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Game played on 23 Jan 2016

23 Jan 2016
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West Ham 2-2 Manchester City

Premier League    2015-16Match review
Upton Park   34,977
13Adrian del Castillo    
2Winston Reid    
3Aaron Cresswell    
12Carl Jenkinson    
19James Collins    
4Alex Song    
8Cheikhou Kouyate    
16Mark Noble   
11Enner Valencia 2  
27Dimitri Payet    
30Michail Antonio    
22Sam ByramSubed #12  
20Victor MosesSubed #30   
26Nikica JelavicSubed #11   
 PosTable as at 23 Jan 2016PlWHDHLHFHAHWADALAFAAAPts
1Leicester City236411913741231347
2Manchester City239123312443121144
4Tottenham Hotspur23642229551191042
5Manchester United23542125534161637
6West Ham United234521814543181436
9Stoke City235241310444111533
11Crystal Palace234261315524111231
13West Bromwich Albion23435141734481328
15AFC Bournemouth233441416336132225
16Norwich City234341615228122823
17Swansea City22444121613681422
18Newcastle United23354191821862321
20Aston Villa23146814138102413
match review copied from www.theguardian.com

Sergio Agüero rides to Manchester City’s rescue twice in West Ham draw
Sachin Nakrani at Upton Park
Date Published Saturday 23 January 2016 19.57 GMT

If these are indeed the final few months of Manuel Pellegrini’s tenure as Manchester City manager then he might as well enjoy them and, in particular, being paid to watch Sergio Agüero. For sure, he took delight in seeing the Argentina striker show his clinical brilliance here. Agüero scored either side of half-time, with his second goal rescuing a draw for his team that they hardly deserved.

The visitors were sluggish in attack and sloppy in defence and looked to be heading for another away defeat when Enner Valencia scored himself for a second time on 56 minutes. The home supporters were in raucous voice, sensing their side were heading for a victory based on another show of vibrancy and determination at this venue, but with time running out Agüero struck in typically expert fashion, coolly lifting the ball over Adrián to secure his 15th goal of the season as well as a point for City that moves them ahead of Arsenal into second place before the Gunners’ match against Chelsea on Sunday afternoon.

City deserve credit for their refusal to roll over and die, coming back as they did twice from going behind, with Agüero cancelling out Valencia’s opening goal after just 53 seconds via a ninth-minute penalty. But a team of their quality and ambitions should not be in those positions in the first place and there remains the feeling that while they are in the thick of the title race, City will once again fall short. Without doubt Arsenal and Leicester, who returned to the summit after their 3-0 victory over Stoke, are playing better than Pellegrini’s men.

Not that the Chilean saw it that way after this match, claiming that with 15 matches to go (16 in Arsenal’s case) it is impossible to make any judgments about who will be crowned champions and that this match showed his team have what it takes to ultimately prevail. “It is important when you play away against a very good team like West Ham to try to win the three points, but if you cannot do that it is important not to lose, and that is what we have done” said the City manager. “We have added points and had options in the end to even win it.”

Pellegrini went on to insist his side are not overly reliant on Agüero yet there could no denying that without the 27-year-old City would have lost for a fourth time on the road. As has often been the case away from the Etihad Stadium, the visitors lacked zip in and out of possession, with Yaya Touré once again sleepwalking through proceedings, at no point more so then when Cheikhou Kouyaté drove past him with the ease of a man bypassing a piece of litter on the street before delivering the cross from which Valencia swept a close-range shot past Joe Hart to open the scoring.

Others in dark blue were also off the pace, most notably the wide players, Kevin De Bruyne and Jesús Navas, while at the back there was another reminder of just how clueless City can be without Vincent Kompany. For instance, there is no way the injured captain would have allowed Michail Antonio’s throw-in to sail past him and into the path of the lurking Valencia in the manner Nicolás Otamendi did in the build-up to West Ham’s second goal. “We were not concentrating” Pellegrini said, yet the more telling reaction came from Hart, who immediately after seeing the ball go past him berated Otamendi for being so lacklustre.

The goal was also West Ham’s reward for taking the game to their opponents. The hosts pressed with intensity, while their passing and movement showed purpose and intelligence. Valencia naturally caught the eye, as once again did Dimitri Payet, who caused City constant problems with his vision and skill and came close to giving West Ham a 2-1 lead at half-time with a curling free-kick on 33 minutes that forced Hart into a high, reflex save.

Valencia did nudge West Ham back in front shortly after the break but the individual contribution that stood out most came from Agüero. The Argentinian was constantly on the move, constantly looking to get behind the opposition defence, and having hit the post with a stunning one-touch volley on seven minutes he scored shortly after from a penalty he won himself, albeit Carl Jenkinson appeared to make only minimal contact with the forward as he surged into the area.

And then with nine minutes remaining Agüero was on hand to pounce again after Aaron Cresswell inadvertently diverted Kelechi Iheanacho’s driving run into his path. The fact he barely celebrated said it all – this was simply another day at the office for one of Europe’s finest finishers.

West Ham’s sense of deflation was only compounded by the sight of Kouyaté’s stoppage-time header rattling the bar but they should take a huge amount of encouragement from this match. Slaven Bilic certainly did, describing himself as “proud” of his team’s performance.

For City, there remains more questions than answers. Thankfully for them, and fitness permitting, they have Agüero to call upon.

West Ham: (4-3-3): Adrian 7; Jenkinson, 4, (Byram 12, 6) Collins, 7, Reid, 6.5 Creswell, 7; Noble, 7.5 Song 6.5, Kouyate 8; Antonio 7.5, (Moses 65, 6), Valenica 8.5, (Jelavic 86) Payet, 9
Subs not used: Randolph, Oxford, Ogbonna, Obiang
Goals: Valencia 1, 56
Booked: Noble, Byram
Manchester City City (4-2-3-1): Hart 8.5; Sagna, 5 Otamendi, 4 Demichelis, 4 Clichy 5; Yaya 4, Delph 6 (Iheanacho 75, 7 ); Navas 5.5, Silva 5.5,(Fernando 83) De Bruyne 6 (Sterling 67, 5.5); Aguero, 8
Subs not used: Caballero, Fernandinho, Tasende, Zabaleta
Goals: Aguero 9 (pen), 81
Booked: Demichelis. Toure, Fernando
MOM: Payet
Ref: Craig Pawson 5.5

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much respect to John Northcutt, Roy Shoesmith, Jack Helliar, John Helliar, Tony Hogg, Tony Brown, Fred Loveday, Andrew Loveday, Steve Bacon, Steve Marsh and all past/current West Ham players and supporters