City’s continued road struggles we evident once again in the first half when West Ham controlled possession and had the bulk of chances. Robinho had a few opportunities early, but what was very distressing was the amount of bad giveaways committed by normally reliable Nigel DeJong and Pablo Zabelleta. Micah Richards suffered a knock and had to come off early.
Collison’s goal was the direct result of two center backs mispositioned themselves and Wayne Bridge not closing down the attacker after a deflection. The match commentator believed Shay Given should have done better and perhaps that is true. But it’s tough to make one great save after another when your defenders are constantly in the wrong places. Richards being off the pitch made no difference in this case: his positioning has consistently been poor away from Eastlands all season.
Felipe Caicedo quickly could have evened the scoreline but missed an opportunity from a relatively tight angle.
But back to Dunne and Richards. The efforts of these two, along with the departed Sylvain Distin probably prevented City from being relegated two years ago and last season, Dunne was again City’s top footballer, with Richards a close second.
But this season both have been adrift. Dunne seems to be regressing while Richards is simply disinterested, and probably should be sold this summer while his potential transfer fee is still high. Playing Nedum Onuoha outside is not a great option either, but when pushed inside today he didn’t defend well either. City had a late opportunity to even the scoreline after a silly clumsy challenge by Scott Parker on Robinho resulted in a City free kick just outside the area. Elano’s outstanding goal bound free kick was deflected by a West Ham defender for a corner.
Of greater concern Micah Richards, Craig Bellamy and Robinho were all injured. One little piece of consultation is that Elano looked sharper than he has appeared in a while after replacing Bellamy early in the second half. Robinho gave more today than he has in sometime away from home, but his injury on a reckless challenge by Parker which should have warrented a second yellow for the West Ham midfielder looked potentially grave, and the Brazilian did not return to the pitch afterwards.
The only truly positive storyline of the match this afternoon was the return after a lengthy injury spell of Valeri Bojinov. But otherwise, it was another dreadul away performance for a club whose players seem largely uninterested once they fall behind.
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