Manchester City ended a very pleasing campaign with a 1-1 draw at West Ham’s Upton Park. Shaun Wright Phillips equalised in the first half after Luis Boa Morte had put the home side ahead.
From both perspectives this match was hopefully going to allow the season to end on a high. With West Ham’s safety secured and Champions League just a grasp too far, neither side had anything vitally important to play for.
In retrospect the match was simply a curate’s egg. There were some pleasing things to focus on and there were certain areas where “room for improvement” would be ticked off. Mancini has had his future solidified by Khaldoon Al Mubarak this week, so his sole focus would be on retaining his top stars and putting his left gifted players in the shop window. Roque Santa Cruz, Sylvinho and Shaun Wright-Phillips were given rare starts, perhaps a chance to prove themselves or maybe giving other managers an opportunity to cast their beady eyes over the players who are most likely to exit Eastland’s.
With that out of the way, the small matter of a Premier League football match was to take place. Despite the equal score line, our superiority was evident, we certainly had the ability to cause the home side problems, but we lacked urgency and desire.
West ham duly capitalised on our lethargic approach when Boa Morte Latched on to a through ball that took both Zabaleta and Toure by surprise. From 10 yards out he slotted home for his first goal in 3 years.
City began to create more and more as the game took shape, Adam Johnson was injecting his speed and skill into the game- another reminder to Capello perhaps- as he tore the West Ham left side apart. His craft and awareness allowed several chances on goal until one was finally taken. The smallest guy in the Premiership, Wright-Phillips, somehow managed to leap clear of any opponent to nod home and press for a World Cup place of his own.
A gentleman’s agreement looked to take place from then on with West Ham allowing us attack with the favour being returned straight after. However, our attack looked more threatening and with some more hunger being shown we should and would have been ahead. Johnson was denied a stonewall penalty before he slipped Adebayor through who nonchalantly pushed his shot straight into the reach of Green.
The match continued at this tedious tempo, with a draw being the most likely outcome. More possession and pressure came our way but the wayward shooting of the team let us down and a point in truth was probably fair.
The message from the fans and players was probably bring on next season, we’ve had a strong campaign and despite missing out on the glitz and glamour of the Champions League, we have a brilliant chance of Europa League glory next season and an opportunity to improve on our highest Premier League finish.
Picked the ball out of the net early on and was hardly tested after. Heads back to Sunderland now, Very strong performance against Spurs but deserves better than 3rd keeper.
100% all game. Even with the season 90 minutes away Zab put in another gutsy determined performance.
Looked uneasy and problamatic at the back when called upon.
Had little to do in truth but what he did do, he showed awareness, strength and skill.
Final game for us. Thanks for the season, we didn’t have you at your best, but you will be remembered for the screamer at Glandford Park.
Another dazzling performance which created our only spark. Must be very close to his ticket for South Africa.
With Johnson he created something extra, scored a good goal and certainly in the second half he was our most creative player.
Had little to do but was still solid.
Tried the killer pass but the forwards weren’t really interested. Battled well with DJ.
Understandably off the pace, but he has probably played his last game for us. Doesn’t get into the dangerous areas.
Another stroll for Adebayor where he was certainly focusing on his holidays.
Stepped in defensively, but had little to do.
Came on to a raptuous applause but didn’t have long enough to make an impact. One good chance spurned.
Glad to get on the pitch but didn’t really have time.