West Ham lose again to leave them bottom of the league
The Hammers put in a battling display, but two early goals sentenced them to another defeat at the City of Manchester Stadium.
Manchester City 2 West Ham United 1
West Ham may have to win their final three matches of the season to survive in the Premier League after Manchester City grabbed a 2-1 victory at Eastlands.
West Ham played some good football in spells and carved out some decent chances, but they paid a heavy price for a terrible start as the game was all but over after just a quarter of an hour as they found themselves 2-0 behind.
Manchester City took complete control almost from the first whistle and there was little surprise when they grabbed the lead as early as the 10th minute.
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Mario Balotelli had already had a shot blocked, while David Silva had another effort deflected wide, when Aleksanda Kolarov’s corner was only cleared as far as Nigel De Jong on the edge of the box and he thumped the ball back into the far corner to give City the lead.
At that stage it looked like City were capable of anything as West Ham hardly had a sniff of the ball and just five minutes later they doubled their lead.
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This time Balotelli played a clever ball to Pablo Zabaleta in the box and when he crossed it low into the centre, all West Ham defender Lars Jacobsen could do was turn it into his own net.
Many West Ham fans must have been expecting a hiding, especially when skipper Matty Upson limped off to be replaced by Manuel da Costa and as the City fans turned their backs on the match to do their Polish dance of celebration, you could forgive the Hammers fans if they just turned their backs on what was going on.
But as the half wore on, City became over-confident, the passes began to go astray and slowly the Hammers began to get a foothold in the game.
Freddie Sears put Robbie Keane in the clear, only for Joe Hart to save his tame effort, but just a minute later the Hammers had thrown themselves a lifeline.
A ball was played in from the left and after Joleon Lescott’s handball was not spotted by the referee the ball fell for Demba Ba to sweep it into the net and make it 2-1.
City looked to go forward and restore their two-goal lead, but as West Ham dug in, all they could muster was a long shot from Adam Johnson that Robert Green held well.
City looked to settle things early in the second half, but were denied on 56 minutes when first Mario Balotelli crashed a shot against the cross bar and then Balotelli’s follow up was expertly saved by Green with his body.
There were chances at both ends on 63 minutes. First Thomas Hitzlsperger’s corner was met by the head of Da Costa only for Hart to save well, and within seconds Silva was clear at the other end.
He rounded Green and slipped a pass to Balotelli, but the striker’s shot was superbly cleared off the line by James Tomkins.
Hitzlsperger’s free kick was inches over the head of Ba as he jumped in front of Hart, while at the other end Silva’s sidefooted effort was hacked away by Gabbidon.
West Ham threw on Carlton Cole and Vicor Obinna to add some attacking impetus, but it was City who were carving out the only real chances as Silva saw his deflected shot tipped over by Green and then the same player fired well over.
Cole had West Ham’s best chance in the closing stages. Obinna found him on the left with a long pass and when he cut inside and shot, Lescott was forced to make a bloock on the goalbound shot.
But that was as near as West Ham could muster as they slipped to their fifth consecutive defeat and stay firmly rooted to the bottom of the Premier League table.
West Ham: Green, Jacobsen, Gabbidon, Upson (Da Costa 26), Tomkins, Sears, Hitzlsperger, Spector, Boa Morte (Obinna 79), Keane (Cole 66), Ba.
Unused Subs: Boffin, Kovac, Piquionne, Reid.
Referee: Howard Webb.