It is a big shame when the talking point of any game is the Referee, but once again Mark Clattenburg stole the show at Upton Park, his ego must be huge, the game had barely got warmed up when he acted by giving a very soft penalty to the home side. He seemed to me to be running the game with this self satified smug grin on his face.
If getting the attention in the first 3 to 4 minutes wasn't enough he again took centre stage and waved play on, while Tettey layed flat out in the centre of the pitch, the incident did clearly look a foul, Cole clattered him in the back and then fell full weight on Tettey's back. There are no doubts the game should have been stopped for the player to recieve attention. I have seen many games stopped for a lot less, and for anyone to say he was faking injury I suggest they try it with their mates who are about the size of Cole.
I am not saying that if either hadn't have happened we would have won the match, but certainly two very dubious decisions on the part of a egotisical Ref certainly played their part in City losing. West Ham did have enough chances to wrap the game up but a mixture of terrible finishing and good keeping kept the scoreline lower.
Injuries, Suspension and a tactical decision didn't help City's cause at all, there were times when we looked a pale shadow from previous games, true the second half saw a different animal but there was not quite enough to get that final push to claim a share of the spoils; despite a stunning goal by Russell Martin, any striker would have loved to have scored that, his third in 2 games. Not bad for a full back...
For all his running and endeavour Harry Kane is no answer for the front line while the two main strikers are injured, he is young and still learning, with a little more experience and weight he will be a player to watch out for, but not at the moment in a team who are struggling with injuries. It was good to see Hughton break his mould by giving the subs more time on the pitch, which did make an visible difference plus good to see Foxy make an appearence. Welcome back hope you get more time.
The defence looked decidedly all at sea at times and uncertain, West Ham are phyiscal side who aren't against hitting players hard, and of course a lot is played in the air, (not so much as usual it is fair to say) but they must be able to cope with it.
The window is open now for business along with a league break for the FA Cup, I hope that a lot of the players will use the time to rest up and re-charge the batteries as they looked tired and a tad jaded.
I also hope Hughton will be adding to the squad in certain areas, everyone and their aunties are shouting for a striker and it is hard to disagree. I also think a defender is needed another in mould of Bassong if another excists out there.
So thankfully the mad rush of Holiday games is over and we look at an empty score sheet, although all games we were within one goal of sharing points, still it is 4 defeats on the trot, we now need to use this little league break to re group and get back to the winning ways again. I think Saturdays Cup game should be used to get some of the fringe and younger players some pitch time.
We still need 5 wins to get to the magical mark, so No panic buttons need to be pressed just yet, but as long as everyone is aware that this little slide must be halted sooner rather than later.
An unhappy end to 2012 and not much better start for 2013, but we are still higher up the table than some of us thought we would be and still have a reasonably comfortable cushion between us and the dog fight at the bottom. But that momentum of those 10 game unbeaten needs to be found again.