West Ham go to the Etihad Stadium today hoping to add to Manchester City’s woes and will look to play on the crisis both on the pitch and in the treatment room to deliver a first win since the 1962-63 season.
As if City’s problems were not bad enough on the pitch after their 4-2 derby dismantling by city rivals United last Sunday they also have a mounting injury list and the chance to chase down Chelsea for the Premiership title has disappeared and they need to concentrate on holding Liverpool off in order to secure Champions League football for next season.
Pelligrini will be enforced to dramatically shake up his starting 11 for the visit of the Hammers as Kompany, Milner and Clichy all picked up injuries in the past week. Kompany may be out for the rest of the season and this could be a blessing in disguise as his below par performances have contributed to City’s downfall this season.
The air of invincibility about this City team has well and truly been shattered this season and this can be linked to the poor performances of their big figures, Vincent Kompany and Yaya Toure. Pelligrini has publicly come out in the press this week and said that Toure has not been good enough this season and wants a reaction from him in the remaining games this season.
Pelligrini has been constantly berated this season for not changing his team and not having a plan b for if their 4-4-2 system is not working so Sunday’s game will be interesting to see how he copes with five of his squad unavailable. Strikers Steven Jovetic and Wilfried Bony are the other two casualties for this game.
West Ham could have lost top goalscorer Diafra Sakho for the rest of the season with a thigh strain but Enner Valencia’s injury is not as bad as first feared and he could start for Big Sam’s side. It is expected that Carlton Cole could replaced Sakho in the team on Sunday. James Tomkins and Andy Carroll remain Allardyce’s only other long term absentees.
As earlier mentioned West Ham will look to win their first game against Manchester City in an away fixture for over 50 years and even though the Hammers have not been in sparkling form since the turn of the year they will hope to break this hoodoo today.
City’s return to the Etihad could be a welcome one as they have lost three of their last four matches and these all came from away fixtures plus West Ham’s recent away form is nothing to strike fear into the eyes of the opposition. The slump which they have embarked upon in 2015 has seen the Hammers fall away from potentially finishing in the European places to mid-table obscurity.
West Ham have not won an away game since the start of December and even with City’s recent troubles you would have to consider City to be a home banker today when the two teams meet.
MCFC: Hart, Zabaleta, Demichelis, Mangala, Kolarov, Fernando, Navas, Yaya Toure, Lampard, Silva, Aguero
WHUFC: Adrian, Reid, Cresswell, Kouyate, Downing, Noble (c), Jenkinson, Collins, Cole, Song, Valencia