Hammers and City in Goalless draw
Written By: Robert Halter
Reigning Premier League champions Manchester City started their new campaign unbeaten prior to an early evening meeting with West Ham United at the Boleyn Ground beginning of November but the Citizens were looking for their first clean sheet away from home in all competitions during this season. Third placed City faced a Hammers side sitting ninth in the table as the Blues Carlos Tevez made an emotional return to face his former club. A foul by Yaya Toure on Andy Carroll gave Mark Noble the chance to float in a free kick after three minutes but an expert finish by Irons captain Kevin Nolan was ruled out for offside. Jussi Jaaskelainen had his work cut out on nine minutes but the Hammers keeper reacted well to produce a strong block to divert a crisp strike from Samir Nasri on the edge of the box. Three minutes later, the claret and blue army retaliated as Mohamed Diame riffled the ball over after a neat lay off from Matt Jarvis. On seventeen minutes a long ball over by Noble found Jarvis on the left wing and from his well judged cross, Yossi Benayoun cracked an effort against the crossbar as Joe Hart covered the shot in the City goal. Within four minutes, the Hammers went close again as Benayoun touched the ball to Carroll, who drilled his shot narrowly wide of the right post. Mario Balotelli broke clear from a Tevez free kick in the thirty second minute but ballooned the ball over the upright from close range, after a foul on Yaya Toure by Diame. Four minutes into the second half, a Tevez strike in the area was scrambled away by Jaaskelainen as City tried to exploit the Hammers backline. In the fifty second minute, a Tevez corner on the left side fell out the reach of Jaaskelainen but Joey O’ Brien cleared the ball behind to avert the danger. An audacious attempt at goal by Carroll nearly paid dividends as his over head kick deflected off Gael Clichy and narrowly wide, after George McCartney had played the ball in after fifty nine minutes of play. On seventy nine minutes a quickly taken free kick by Yaya Toure opened up the Hammers defence as Sergio Aguero pounced to fire a shot against Jaaskelainen following Gary O’ Neill’s challenge on Nasri being penalised. But the lack of fireworks on the pitch two days before Guy Fawkes night left both teams without a goal and having to settle for a point apiece.