Manchester City 3 West Ham 1: Bittersweet for Tevez - Striker's double is hard for Hammers to take

The neighbours most certainly remain noisy but even Sir Alex Ferguson would have
to concede that their behaviour is rather less anti-social than it has been.

Little more than two weeks after Emmanuel Adebayor almost sparked a full-scale riot with that controversial goal celebration in front of his former fans from Arsenal, Carlos Tevez appeared all together more considerate.

For scoring in front of the followers of his old club he simply apologised.

Carlos Tevez

At the double: Carlos Tevez seals victory with Manchester City's third goal

The circumstances were, of course, different. At Upton Park they still adore Tevez for the goals  that rescued them from relegation two-and-a-half years ago. Whereas
at Arsenal the love for Adebayor has long been lost, as he discovered in stereo here at Eastlands.

Even so, Tevez’s actions did nothing to harm an image of this football club that needed a bit of a makeover after the last few weeks and nor, for that matter, did the
manner in which Mark Hughes’ side secured their fifth victory in six Barclays Premier League games.

Driven forward by Tevez and inspired, on this occasion, by the brilliance of Martin Petrov, they responded to that crushing defeat at Old Trafford with a performance
that reminded Ferguson and his champions that they will not be able to hide behind their red curtains for long.

They now have serious title rivals in their own city as well as in London and Liverpool.

Ferguson might attempt to ignore them by turning up the telly but he would have done the maths. He would have realised, on Monday night, that Manchester City could be level with United and
Chelsea had they been given the opportunity to win their one remaining game in hand.

Just as he would have noted that Hughes does indeed have the kind of squad, with the kind of quality, that can maintain the pace over the course of the next seven or eight

Martin Petrov

Fine strike: Martin Petrov struck to put City 2-1 ahead

Last night Adebayor was still suspended for another offence, Stephen Ireland sat it out with an upset stomach and Robinho was also absent. But Hughes sent on Roque Santa Cruz and Michael Johnson for their first games of the season. More strength, more depth.

Not even a surprise equaliser from Carlton Cole knocked City off their stride here. No sooner had the England striker levelled than the excellent Petrov had restored City’s
advantage with a free-kick before Tevez put the points beyond West Ham’s reach with a simple second half header.

It meant West Ham were once again left with nothing, which is tough when — their defenders aside — they actually acquitted themselves fairly well for a team still chasing their second win of the season.

Tougher still when this setback followed news of those FA charges. In the end Gianfranco Zola and Steve Clarke were once again left to reflect on what might have been. On how they might have performed, and how many points they might have acquired, had West Ham’s dire financial situation not forced them to sell so many experienced players.

Those who remain are still playing for their manager. That much was evident in men like Cole, Scott Parker and Mark Noble. But it is going to be a long hard campaign,
not least for Robert Green, if they continue to defend as ineptly as this.

Carlton Cole

Delight: Carlton Cole celebrates his early equaliser for the Hammers

They were quick to concede last night, surviving only five minutes before Petrov accelerated into the West Ham penalty area before delivering the ball to the feet of an
unmarked Tevez, who drove the ball home from close range. Tevez was terrific. Full of running. Full of invention. But he would have completed the first 15 minutes of this
distinctly one-sided encounter knowing he could have added two more goals to his tally.

He drove one effort, hit on the turn, inches wide and then another over the crossbar, on both occasions with Robert Green’s goal at his mercy.

Rather like David James, Green is another England goalkeeper who is going to be busy this season.

Those squandered opportunities looked all the more costly for City when West Ham then equalised in the 24th minute.

Possession deep inside City’s half had proved hard to obtain but a free-kick suddenly presented them with a chance to pull level and they did just that, City’s failure to deal
with a teasing delivery from Alessandro Diamanti creating the crucial opening.

Joleon Lescott’s headed clearance floated only as far as Radoslav Kovac, who unleashed a shot that was diverted past Shay Given by Cole.

Carlos Tevez

Perfect start: Carlos Tevez scores City's opener at Eastlands

This, however, is a very different City to last year. A City side, Hughes noted in his programme notes, who possess more than enough maturity and composure to
cope with such eventualities.

Only a further eight minutes passed before they responded with a free-kick of their own, converted beautifully by Petrov with a curling left-foot strike that avoided both the
West Ham wall and a diving Green.

With his surging runs Tevez continued to terrorise the West Ham defence, one solo effort forcing Green to race off his line and make a courageous challenge at the
feet of the fast-advancing Argentina forward.

Mark Hughes and Gianfranco Zola

Banter: City manager Mark Hughes jokes with West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola

There was a moment when West Ham might have again levelled. When another referee might have considered Cole’s challenge on Lescott to be a fair one and not
blown his whistle before Parker then met his colleague’s pass with a decent finish.

But the luck was not with West Ham and nor was the momentum, and City remained in control despite the scare. They continued to play with fluency, flair and finesse, and the kind of confidence that only the very best teams possess.

Last night Hughes switched to a 4-4-2 formation and the transition was seamless.
A third goal was always going to come, and it did so in the 61st minute when Tevez was allowed to meet a free-kick from Craig Bellamy unchallenged with a closerange

By then, however, it was the defenders who should have been issuing the apologies.

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