Just what the doctor ordered.
With our very own fugitive (with his good lady wife and accompanying cheering squad) in attendance alongside the weekends headline maker, we picked a good time indeed to hit some form and hopefully kick start our stuttering season.
Admittedly, West Ham were poor with Alan Curbishley correctly stating the Hammers got what they deserved, but Mark Hughes was quick to heap praise after picking up our first points of the season.
Despite being (deservedly) reduced to ten men for over half of the game following Mark Noble's dismissal, we were worthy of the victory as a far pacier, committed and side was on display who possessed a greater attacking intent than shown on previous outings this season.
Team wise, I thought Hughes got it spot on with Ball back in for Garrido, but more importantly Ireland back in the starting line-up to provide a greater deal of creativity and link-up play than Etuhu on the right hand side, complementing the ever growing talent of Petrov on the left.
Vincent Kompany was the other change of course, making his debut in place of Gelson and it was an accomplished performance from a player who admitted he wasn't sure of his all of his team mates names. In the holding role, he looks to provide strong defensive cover (and slotted in well alongside Ben Haim following Richard's injury) and despite Gelson's obvious potential, Kompany looks more mature and assured player at this stage.
Sturridge's goal was a smart finish indeed, and he really does look to have fantastic left foot and possesses a real natural eye for goal.
Elano's brace was also a boost and for me there is a world of difference in the player we see in the role he was deployed in against West Ham than out on the right hand side. Although Jo will be back available for the game against FC Midtjylland, I would hope that Hughes does not change the formation and allows Elano to continue behind the striker.
There was disappointment for the side as Micah Richards suffered a nasty clash of heads with Tal Ben Haim, rendering him unconscious on the pitch for several minutes. Despite not yet being ruled out, after suffering a concession it is extremely doubtful that he will be able to make the UEFA tie this Thursday.
It is in good heart that we will now travel to Denmark, with yesterday's performance giving our confidence a much needed boost and creating upwards of 20 chances shows that a one goal deficit will be by no means insurmountable.
Mark Hughes post-match interview.
Suddenly Manchester City's horizons look several shades brighter after three goals in quick succession midway through the second half provided an answer to suggestions that the club are in meltdown. >>independent.co.uk
It is not often that you can sit through an entire Premier League match and see one side incapable of managing a shot until the fourth minute of stoppage time. Mark Hughes will certainly be grateful to have come up against such obliging opponents as this rudderless West Ham side on the day Manchester City banished a few more of their early-season problems and Thaksin Shinawatra decided it was safe to show his face again. >>guardian.co.uk
These have been turbulent times at City, on and off the pitch, but two goals from Elano and one from Daniel Sturridge secured the three points that will lift the mood at the club and leave somebody else feeling the pressure of having to find their first points of the season. >>telegraph.co.uk
Dark clouds have gathered over Eastlands of late, but, as an uplifting afternoon came to an end yesterday, Thaksin Shinawatra began to relax in the directors’ box and Mark Hughes found himself serenaded by the Manchester City supporters who once despised him. >>times online
Thaksin Shinawatra entertained Mark Hughes for dinner last week – and the Manchester City boss reciprocated yesterday by serving up a Sunday treat for his troubled owner. >>daily express
On this form City can improve on last season's ninth place while West Ham will need to get injured players fit and show far more appetite in their work and the courage to play far more ambitiously. >>david pleat
Monday, August 25, 2008
Just what the doctor ordered.