Film Focus: Reviewing Manchester City's Clobbering of West Ham at the Etihad

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJanuary 9, 2014

There is no reason to sugarcoat what happened at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday night, as we all witnessed a 6-0 drubbing by Manchester City against a West Ham side that look pretty pathetic at the moment. 

This wasn't a slow, methodical beatdown of the Hammers by City, it was a game that got out of hand fast thanks to the high-powered attack of the Citizens and plenty of defensive lapses by Sam Allardyce's men. 

To further prove the quick punches thrown early and often by City at their home fortress, here is a look at the key moments from their victory in this edition of film focus. 


West Ham's Defensive Breakdown Began Before First Goal

While Alvaro Negredo did strike quite early for the Citizens in the 12th minute to break open the floodgates, there were signs in the third minute that the Hammers would have plenty of difficulty on Wednesday night. 

In the third minute, as play was just starting to ramp up at the Ethiad, Pablo Zabaleta crept forward from his right-back position to get a shot on goal. 

By failing to make any play on the ball, West Ham left-back Joey O'Brien gave Zabaleta a clear lane to fire away at Hammers keeper Adrian, who prevented the result from becoming an even bigger blowout throughout the game. 

Once Zabaleta received the ball, the West Ham defense was left shell-shocked, and it was that moment in the match that gave us a sign of things to come. 


The Brilliance of the First Goal

Few goals will be scored for the rest of the season that will be as good as the first goal netted by the Citizens in the 12th minute of the Capital One Cup semifinal first leg clash. 

Out of almost nothing, Yaya Toure perfectly delivered Negredo with a pass that enabled the Spanish forward to score his first of three goals. 

Negredo timed his run perfectly, and as he split through two West Ham defenders, he volleyed home the first of what would be six strikes for the Citizens.

The opening goal would not be the last time during the match where West Ham were caught napping, and it would not be the last time that Toure showed his true class.


Yaya's Bursting Run Forward 

By the time Toure was striking the ball on the shot that turned into the third City goal, five Hammers players in their away strip—that was as hideous as their play—were in pursuit of the Ivorian. 

Toure took off from around midfield, and by the time his run was over, he was celebrating with his teammates after beating Adrian for the final goal of the first half. 

Not only did Toure look impressive on the two goals he was a part of in the first half, he was a menace in midfield for every one of the 66 minutes he was on the pitch. 

This tweet from B/R's Jerrad Peters, courtesy of stats from WhoScored, explains just how dominant Yaya was throughout the first two-thirds of the match: 


West Ham's New Signing Cowers in Fear 

To attempt to shore up their horrendous back four, West Ham enlisted the services of defender Roger Johnson, who just so happens to be a well-documented bearer of relegation, when the January transfer window opened. 

Johnson did nothing to help his cause on the Toure goal, as he continued to backpedal as the Ivorian raced forward. 

The centre-back showed nothing but fear as the towering Toure made a mockery of the porous West Ham defense. 

If Johnson wants to play any part in saving West Ham from what could become a disappointing relegation campaign, he must grow a pair and take on opposing attackers with a confidence that he lacked on Wednesday night.


Dzeko and Negredo Forming Formidable Partnership

Negredo and strike partner Edin Dzeko ended the match with a spectacular combined five goals and two assists. 

The goal that perfectly represented the duo's developing on-pitch relationship was the second of the game that saw the Bosnian forward play the role of provider for Negredo. 

Negredo displayed some excellent hustle on the play as well, as his first touch went further than expected. But instead of giving up on the attack, the Spaniard outran a pair of defenders and coolly hit the ball past Adrian while sliding to the ground. 

While it is important to take their Wednesday performance into perspective because of the form of West Ham, it is also imperative to note that the pair are clearly comfortable playing alongside one another. 

The success of the Dzeko-Negredo pairing is a good sign for manager Manuel Pellegrini, who does not have to search far and wide now for a player to replace the production of the injured Sergio Aguero. 


Even the Full-Backs Get in on the Fun 

One thing that sticks out when watching Manchester City play is the offensive activity of their full-backs. 

It is true that on some occasions, Pellegrini does not need his full-backs to march forward because of the wealth of attacking talent in the starting 11, but when the likes of Zabaleta and Gael Clichy make runs into the attacking half, they are filled with quality.

We saw early in the match how Zabaleta exploited the West Ham defense, and Clichy did the same thing in the buildup to the fifth goal of the match. 

The 60th-minute strike was scored by Dzeko, but it was a well placed pass from a surging Clichy that set up the goal itself. 

As the ball was played toward the middle of the pitch, Clichy continued his run on the left flank as the defenders converged on David Silva. 

Once the defenders took their eyes off Clichy for a split second, the Frenchman took advantage of it and found a yard of space to cross the ball into the sliding Dzeko to complete a clinical buildup. 


Follow me on Twitter, @JTansey90. 


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