West Ham United vs. Manchester City  0 - 0

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Premier League: West Ham 0 Manchester City 0

3 November 2012 20:39

West Ham United held a wasteful Manchester City to a 0-0 draw in the English Premier League on Saturday.

Sam Allardyce's men had an early Kevin Nolan strike wrongly disallowed for offside at Upton Park, before Mario Balotelli wasted a couple of golden chances for the visitors late in the half.

City pressed and probed in the West Ham half for large periods of the match and had the better chances, but did not have the cutting edge to find the back of the net.

Roberto Mancini's men sit third despite being undefeated, two points adrift of league-leading rivals Manchester United.

West Ham thought they had taken the lead in the fourth minute but Nolan's volley was wrongly ruled out for offside after replays showed Edin Dzeko played the attacking midfielder onside.

The first quarter of the match was open with Dzeko and Mohammed Diame squandering chances to take the lead.

Yossi Benayoun hit the crossbar and Andy Carroll's strike whistled past the post as the hosts stepped up the pressure midway through the half.

It was the visitors who gained the ascendancy towards the end of the half.

Balotelli wasted City's best chance of the half when he volleyed Carlos Tevez's free-kick over the bar from six yards.

The Italian again came close late on in the half with an overhead volley but his miss meant the sides went in level at the break.

Manchester City started the second period brightly – Tevez tested Jussi Jaaskelainen within five minutes of the restart with a shot on the turn.

West Ham were unable to escape their own half as Mancini's men cranked up the pressure.

Nolan nodded Benayoun's early cross inches wide of the post on the hour-mark as Allardyce's side edged back into the game.

The chance sparked a spell of good possession for West Ham, which was almost punctuated with an over-head kick from Carroll which was deflected for a corner.

Gareth Barry missed a golden chance in the 67th minute when he collected Tevez's cross but directed the finish wide of the post a couple of yards from goal.

City continued to pile on the pressure but it was West Ham who came close to taking the lead on the break, but Carroll could not finish after fine work from Matt Jarvis.

Late substitute Sergio Aguero had a couple of late efforts on goal but West Ham held on quite comfortably to earn a point against the champions.

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Tevez keen to visit ´birthplace´

3 November 2012 11:26

Carlos Tevez returns to the club he calls his 'birthplace' on Saturday when Manchester City take on West Ham at Upton Park.

Tevez started his career in English football with West Ham after arriving with Javier Mascherano from Brazilian side Corinthians in 2006, before moving on to Manchester United and later their cross-town rivals City.

"I have very good memories (of West Ham) because it was my first club in Europe. I'm very happy to be returning to the club that (you) could say was my birthplace (in English football)," the Argentina international told City's official website.

After a disappointing run of form in Europe, City could be out of the Champions League by as early as this week - but Tevez sees last weekend's 1-0 victory at home to Swansea as a turning point for the defending Premier League champions.

"After playing very badly at Ajax we had to wake up, play better and win, which was the most important thing," he said.

Tevez has plenty of competition for a starting spot up front with 'super-sub' Edin Dzeko joining Mario Balotelli and Sergio Aguero in the queue for striking starts, and the Bosnian has reaffirmed his commitment to City.

"It's my obsession to win the title again with City. Roberto Mancini is the boss and I accept his orders. He's always talking to us and is satisfied with my work," Dzeko told The Sun.

"Obviously it's frustrating to be on the bench but that's how it is in English football. The season is long and I will get chances, so I need to be ready.

"Nobody promised me a place in a title-winning side. I was very happy with my goals at West Brom and look forward to many more.

"This season has been good and bad. I've scored some important goals by it is complicated with so many big names to choose from."

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Zabaleta primed for City return

1 November 2012 14:44

Manchester City defender Pablo Zabaleta has confirmed he is fit and ready to be involved in the match at West Ham United on Saturday.

Manager Roberto Mancini faced a defensive injury crisis ahead of the game at Upton Park, with Micah Richards, Maicon and Aleksandar Kolarov all confined to the treatment table, so the return of Argentina international Kolarov will serve as a timely boost for the club's preparations.

"I feel good, I've been training with the team and I think I should be fine to play on Saturday," Zabaleta told the club's official website.

"We have some problems in defence at the moment. We've had three full backs injured over the past few months, so it is great to be back with the team."

After recovering from hamstring problem, Zabaleta expressed his sympathy for team-mate Richards, who has been ruled out for up to four months with a meniscus tear in his right knee.

"It's very disappointing for Micah," he said.

"He's been injured from the start of the season, then he came back and was playing well, but now he has this knee injury.

"This is a time when he has to be extra strong. Obviously it is difficult physically, but also mentally it is very tough when you are injured, you have to stay very strong."

When it comes to the team's title chances, Zabaleta is confident City can defend their Premier League crown this season, despite strong competition from the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United.

"It was important to win at the weekend against Swansea and to get three points," he said.

"We are only in November, I think it is too early to say who is going to win the league or to say what teams will fight for the title.

"Chelsea are doing well, so are Manchester United as well as Tottenham and ourselves, but there is a long way to go yet and everything is very tight at the top of the table.

"That is why we have to work very hard. There is a good feeling among the team about defending the title."

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Premier League preview: West Ham v Manchester City

1 November 2012 14:30

West Ham United can expect a true test of their Premier League credentials in Saturday's clash with Manchester City at Upton Park.

Sam Allardyce's side have made a respectable start in their return to the top flight with four wins and two draws from their opening nine games.

Having claimed victories over the likes of Aston Villa, Fulham and Southampton, West Ham will undoubtedly face their toughest challenge yet against the champions.

"When you look at the fixtures we've got coming now, we've got a group that if you give anything other than your very best it is going to be a problem to get a result and even your best might not be enough," Allardyce told the West Ham website.

"We had a very good performance against Arsenal and still got beaten 3-1 and now the big boys are coming round on a regular basis, we'll have to see if we can hit top form and see if we can get a result out of Saturday's game."

City, who have beaten Swansea City, West Bromwich Albion, Sunderland and Fulham in their past four matches, are third on the table, one point behind leaders Chelsea.

While City are without defender Micah Richards, who will miss up to four months following knee surgery this week, manager Roberto Mancini has no shortage of options to replace him.

Pablo Zabaleta shapes as the most likely option in his return from a hamstring injury, while Maicon and Kolo Toure can also be called upon if needed.

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Hammers keeper eyes improvement

30 October 2012 16:08

Jussi Jaaskelainen believes West Ham will learn from their mistakes against Wigan and bounce back against Manchester City on Saturday.

The Finland international goalkeeper feels the Hammers did not produce the performance that the fans deserved after travelling up to Lancashire last weekend.

But he added that the system the team have been playing so far this season has been effective and their second-half performance deserves credit.

"We did not play well as individuals or as a team and we did not cope with the counter-attacking way in which Wigan played, so it is very disappointing," Jaaskelainen told the club’s official website.

"The level of performance we have had this season has been very good and when we went system-against-system in the second half we woke up a bit and played a lot better, but it was too late."

And, even though the Hammers have fallen behind in a number of games this season, Jaaskelainen thinks that the London outfit can spring a surprise on Manchester City even if they concede first.

"Last week against Southampton it was a similar kind of game," he said.

"We did not turn up in the first half but we got two early goals after half-time and it gave us that little lift to go on and win the game."

The former Bolton man spoke of his admiration for Sam Allardyce, and insisted West Ham will do well this season if they stick to their manager's playing style.

"When I came here I knew Big Sam was a great manager and I knew he would expect me to play well if he gave me the opportunity to play," Jaaskelainen said.

"Working with Martyn Margetson is also going very well so hopefully I can keep working hard and the results will be better than Saturday."

Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 38 +43 89
2 38 +32 78
3 38 +36 75
4 38 +35 73
5 38 +20 72
6 38 +15 63
7 38 +28 61
8 38 -4 49
9 38 -4 46
10 38 -8 46
11 38 -17 44
12 38 -10 43
13 38 -11 42
14 38 -11 41
15 38 -22 41
16 38 -23 41
17 38 -13 39
18 38 -26 36
19 38 -30 28
20 38 -30 25