the lack of commitment all round was alarming. As for Ferdinand i feel he has always been very overated, definatly not to Reos’ standard and Gabidon is by far the better bet. Upson had a OK game but was left for dead for the 1st goal being totally flat footed. The second goal just showed how little things have changed in defence at W.H.
    Still i’m sure it will get better, lets be fair it can’t get worse.
    Come on u irons.

  12. baztench says:

    oh dear Wst Ham fans,
    can I put a city perspective on it? if Ashton hadn’t blazed over when the score was 0-1 there would have been a different set of comments form you all. City played…well if you’d watched some of the dire stuff we served up last season…they were amazing! I wasn’t for Sven until I realised it upset the rags (MUFC) more than it upset our own suppoters but he’s brought players with flair and even if we do do a Leeds and end up brankrupt and broken at least we can watch some decent stuff in the meantime.

    You know Ashton will come good, after he knocked us out of the FA cup last season before last, I was wishing we had signed him there had been talk. Ljndberg is quality and Boa Morte can’t be that bad every week, he was electric at Fulham. You got a decent manager who likes attacking football. There are a couple of players who you wouldn’t put in your fantasy team unless you’d been bought one too many Magners! Ferdinand, even the sound of that name makes me shiver…and Zamora looked totally like they were in the wrong division. I don’t think Championship beckons where they might be at home but I know you West Han fans like us want to see good attacking football.

    Hope it doesn’t sound like I’m gloating, I’m not…well maybe a little, but I’m just waiting for the wheels to come off big style at Eastlands but until then…wasn’t going to buy away shirt this season but I’ve got to put Elano somewhere besides mt fantasy team.
    good luck hammers

  13. Hammerithome says:

    Thanks for the sensible post Baztench.Not bad for a City fan(only joking). One of my mates is a City fan so I get a lot of comment/banter off him at times and as you done the double over us last season I havn’t been able to give much back!
    Well done for yesterday,and enjoy it while you can. West Ham won’t be far behind you soon(I pray)and we will both be a lot hgappier than last year.
    West Ham definately need to spend some more cash so here’s hoping it won’t be long.

  14. Keith R says:

    Cheers, baztench …and in the spirit of our game, Come on You Irons.

  15. Hammerithome says:

    I was a bit upset to read the comments of former player Paul Konchesky. He said players were and still are unhappy at West Ham(no names). this is due to the manager as he (Curbs)doesn’t have any banter/chat with the players,and he is always serious and never shows any feelings towards players. Curbs is very hard to get on with apparently.
    Tevez left because of the manager,and Bent never signed for the same reason,yes the manager again!
    I think it’s a shame that a former player and fan has to go on the attack like this once he has left.
    What are other fans comments on this?

  16. E1 says:

    Curbs is to negative he says he wants to see attacking football well we aint madrid, to be able to play that open and still win we need to spend BIG BIG MONEY. Or we could go back to basics and play the west ham way but we need to build from the back Neil and Upson are not going to save us on there own Deano will come good AND PARKER WILL DO OK ALONG WITH GREEN so I make that 5 players that look like top 7 potential freddie,mullins,zamora,ferdinand,matty, boa are squad players we are still 6 short of a quality starting 11 in my opinion just look at the yids,blackburn,Everton etc they a top draw 11 and very good cover. GET A PLAY MAKER !!!!!!

  17. E1 says:

    I’M Sorry to say but I think we need another manager sooner rather than later one who can change tactics and one that players want to play for I wonder if we could ever get Harry back he gave us our best prem years and had no money and look what he’s done at pompey !! I was really looking forward to this season but if he can’t motivate a team to win on the first game of the season at home then I don’t see much change from last year . Curbs stop blaming the players past present and injured take a good long look at yourself. YESTERDAY WAS A DISGRACE !!!

  18. Brooking knows best says:

    I was gutted, it looked as bad as it did at any time last year when we were at our worst. Teves although not the sole reason we stayed up was a very big factor has gone. so who do we look to now? Ashton, Bellamy or Lungberg. All good but certainly not Teves….
    HANG ON A MINUTE! Doom and gloom after the first game, support like ours, I though we was supposed to be some of the best fans in England!
    We was poor! We showed little passion. We was over ran. WE WILL GET BETTER! As for Man C, every player had a point to prove, every player ran their socks off. Every player played to his full potential. It knocked us and i reckon it was a wake up call. We will not get caught cold like that to many more times this season. I hope this game serves the purpose of reminding all out players of not taking any more games so lightly! We wont win the league, but I still think top ten is on and i hope for a top 8 finish.

  19. Brooking knows best says:

    I could not help myself, I tried to refrain from commenting on those who are knocking Curbishley. But I’m only a poor little Hammer, who loves the claret and blue of West Ham. Why are we knocking our manager so quickly? Why are some calling him tactically inept? Was it not his genius that kept Chalton up for so long? Who else could have kept us up after taking over our club last season. He inherited a total shamples, an accident scene.
    Next time, lets have a “Curbishleys claret and blue army!” I guess he still has some more to do to win alot of hammers over, but lets give him the chance before making judgement!
    Lets hope he proves to be the best English manager and takes our club to a new level and give him all the support he should be getting.

  20. Mr Ed says:

    Ashton’s chance which he blazed over, if it had gone in would have been ruled out because he was offside. Apart from a couple of half chances WHU only created one clear cut chance but the old fella with his legs well and truely gone could not make it, whereas virtually the same chance had a 22 year old arriving with enough time to make a pizza before putting it in. Difference is Sven has said City will not pay big money for has beens (6.5million by the time your finished boys for Freddie) but is on;y interested in players that can do a job now and in years to come. For an away side to boss the game for a good hour of a match says it all really. Many thanks to the WHU fans who applauded at the end nice one, and I hope things go well for the rest of the season. Like us you have to endure living under the shadows and having to put up with their success. Think what it was like for us boys when the rags won the treble I had to live under my bed for three months!! Cheers

  21. Danny says:

    I rather have KATAN back than watching Zamora again, what a waste of space he is.

  22. jon l.colney says:

    keep the faith boys.1 game dont make a season.
    i do believe that now thats gone we will see a lot better attitude against brum.
    mullins 4 me was exactly what we need in midfield sometimes,no fancy pants stuff just simple get it then give n go.noble lost it more than he ever had it.ide like to see gabbs and collins in the back 2.a lot more knowledge about eachothers play an all that.
    ferdy just aint his brother.time to go i think.bowyer just shows no class on the ball and boy it shows when hes in front ov goal,well he cant see hes in front of the damm thing!!!matty came on and did well.ashton and zamora up front with bellamy down the right chanell.
    can someone explain why curbs put matty in the back 4 ? decisions like that will cost us if he cant see it then read these bloggs !!!!!your guvna does.

  23. John Simkin says:

    Football fans have an opinion on every player. As the various football forums show, fans disagree with great intensity about individual performances. This is reflected when people pick their team for the next match.

    Is it possible to rate players in an objective way? I don’t think so. Judgement on players is emotional as well as intellectual. I know that I give some players the benefit of the doubt whereas others find it difficult to convince me of their merits. This is partly because of the way they play the game. I have always liked players who give their all in games. Another important factor concerns individual skill. I always favour players who look up and make accurate passes. This is why I always had difficulty giving Reo-Coker the benefit of the doubt.

    I believe it is impossible for any one individual to assess players completely objectively. However, it is possible to get a fair estimation of someone’s performance by taking into account a reasonable number of assessments. Therefore, this season, I will be collecting together comments and rankings of every player’s performance in every match. This will enable people to use this data to make judgements on the performance of individual players.

    Currently I am using the assessment of 12 different websites and newspapers. This includes Iain Dale’s Hammers Diary. If you watch every West Ham game and are willing to join in this experiment, contact me via the forum.

    There is no doubt that there was general agreement about individual performances against Man City. Green was rated as the top performer with an average of 7.1. It was also clear who had the two worse ratings: Boa Morte (4.1) and Bowyer (4.4).

    Some players had a wide variety of different ratings. For example, Anton Ferdinand obtained scores that went from 3 to 7. Zamora also divided the commentators with a range from 3 to 6. Anyway, you can see the full list here:

  24. Gill says:

    Matthew Upson – 7 Composed and solid

    Sorry I must of been watching a different player. Matthew Upson looked slow and out of it, especially for the Man City first goal when he was left for dead by the speed of their attack.

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