West Ham 1 Manchester City 3 match report: Sam Allardyce's false nines fall to a real one

West Ham try the 4-6-0 formation again but slick City striker Aguero finds a way to make them pay

Upton Park

There was no repeat miracle for Sam Allardyce’s strikerless West Ham yesterday as Manchester City moved into the top four with their first away win of the league season.

A slick attacking performance was highlighted by two goals from Sergio Aguero and one from David Silva. The only blight on City's display was a return of the complacency that sometimes afflicts them as they allowed Ricardo Vaz Te to give Hammers brief hope at 0-2 down.

That was extinguished by Silva's strike, leaving City in a confident mood for this week's vital Champions League trip to CSKA Moscow.

"It was very important to get that first away win," said City manager Manuel Pellegrini. "One point from nine was not enough. But for the West Ham goalkeeper it might have been five or six."

Allardyce, whose team are a point off the relegation zone, said: "Manchester City were better than us. With their front two, and Yaya Touré and Silva passing the ball the way they pass it, it frightened us a bit and we were on the back foot. The annoying thing was we made basic errors for the first two goals."

While Allardyce, that gnarled old dug-out veteran of the English game, had sent out his players in the à la mode 4-6-0 formation with a phalanx of false nines spinning off the front line, Pellegrini, the newcomer from Chile via Spain, arranged his as the old-fashioned Anglophile 4-4-2.

This was not so hard to explain. City had a £64m strike partnership in Aguero and Alvaro Negredo with another £47m pair of Edin Dzeko and Stefan Jovetic on the bench. When a manager has that many high-class strikers he really ought to try and play one or two.

West Ham's resources were rather more limited. In the absence of the continually injured Andy Carroll their forward options were reduced to the lightweight Modibo Maiga, who was dropped, and a pair of free agents. Mladen Petric and the returning Carlton Cole were thus left on the bench. True, West Ham won 3-0 with this formation at White Hart Lane before the international break, but only the most rabid fan would say that score reflected the game. To counter, Pellegrini changed his entire back four from the side that beat Everton 3-1 last time out, and replaced James Milner with Samir Nasri.

For 15 minutes West Ham's flooded midfield not only kept City at bay but threatened to create chances of their own. Then City began to pick the Hammers off. The problem with 4-6-0 was there was no pressure on passes from deep, so Touré and Fernandinho began to dictate play.

It was from this position that Fernandinho rolled a pass towards Negredo, who casually let the ball run past him. Aguero read it, Winston Reid and James Tomkins did not. As they stood aghast, Aguero calmly slid the ball home.

It could have been all over within five more minutes. Negredo headed down a Silva chip but Aguero shot at Jaaskelainen, then the keeper shovelled another Aguero drive into traffic and was grateful for Reid's block and Guy Demel's clearance as Negredo and Silva followed up.

Jaaskelainen denied Touré again before the break but the game looked settled six minutes after when Aguero stepped off Vaz Te and Kevin Nolan to head in unchallenged from Silva's near post free-kick. Yet with Vaz Te in a more advanced role, West Ham got back into the game. Joe Hart saved at Mohamed Diamé's feet but then Razvan Rat's cross was only half-cleared, Ravel Morrison (otherwise relatively quiet) flicked the ball on, and Vaz Te surprised Hart with an acrobatic overhead kick.

After Negredo struck the bar and Aguero tested Jaaskelainen, Touré fed a clever pass through to Aguero. His backheel released Silva, who dummied himself a yard to score. This time West Ham had no reply.

Line-ups:

West Ham United (4-6-0): Jaaskelainen; Demel (O’B rien, 65), Tomkins, Reid, Rat; Downing, Morrison, Noble, Nolan (Petric, 83), Diame, Vaz Te (Jarvis, 65).

Manchester City (4-4-2): Hart; Richards, Javi Garcia, Nasri (Milner, 74), Clichy; Silva, Y Toure, Fernandinho, Nasri; Aguero (Jovetic, 82), Negredo (Kolarov, 66).

Referee: Michael Oliver.

Man of the match: Aguero (Manchester City)

Match rating: 7/10

Follow all today’s action from the Premier League by CLICKING HERE

Suggested Topics
News
Alan Bennett has criticised the “repellent” reality shows which dominate our screens
tvBut he does like Stewart Lee
Life and Style
The Google Doodle celebrating the start of the first day of autumn, 2014.
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
News
Former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin, left, with her daughter, Bristol
newsShe's 'proud' of eldest daughter, who 'punched host in the face'
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Life and Style
Carol O'Brien, whose son Rob suffered many years of depression
healthOne mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Life and Style
food + drink
News
Rob Merrick's Lobby Journalists were playing Ed Balls' Labour Party MPs. The match is an annual event which takes place ahead of the opening of the party conference
newsRob Merrick insistes 'Ed will be hurting much more than me'
News
A cabin crew member photographed the devastation after one flight
news
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits