Manchester City went through the motions to comfortably book their place in the League Cup final, running out 3-0 winners on the night and 9-0 on aggregate, taking their goal total for the season to 106 in the process.
After swatting aside their opponents 6-0 a fortnight ago, Manuel Pellegrini still named a strong and attacking line-up including Alvaro Negredo, Sergio Aguero and Jesus Navas. Sam Allardyce had little choice to do so after injuries had decimated his squad, particularly in defence, but Andy Carroll made his first start since his return from long-term injury.
City started where they left off in the first leg. A cross from Marcos Lopes found Alvaro Negredo in far too much space in the box after just three minutes, and he headed home with ease. James Tomkins was the defender most at fault, and boos rang out around Upton Park.
After 15 minutes the lead was almost doubled, Jussi Jaaskelainen tipping an Aguero shot around his left-hand post, but the Argentine striker had to wait less than ten more minutes for redemption. Played through by Lopes, Aguero danced round a couple of hapless defenders before dinking over Jaaskelainen from ten yards.
On the hour mark, City made it three. Negredo looked to have overrun the ball, but that would do disservice to the Spaniard's strength. He got first to the ball, and lifted it over Jaaskelainen.
The game rather petered out as Manchester City slowed the tempo down almost to walking pace, whilst Allardyce and West Ham would have simply been happy at no further damage. However, Manchester City fans and manager will be concerned to have seen Negredo holding his shoulder in pain after a challenge with Tomkins in the final stages.
The 9-0 aggregate win is the biggest recorded in a League Cup semi-final.
3' – GOAL: West Ham 0-1 Manchester City. Ah, not the start they wanted. Cross from Marcos Lopes on the left, and Alvaro Negredo is completely free and heads home.
6' – DISALLOWED GOAL: Harsh on West Ham, but Kevin Nolan is offside as he volleys home past Costel Pantilimon.
16' – FINE SAVE: A diving stop from Jaaskelainen. Sergio Aguero runs from deep after Taylor loses the ball in midfield, and the Argentinean forces the goalkeeper to tip wide.
24' – GOAL: West Ham 0-2 Manchester City. Sergio Aguero gets his goal, and that's eight on aggregate. Fantastic work from youngster Marcos Lopes, who stabs it through to Aguero. He beats a couple of weak challenges before dinking it over the goalkeeper.
59' – GOAL: West Ham 0-3 Manchester City. You think that the chance has gone for City as Negredo overruns the ball, but the strong striker still gets to the ball first and dinks it over Jaaskelainen. Brilliant.
Six goals in his last six games now for Sergio Aguero
Costel Pantilimon is yet to concede a goal during this League Cup run.
West Ham have won as many games in the League Cup as in the Premier League this season.
Can Allardyce hang on to his job? Big Sam talked about gaining some pride before the match, but was left with little apart from more problems. His side have won as many League Cup games as Premier League matches this season, but now the focus will turn to whether the reported 13th highest paid manager in the world can halt a rather alarming slide. One suspects that he is fast running out of time to save himself.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Marcos Lopes (Manchester City): Alvaro Negredo scored a brace, but Marcos Lopes set up two of City's goals as the only youngster in the visitors' line-up impressed mightily alongside his peers. The watching Manuel Pellegrini will have been convinced by both Lopes' ball control and confidence as he gave Razvan Rat a torrid time.
WEST HAM: Jaaskelainen 6, Nolan 6, Tomkins 5, Rat 5, Carroll 7, Taylor 6, Morrison 6, Diarra 6, Diame 7, J.Cole 6, Johnson 6, C.Cole 6, Downing 6, Collison 6... Subs: Cole 6, Downing 6, Collison N/A.
MANCHESTER CITY: Pantilimon 6, Clichy 7, Nastasic 6, Lescott 7, Boyata 6, Lopes 9, Fernandinho 7, Garcia 6, Navas 5, Negredo 8, Aguero 8, Rodwell 6, Jovetic 6, Kolarov 6... Subs: Rodwell 6, Jovetic 6, Kolarov 6.
MATCH IN A TWEET
- Sports & Recreation
- Manchester City
- Sergio Aguero
- Marcos Lopes
- Alvaro Negredo
- Sam Allardyce
- Jussi Jaaskelainen
- Manuel Pellegrini
- James Tomkins