WEST HAM 0, MANCHESTER CITY 3 (Capital One Cup Semi Final 2nd Leg; City win 9-0 on aggregate)
Manchester City are just one game away from the first trophy of the season after they completed the formality of qualifying for the Capital One Cup final with a brace of goals by Alvaro Negredo plus one from Sergio Aguero to put West Ham out with a 9-0 aggregate.
City made eight changes from the side that beat Cardiff with starts for Aguero alongside Negredo upfront, Fernandinho in midfield plus 18-year old youngster Marcos Lopes on the wing. Far from fazed, Lopes was the architect of West Ham’s doom with assists for two of the goals playing from the left wing in the first half.
In comparison, the Hammers put out a relatively strong team with Andy Carroll handed a first start since May.
Lopes set up Negredo’s goal in the third minute with James Tomkins’ lax marking allowing the City target man a free header which he was never going to miss in his rich vein of form.
If it wasn’t already over in the first leg, City’s early goal was the cue for boos from the home support who couldn’t even savour a goal for the home side never mind a morale boosting win. They did have their chances to get back into the game, though, but couldn’t capitalise.
Kevin Nolan’s quickfire reply was correctly ruled offside after Matt Taylor’s cross while Carroll got goalside of Joleon Lescott but the dangerous striker’s header was wide of the mark.
City were 2-0 up after 23 minutes when Lopes drifted past Roger Johnson and James Tomkins and gave the ball to Aguero, who created space for himself after Johnson and Tomkins collided, and beat Jussi Jaskelainen.
Carroll was withdrawn at half time and although the Hammers tried hard to get a goal back it always looked more like City would score again and they duly did with their third goal.
Aguero fed the Beast in the 59th minute and Negredo duly scored again after he rampaged right through Johnson and Taylor and swept the ball home from an acute angle. It was the Spaniard’s 23rd of the season, one more than Aguero, making them surely the most feared strike partnership in the Barclays Premier League.
Ironically with City starting to take it easy in the second half the Hammers finally started to string coherent chances together. City brought on injury prone squad players Jack Rodwell and Stevan Jovetic.
With nothing left to play for Ravel Morrison was denied a consolation goal after a last ditch tackle by Lescott. Fernandinho was later booked for fouling the lively Morrison.
Substitute Carlton Cole also had two chances late on in the game but headed wide after Taylor’s cross and had a shot blocked.
There was one final blot in City’s perfect copybook on the night as Tomkins won the ball and left Negredo rolling around in agony off the pitch holding his shoulder. The Spaniard had to have treatment but managed to finish the game and Pellegrini will hope there is no lasting damage.