I'm not employed by Soccernet and I'm nothing to do with Radio Five Live; I was born and raised in the east end of London and I support West Ham - the name is on my birth certificate. Therefore, I do not have go overboard in praise of a team that have spent hundreds of millions of pounds, nor abuse a cash-strapped lightweight side who struggle when injuries occur. I will merely say that West Ham's season gets under way at home to Fulham on Sunday and leave it at that.
As I heard the City team being named as I drove to the 'Fustillian and Bucket' to watch this game on ESPN, it wasn't the names of Tevez, Wright-Phillips or Bellamy that made me groan aloud but rather that of Martin Petrov, returning from injury, one of the myriad of players who seems to love playing against the Hammers.
It was no surprise therefore when Petrov left Faubert for dead and cut smartly across the penalty area for Tevez to strike home after six minutes. Carlos apologised to the Hammers fans behind the goal and the fans applauded the little Argentine accordingly. Frankly, this is all starting to get rather crazy..
The idiot commentators seemed to sense a goal glut and, while going behind early wasn't the best of starts, it's not always the case that a team losing after six minutes goes on to concede ten. City certainly had their chances to extend their lead after but the Hammers held on, even if there was a sense that the home side eased off rather than the Hammers frustrated them. It would be ludicrous though to deny that West Ham's equaliser wasn't against the run of play. A free kick played in wasn't cleared and Kovac's shot going wide was turned in by Cole amongst a melee of players.
City went ahead again when Petrov scored on the half hour from a free kick and though Robert Green must have disappointed with his positioning it must be mentioned the free kick itself should never have been awarded, Jiminez barely touching De Jong who went tumbling. Of course, this being West Ham and the goal being City's this was barely mentioned by the pundits. Mind you, even the most biased of commentators was left stunned by Scott Parker's disallowed equaliser just before half time. The Hammers were in a brief period of ascendancy at the time and Carlton Cole clearly beat Lescott before racing clear to pull back for Parker but the whistle blew for a foul on the ex-Everton man. It looked a strange decision at normal speed but slow motion replays did it no favours, clearly showing Lescott not only losing control but pulling Cole's shirt in the process.
2-1 down at half-time, West Ham needed to produce something to bring themselves back into contention and they did start the half brightly but City slowly took a grip and it was no real surprise when they went further ahead on the hour mark, Kovac poorly playing Tevez onside after Bellamy floated over a free-kick. Three City men were left to queue up to score and it was Tevez who nodded home from six yards. I fully expected the ex-Hammer to burst into tears and promise to sacrifice one of his children to the visiting fans but, oddly, he decided to celebrate in front of the blue half of Manchester instead.
West Ham never seriously threatened after and City could have made it more with Barry and Santa Cruz missing when it looked easier to score but I think anything more than a 3-1 defeat would have been too cruel and I. for one, was grateful that the Hammers escaped with what might be described as an 'acceptable' defeat - there won't be too many teams outside the top four winning at the City of Manchester stadium this season. West Ham's real league battle continues against Fulham on Sunday and that will be a more relevant test..