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By Chris Bevan
2210: And that is just about that from me tonight. Thanks for your banter and I hope you enjoyed what was a wide-open match as much as I did. There is plenty more football for you lot this week, though. Oh yes. Join Stevo tomorrow night for some Champions League action - Arsenal, Liverpool and Rangers are all in action.
2204: West Ham's next match is against London rivals, and fellow strugglers, Fulham on Sunday. City, as mentioned earlier, travel to play Aston Villa on Monday. I think Mark Hughes' men might be practicing their defending at set-pieces before that one - well, they should be anyhow after tonight!
From jovialmatty1111 on 606:
"City are a threat to the top four at least. I'd say for the title as well but they have to keep their top players fit. If they can, then the title is on.."
2158: Former Manchester City defender Danny Mills on BBC Radio 5 live: "Worrying signs for West Ham - for me the backbone of their team just isn't good enough. But having said that, I think there are worst teams than them in the Premier League and they will be out of trouble by the end of the season."
2156: So, comfortable enough for Manchester City in the end, and they climb to fifth in the Premier League, three points behind leaders Manchester United and with a game in hand. West Ham remain in the bottom three and have now lost three league games on the trot. It wasn't all plain-sailing for Mark Hughes' side though and some poor defending gave the Hammers hope before Carlos Tevez's second goal sealed his side's win.
2153: FULL-TIME Manchester City 3-1 West Ham
2150: Michael Johnson is on for City, replacing Gareth Barry. This is Johnson's first senior appearance for more than a year after a string of injuries - he will have about three minutes on the pitch as we are already into added time.
2149: Martin Petrov should really make it 4-1 to City, cutting in from the left before eventually firing over. There are big spaces in the West Ham defence now - they are still pushing forward.
2148: A great chance for Roque Santa Cruz to get off the mark for City... Martin Petrov breaks down the left and swings in a cross towards the striker, who tries to guide it in at the near post. The angle is a bit tight, however, and the ball flies wide.
2146: Another set-piece by Alessandro Diamanti, another chance for Carlton Cole, who rises unopposed before heading over. Martin O'Neill, manager of City's next opponents Aston Villa, will probably be taking note of the home side's vulnerability in those situations. I would be.
2143: As I said earlier, Alessandro Diamanti's set-pieces have been excellent tonight. His efforts in open play have not been quite so successful - his latest effort, a shot on the run from 30 yards out, bends towards the travelling West Ham fans, not Shay Given's goal.
2140: Here he comes at last. Manchester City bring on £18m striker Roque Santa Cruz for his debut, replacing Shaun Wright-Phillips. The Paraguayan gets a rousing reception from the home fans, and he has got 10 minutes or so to try to cap his first appearance with a goal.
From Josh in Fintry, via text on 81111: "Re 2100. Why are the defences in the premiership always so dreadful? Or is it the attacks that are so good? No, its the dire defending!"
2139: A lot more for Robert Green to do here - Martin Petrov tees up Gareth Barry and Green has to leap to tip over his lobbed shot.
2138: Craig Bellamy has been impressive against his former club tonight but his latest effort on goal was less so. He cuts in from the left before curling a 30-yard shot a mile over - West Ham goalkeeper Robert Green was never going to be tested from there.
2136: Roque Santa Cruz has been warming up for Manchester City since the start of the second half but there is still no sign of him being brought on for his Manchester City debut. He's got 15 minutes left for Mark Hughes to change his mind.
2134: There have been a few testing free-kicks bent into the box by Alessandro Diamanti for West Ham tonight - Carlton Cole's goal came from one - and another set-piece brings the home defence more problems before they clear. From the resulting corner, James Tomkins rises unopposed at the far post but sends his header back across, rather than towards, goal.
2131: West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola makes a double substitution to try to change this game around. Junior Stanislas and Zavon Hines are on, Luis Jimenez and Julien Faubert are off.
2129: Not for the first time this season, City are glad to have Shay Given in goal. After Alessandro Diamanti sees his shot deflected wide, he picks up the ball from the resulting corner and brings an instinctive two-handed save from Given with a swerving effort from the right-hand edge of the box. The Hammers are not out of this one yet.
2127: Former Manchester City defender Danny Mills on BBC Radio 5 live: "City are extremely comfortable at the moment and West Ham have to be careful that they are not caught on the break. There could be more goals here."
2125: West Ham are still being invited forward, with Scott Parker able to march towards the edge of the area after picking up the ball inside the centre-circle before Carlton Cole plays in Luis Jimenez, who barely tests Shay Given with a weak shot.
2123: Another City counter-attack, another decent chance. This time, Shaun Wright-Phillips crosses from the right into the path of Craig Bellamy, who sees his wild volley fly over.
More terrible marking from West Ham as Craig Bellamy bends the free-kick into the box. Three Manchester City players are queuing up unopposed at the far post and it is Carlos Tevez who gets the decisive touch, heading the ball past Robert Green and into the opposite corner of the net. Game over?
2121: GOALFLASH Manchester City 3-1 West Ham (Tevez)
2121: City's best hope of extending their lead seems to be on the counter-attack at the moment - the pace of Craig Bellamy and Martin Petrov means they are a constant threat. This is better from the home side and they win another free-kick in a dangerous position when Julien Faubert up-ends Gareth Barry.
2118: Former Manchester City defender Danny Mills on BBC Radio 5 live: " The game has fizzled out a little bit - both teams, and both sets of fans, seem to be waiting for something to happen."
From MC Hammer, via text on 81111: "West Ham should bring Zavon Hines on and really give it a go, we won't get anything at this rate and its stupid to worry about goal difference at this stage."
2113: Almost a disaster for Wayne Bridge, who plays a woefully short backpass to Shay Given and is grateful to see his goalkeeper reach the ball before Carlton Cole and clear into touch. Manchester City boss Mark Hughes is absolutely furious - his side have not got going at all since the restart.
2112: More pressure by West Ham and it needs a decent punch by Shay Given to eventually clear an Alessandro Diamante free-kick before Luis Jimenez sees a shot blocked by Joleon Lescott.
2111: It's settled down a tad, and West Ham are having the better of things - putting a couple of dangerous balls into the City box. Former City manager Sven-Goran Eriksson, now director of football at Notts County is also at Eastlands tonight - looking for potential loan signings, no doubt.
2107: It's all a bit scrappy at the moment. Shaun Wright-Phillips is seeing plenty of the ball and giving most of it away, while Carlton Cole loses out to Kolo Toure in the City area as they tussle for a loose ball.
2105: City get the second half under way.
From LFCfan128 on 606:
"What's happened to the defending in the Premier League this season?! We are seeing a lot of goals in every game, no more boring draws!"
I'm not so sure Premier League defending has ever been that good - we aren't exactly renowned for it are we? Wide open games are what English football is all about, and it's good to see things are the same this season.
2100: A reminder that West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola has the pace and guile of Zavon Hines waiting on the bench. I'm sure it won't be long before we see him introduced. As for City, Roque Santa Cruz will be licking his lips at the prospect of getting on for his debut tonight, especially with the number of dangerous balls flashing into the visitors' penalty area.
From Samuel King on Twitter:
"England coach Fabio Capello is a lucky man. Carlton Cole, Gabriel Agbonlahor, Jermain Defoe, Wayne Rooney, Darren Bent and Peter Crouch. Surely we can't bring them all to South Africa?"
From myerla on 606:
"Re 2044. It was a really poor decision there was no foul on Joleon Lescott, it was the linesman who flagged it."
2052: It's fair to say that, having seen it again, Carlton Cole's goal for West Ham was far more deliberate than it looked at first glance. It was actually a tidy little touch that took Radoslav Kovac's shot into the net which deserves far more credit than I gave it. No luck - all skill.
2049: So, Manchester City are ahead at the break, and they have created enough chances to be out of sight by now, but West Ham could still have been level thanks to some less than solid defending by the home side. All to play for in the second half then...
2049: HALF-TIME Manchester City 2-1 West Ham
From Scott, via text on 81111: "West Ham need to be able to play the same defence week after week or else we will keep conceding to many goals and relegation will be inevitable."
2046: More for Robert Green to do - this time City try for a spectacular strike when Shaun Wright-Phillips chips a pass to Martin Petrov out on the left, but his fierce volley flies straight at the Hammers goalkeeper (again).
2045: City may not be convincing defensively, but they don't half look the real deal coming forward. Pablo Zabaleta slides to cross for Craig Bellamy but his header is straight at Robert Green.
2044: Well, West Ham have the ball in the net but it has been ruled out. It seemed harsh to penalise Carlton Cole for a foul on Joleon Lescott but referee Chris Foy saw an offence when the pair tangled. After the whistle had gone, Cole crossed from the right and Scott Parker rolled the ball home... the City defence had stopped by then though.
2042: West Ham are pressing on the edge of the City area but the home side quickly turn defence into attack and, after a swift break, Carlos Tevez runs clear only to be denied by Robert Green's legs. From the resulting corner, Joleon Lescott heads wide - City are still making chances, and they are continuing to waste them.
2039: A moment of concern for Manchester City boss Mark Hughes as Martin Petrov goes down with a knee injury - a similar problem kept the Bulgarian out for most of last season - but he is soon back on his feet.
2037: City are back on top now, and look far more composed than they did a few minutes ago. It's amazing what scoring a goal does to a team, isn't it? Stoke boss Tony Pulis and Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill are watching from the stands and seem to be enjoying themselves. Villa play City next Monday by the way.
2035: Former Manchester City defender Danny Mills on BBC Radio 5 live: "This is a crucial period for West Ham now - they have been fortunate to level once but the priority for them now is not to concede another and get to half-time with the score at 2-1."
City win a free-kick in a dangerous position on the edge of the box when Luis Jimenez shoves Nigel de Jong. Carlos Tevez and Martin Petrov both stand over the ball and it is the Bulgarian who fires in a bullet of a shot that flies past the wall and into the bottom right-hand corner of Robert Green's net.
2032: GOALFLASH Manchester City 2-1 West Ham (Petrov)
2030: Unsurprisingly, that goal has lifted West Ham - they look a lot more confident on the ball now and seem to have more of a spring in their step. City are on the back foot and it takes a good save from Shay Given to keep out a header by Carlton Cole following a deep cross from the right.
From kentbluetone on 606:
"Where did that come from? City need to get that defence organised - they were all going for the same ball."
It is totally against the run of play, but West Ham are level. Alessandro Diamanti's free-kick is cleared as far as Radoslav Kovac, who fires in a shot from the edge of the area that Carlton Cole cleverly turns in.
2025: GOALFLASH Manchester City 1-1 West Ham (Cole)
2024: West Ham are enjoying their first decent spell of possession but they are not gaining much ground - they are getting bogged down in midfield, and City are defending well at the moment.
2022: Former Manchester City defender Danny Mills on BBC Radio 5 live: "West Ham need someone to get hold of this game otherwise they are going to continue to struggle. City are keeping the pressure on and at the moment it is men against boys - they are having it all their own way."
2019: City are back on the attack and this time it is Martin Petrov who slams in a low shot that Robert Green does well to get down to and keep out.
2017: A first shot on goal by West Ham, and it has taken 15 minutes. Mark Noble's 30-yard shot hits a defender and loops away from Shay Given, but he has plenty of time to readjust to catch it.
2016: Another opportunity for Carlos Tevez, when Wayne Bridge's deflected cross from the left finds its way to him in front of goal. But he lashes at the ball, under pressure, and his shot flies over. Chance gone.
2015: City still enjoying all the possession at Eastlands. West Ham are chasing shadows at the moment.
2012: Crikey. City, and Carlos Tevez, come within an inch or two of a second goal. Craig Bellamy feeds Gareth Barry when a corner isn't cleared and the ball breaks to the Argentine striker, who turns and slams the ball a whisker wide from about 10 yards out. West Ham need to tighten up, and quickly.
2010: West Ham try to respond immediately when Alessandro Diamanti breaks down the right-flank but a promising move comes to nothing. At the other end, Carlos Tevez is continuing to be a right nuisance to the visitors' defence, chasing every loose ball.
A long clearance by Shay Given is nodded on by Gareth Barry down the left and Martin Petrov gallops unopposed into the box before squaring for an unmarked Carlos Tevez to fire into the roof of the net from the edge of the six-yard box. A simple goal for City - but dreadful defending by West Ham. Tevez, by the way, goes over to the Hammers fans and apologises for scoring. I guess that's why they don't boo him.
2007: GOALFLASH Manchester City 1-0 West Ham (Tevez)
2007: Well, the travelling West Ham fans are not booing Carlos Tevez, but Craig Bellamy seems to be getting a bit of stick against his old club.
2006: Former Manchester City defender Danny Mills on BBC Radio 5 live: "City are closing West Ham down straight away in the opening minutes. They are not giving them any time on the ball."
2004: Lots of misplaced passes in the opening couple of minutes. Neither side seems to want to keep the ball at the moment, let alone do anything constructive with it.
2002: After a nice friendly hug from opposing managers (and firm friends) Mark Hughes and Gianfranco Zola, West Ham get us under way at Eastlands.
From anonymous Manchester City fan, via text on 81111: "I think Martin Petrov adds a much-missed balance to our team. Two sitting midfielders (with Gareth Barry having more licence to roam perhaps) and two old fashioned wingers. Shame neither of City's strikers are that big..."
1956: Less than five minutes to go until kick-off at Eastlands. Both sets of players are in the tunnel, West Ham are very animated: all smiles and back-slaps. City's players are deadly serious.
From Alex, a Happy Hammer, via text on 81111: "Re Aaron Jonathan Wood on Twitter. Carlton Cole has played well for England every time he has been given a chance. He also just won the BBC goal of the month. Definitely in the top five of best English strikers."
1950: Manchester City midfielder Stephen Ireland is still laid low with a stomach bug by the way - and apparently a few of the club's backroom staff are also suffering. Gareth Barry was a doubt for the same reason last week, but he has shaken off the illness and is able to play.
From paolodibuckio on 606:
"A lot has been made about West Ham's current form, in our defence we've only played two home games this season and both have been against top five clubs namely Tottenham and Liverpool. Injuries seem to be mounting already, though, and our lack of fitness late on has been a problem."
1944: Whatever happens tonight, it's not been a good day for West Ham, who have been hit by four Football Association charges relating to
the crowd trouble at their Carling Cup match with Millwall last month.
The Hammers are expected to contest the charges. Millwall, who must answer three charges from the same game, say they are "shocked and disappointed."
From Aaron Jonathan Wood on Twitter:
"Carlton Cole's England place is under threat from Gabriel Agbonlahor and Darren Bent. I can't see him going to South Africa. 3-1 Man City tonight (with Joleon Lescott scoring first)."
1935: A bit more team news from Eastlands. Micah Richards is only on the bench tonight for City despite recovering from a shoulder injury - Pablo Zabaleta continues at right-back. And Guillermo Franco has to wait a little longer for his West Ham debut. The Argentina-born Mexico international striker is yet to feature for the Hammers since signing for them earlier this month.
From Russ, West Ham fan on the way to Eastlands, via text on 81111: "A terrible day at the office and now no Zavon Hines starting. I hate to say it, but I can feel a thumping coming on."
1928: West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola on Manchester City manager Mark Hughes, his friend and former Chelsea team-mate: "Both of us are under pressure for different reasons. He knows with the budget and the team he has got he has to produce results. But I have to produce solutions and that is a pressure as well. I am coping with the job and the situation is making me more creative, more responsible. It is a good challenge. A positive pressure."
From Paul in Staverton, via text on 81111: "City will be too much for the Hammers. 3-1 I reckon."
1924: TEAMS Manchester City v West Ham Man City: Given, Zabaleta, Toure, Lescott, Bridge, Wright-Phillips, De Jong, Barry, Petrov, Tevez, Bellamy. Subs: Taylor, Richards, Johnson, Santa Cruz, Garrido, Sylvinho, Weiss. West Ham: Green, Faubert, Da Costa, Tomkins, Ilunga, Diamanti, Kovac, Parker, Noble, Jimenez, Cole. Subs: Kurucz, Spector, Nouble, Payne, Hines, N'Gala, Stanislas.
1920: I'd like to hear more of your thoughts on tonight's game too, of course. You can use
text via 81111 or even
Tweet me on Twitter.
1917: Manchester City boss Mark Hughes on former West Ham striker Craig Bellamy, who will face his old club despite fears over his suspect knees: "We will make sure he is fit and hopefully he will play as well as he has done of late, because he has been outstanding. "He really looks forward to playing against his old clubs, but he had a great time at West Ham and has a lot of respect for their manager Gianfranco Zola and everyone there."
1915: TEAM NEWS Manchester City v West Ham Manchester City make one change to the team that beat Fulham in the Carling Cup last week, with Martin Petrov coming in for Stephen Ireland, who is ill. Following his side's defeat by Bolton in the same competition, West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola brings in Luis Jimenez, Julien Faubert and Carlton Cole for Zavon Hines, Kieron Dyer and Jonathan Spector.
1910: West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola on his side's poor run of form: "We know we are not getting the points we should but we are playing well and improving. I'm the first to say that points-wise we are not doing great, but I am not working just on three points. I am working on a project. I see the big picture. It is just a matter of time before we start picking up points with consistency."
1907: Some good news for City fans ahead of kick-off is the return to fitness of £18m striker Roque Santa Cruz, who had been sidelined by knee surgery that took place soon after he arrived from Blackburn in June. The Paraguayan target-man is on the bench against the Hammers.
1903: To be fair to West Ham, it is so tight down the bottom that a win would elevate them to 13th place, and they would also still have a game in hand on many of the sides around them. They also pushed an in-form Liverpool team all the way in their last league match. City? Well, they have also played only five games so far, and a win by three goals or more tonight would lift them back into fourth spot.
1900 BST: Happy Hammers? Hardly. Just one point from their last four games has left Gianfranco Zola's side in the Premier League's bottom three. Can they end their slump in form against Manchester City tonight? We're about to find out...
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