Elano. Corluka. Onohua. Geovanni. Bianchi. Garrido. Bojinov. Petrov.
The late season signings all paid off for Thaksin Shinawatra and Sven Goran Erickson as Man City's squad with a roving Elano fed a beautiful ball into the box and a sliding Rolando Bianchi found the net in the first half. A shell shocked West Ham slowly worked its way back at the end of the first half. Defender Vedran Corluka making his debut showed his great strength in a vintage moment when Freddie Ljungberg tried turning him around as Corluka planted his 6'3" frame in his way.
West Ham had its moments in the second half as City narrowly when substitute Matthew Etherington controlled a beautiful little chip by Zamora and then sliced a pinpoint cross across the goal line with a scrambling Ljungberg arriving a bit too late to slide the ball home. But West Ham did not do themselves any favours as they went into the heart of the City defense where Micah Richards and Richard Dunne turned the long balls away with impeccably timed headers. All the West Ham possession, and there was plenty, turned out ineffectual.
Richards is the best English talent in central defense right now and Steve McLaren must have been extremely pleased with what he saw. Sven Goran's second half substitutions paid off as Onohua outmuscled a slowly reacting West Ham defense and found Geovanni (substituting or Elano), who controlled and laid the ball past a diving Robert Green for the second City goal. But the best City player was Martin Petrov whose creative runs down the left kept the Hammers guessing. He took on Anton Ferdinand turned him around and his little flick was met by Bojinov whose header just sailed away from the crossbar. Garrido hustled the right flank bumping Bellamy off stride.
Great start for City as they get their three points. For West Ham, the bright spot was the return of Dean Ashton, who played the second half and got a few good looks at goal. But there was little else to celebrate.
The Man Utd -Man City derby got a whole lot more interesting with this new look City squad.