City stroll past West Ham

Manchester City 3 West Ham 1

Manchester City’s sublime start to the season continued tonight with Carlos Tevez doing the damage against former club West Ham.

City’s fifth win out of their opening six games represented their best start since 1961, but it is the here and now that Blues supporters are more interested in.

Two Tevez goals and a first-half free-kick from Martin Petrov scarcely did justice to their dominance.

West Ham were totally outclassed, even though Carlton Cole did score an equaliser, and on this evidence they will not be the last as City seem to have found an irresistible mix of brilliant attacking play and solid defending.

After finding one set of former supporters no longer regard him with any affection at Old Trafford last week, Tevez knew he was on safer ground with the Hammers who, for all the controversy, will always be grateful for the goals that kept them up.

The respect is mutual and as Tevez raced in front of them after scoring the opening goal, he raised an almost apologetic hand of acknowledgement before being besieged by ecstatic team-mates.

It was a pretty significant goal for Tevez given Sir Alex Ferguson’s doubts over his goalscoring prowess, and Petrov’s assist was arguably even more noteworthy.

Brought to the club two years ago by Sven-Goran Eriksson, the Bulgarian’s direct running endeared him to the City faithful.

However, as other noteworthy Eriksson buys were doing little to impress Mark Hughes in his first season at the club, Petrov had little chance to impress once he had ruptured his cruciate on international duty.

Petrov felt he had no future at the club and made his disappointment plain when a deadline-day move to Tottenham failed to materialise.

Yet he remains a big danger and a worthwhile asset and was afforded his first start when Stephen Ireland was ruled out through illness.

He clearly intended to make the most of it and, after presenting Tevez with a tap-in following his forceful left-wing burst, was soon celebrating a goal too.

There may have been an element of good fortune about the free-kick City were awarded for Luis Jimenez’s minor shove on Nigel de Jong, but the finish was pretty emphatic.

Petrov drilled it into the bottom corner before edging towards Hughes in his dug-out and pulling the back of his shirt to emphasise his name.

Had the goal been City’s fourth or fifth, West Ham could not have complained.

Attack after attack washed over them, with Tevez, Petrov, strike partner Craig Bellamy and Joleon Lescott all going close.

Staggeringly though, Petrov had actually put City back in front for, on their first attack, the Hammers had equalised when Cole turned home Radoslav Kovac’s volley.

In fact, the Hammers would have been in front but for the generosity of referee Chris Foy, who ruled Cole had fouled Lescott before teeing up Scott Parker when contact had been very minimal.

Gianfranco Zola did not need that to prove it was going to be another bad night for his team.

A simple offside manoeuvre proved beyond the Hammers defence when Bellamy floated over a free-kick just after the hour mark.

As the visitors raced out, three City men were left to queue up to score, Tevez nodding home from six yards.

It was the end of the goals, but not the chances.

Barry went close with a thunderous effort before Roque Santa Cruz made his debut after spending all the time since his £17m summer move from Blackburn recovering from knee surgery.

It was a move West Ham could only dream of. Indeed, neither Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool nor Manchester United could presently make such a show of strength.

Forget about giving City time. Their rivals have every reason to be worried right now.

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