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Manchester City vs. West Ham: Half-Time Update

Man City's Mario Balotelli


West Ham need a miracle in the second half to keep alive their chances of staying in the Premier League, as they currently trail 2-1 to Manchester City at Eastlands.

The Hammers started the game rock-bottom of the Premier League, and with only two games left after today, they cannot afford to drop any more points, or concede too many more goals. They have just one away victory this year and have lost the last four games in succession.

City started brightly; striker Mario Balotelli rose well to meet a ball from a corner after three minutes, but his effort flew harmlessly wide.

Mancini’s men kept the pressure on the London club and the opening goal came after just ten minutes - an Aleksandar Kolarov corner was not convincingly cleared and Nigel de Jong, who before today had never scored for the Citizens, fired in a fantastic low drive from 25 yards that left Robert Green with no chance.

The lead was doubled just five minutes later. A David Silva pass across the face of the goal was turned in by Hammers defender Lars Jacobsen for an own goal.

Things went for bad to worse for manager Avram Grant soon after. Defender Matthew Upson, who started in the side, lasted just 25 minutes before an injury forced him to be replaced by da Costa.

Things picked up for West Ham with half-time approaching, and on 33 minutes they handed themselves a lifeline - a Hitzlsperger chip hit Lescott’s hand in the penalty box, but with Ba on hand to fire in from close range, the referee allowed the advantage and for the goal to stand.

City were, for the majority of the first half, showing just how formidable they are on their own soil – they haven’t lost at Eastlands since December, and at times looked like they could easily increase the scoreline. As they eased off the pressure, United were allowed back into the game; a half-time word from Mancini will perhaps reiterate the importance of keeping things tight at the back.

The team news beforehand saw both sides leaving strikers out of the side. Dzeko’s goal on Monday night is not enough to land him a starting role, as Mancini continues with Mario Balotelli in City’s attack, in an unchanged side.

The continued absence of Carlos Tevez sees Vincent Kompany named as captain in the centre of City’s defence.

West Ham make four changes – Carlton Cole has been left out, Scott Parker remains injured whilst Mark Noble is unwell and Wayne Bridge is unable to play against his parent club. Matthew Upson, James Tomkins, Luis Boa Morte and Robbie Keane were all in the starting 11.


Man City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Lescott, Kolarov, De Jong, Barry, Adam Johnson, Yaya Toure, Silva, Balotelli

Substitutes: Taylor, Milner, Wright-Phillips, Dzeko, Vieira, Jo, Boyata

West Ham: Green, Jacobsen, Tomkins, Upson (da Costa 25), Gabbidon, Sears, Spector, Boa Morte, Hitzlsperger, Ba, Keane

Substitutes: Boffin, Reid, Cole, Kovac, Piquionne, Obinna

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