West Ham must hope Manchester City don’t turn up on Sunday
It is out of the frying pan and into the fire for West Ham this weekend as they follow up a trip to Stamford Bridge by travelling to the City of Manchester Stadium
It doesn’t get any easier for the Hammers this week.
After last weekend’s battling, but fruitless performance at Chelsea, West Ham now face a daunting trip to the City of Manchester Stadium where Champions League chasing City will provide formidable opposition.
Monday night saw Roberto Mancini’s men do both themselves and West Ham a favour by beating Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park, but it may be a little too hopeful to think that they will do the Hammers another favour on Sunday by rolling over and letting them take all three points.
City’s latest win thrusts them four points clear of Spurs in the race for a Champions League spot, and with an impressive home record which has seen them lose just two league games all season, it is tough to see anything but a home win.
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They have lost to Arsenal (0-3) and Everton (1-2), but the last of them was back in December and they are currently on a run of five wins on the trot at home in all competitions, including a 5-0 drubbing of Sunderland last time out.
Back in December, City handed out a lesson to the Hammers at Upton Park as they steamrollered their way to a 3-1 victory thanks to goals from Yaya Toure, Adam Johnson and a Robert Green own goal – James Tomkins grabbing the consolation.
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City are certainly an uncompromising side with the likes of Vincent Kompany, Pablo Zabaleta, Gareth Barry and Nigel de Jong in their ranks, and if the Hammers are not up for the fight, it could be a very long afternoon.
One thing in West Ham’s favour is the absence of former Hammer Carlos Tevez. His 25 goals this season is head and shoulders above everyone else, with Toure and the precocious Mario Balotelli, both on 10, a distance behind him.
Tevez grabbed two in a 3-1 win at Eastlands last season, while the last time West Ham won there was that memorable FA Cup quarter-final clash in 2006 when Dean Ashton’s double sent City crashing.
Fredi Kanoute scored the only goal when the Hammers last beat City away in the league, but that was back in 2003.
There is little hope of City’s minds being on the FA Cup final as a Champions League spot is their top priority and so aside from Tevez being missing, it is hard to make a case for West Ham to get anything from this game.
Let’s not bother, let’s just say our prayers.
Possible team: Hart, Kompany, Zabaleta, Kolarov, Lescott, Y Toure, De Jong, Barry, A Johnson, Silva, Balotelli.
Manchester City 2
West Ham 0