West Ham 0-0 Manchester City

Vincent Kompany challenges West Ham striker Andy Carroll

Manchester City maintained their unbeaten start in the Premier League but had to settle for a point from a hard-fought encounter with West Ham.

The Hammers started brightly and were unlucky to see a Kevin Nolan goal ruled out for offside before Yossi Benayoun slammed a volley against the bar.

City's best first-half chance saw Mario Balotelli miss from point-blank range.

But the visitors improved after the break and Tevez and Gareth Barry wasted good opportunities before the end.

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Missed chances concern Mancini

It was a difficult evening for City boss Roberto Mancini, who perhaps gave a sign of his current frustrations when he came out early for the second half and sat on his own in his dug-out waiting for his players to emerge.

Mancini saw his side fail to score for the first time since April and also had to deal with a temperamental reaction from striker Balotelli after taking the Italian off in the second half.

But things could have been even worse for the champions had the officials not come to their rescue just four minutes into the game.

Nolan found space to steer home Mark Noble's floated free-kick with a fine first-time finish but the goal was disallowed for offside - incorrectly, TV replays showed.

The hoisted ball into the box, usually aimed towards Andy Carroll, was predictably a favourite tactic of Sam Allardyce's side but they came forward with intelligence down the flanks too.

Mohamed Diame cut in from the left to fizz in a shot that was rising as it flew over Joe Hart's crossbar and Benayoun went even closer after running in to meet an enticing Matt Jarvis cross with a volley that clattered against the same piece of woodwork.

Carroll's mere presence was a nuisance to City but he went close to breaking the deadlock himself too, when Benayoun returned his knockdown and the Hammers striker, with England boss Roy Hodgson watching from the stands, sent a low shot skidding inches wide.

At the other end, City were functional rather than free-flowing in the early stages, perhaps because of an unfamiliar front-line that saw Balotelli, Tevez and Edin Dzeko starting together for the first time.

Mancini's men showed little of the guile they will need to break down Ajax in their vital Champions League meeting on Tuesday until Balotelli blazed a Tevez free-kick over the bar 10 minutes before half-time.

City did improve in attack after the break but they still struggled to test Hammers keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen, and his stop after Tevez met a deflected Dzeko cross was his first serious save.

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West Ham exceed Allardyce expectations

West Ham were never likely to lie down and Nolan and Andy Carroll both remained dangerous, with Carroll seeing an acrobatic effort deflect wide off Gael Clichy.

But it was City who looked increasingly likely to take home the three points, with Tevez blasting over as he tried to round off a neat move and Barry bundling the ball wide after referee Howard Webb missed what appeared to be a handball from another Dzeko cross.

By now the visitors had all the possession and Mancini tried a different combination in attack in an attempt to make a difference in front of goal, hauling off a visibly unhappy Balotelli and sending on Sergio Aguero instead.

It was to no avail. Aguero stung Jaaskelainen's palms from a quickly-taken free-kick but that was as close as City came to snatching a late victory, leaving Mancini to dwell on dropped points as well as planning for next week's crunch clash with the Dutch champions.

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