Very few teams go to the Lane and humble Tottenham the way Sam Allardyce’s West Ham did. It was West Ham’s first away win in nine Premier League games and their first at White Hart Lane since 1999 and lifts them to 13th in the table. Goals from Winston Reid, Ricardo vaz Te and Ravel Morrison helped secure the points in an encounter in which West Ham started without an out-and-out centre forward. The former Manchester United youngster, 20, who has had many questions raised regarding his temperament, produced a hard working and enterprising performance, and capped it off with a stunning goal as he ran the length of the pitch before calmly chipping the ball over the keeper. West Ham boss Sam Allardyce took the unusual step of naming no recognised strikers in his side, as Morrison rotated with Mohamed Diame as the furthest player forward, but it proved a masterstroke, as Spurs’ attacking momentum was thwarted by an organized West Ham outfit.
Manuel Pellegrini’s Manchester City however have blown hot and cold so far. Convincing results against Manchester United and Newcastle have coincided with slipups against the likes of Cardiff and Aston Villa, but their 3-1 win over Everton was a perfect response after the crushing defeat at the hands of Bayern Munich. But the likes of Negredo and Aguero coming into decent goalscoring form will please Pellegrini as he sets out to achieve a consistent run of results. The Spaniard David Silva, who made his first league start since August against Everton, coming back into fitness and form will be a boost to City, and he was quick to make an impact as he slid a perfectly weighted pass down the right-hand side of the box and Aguero struck a first-time shot across Howard and into the net to give City the edge before the break.
What to expect from this match
West Ham are expected to line up with the same team which would mean the likes of Vaz Te, Diame, Downing and Morrison will rotate places further forward, while Mark Noble and Kevin Nolan will sit infront of the back four. The hosts will be wary of the threat that City carry with David Silva back fit and in Yaya Toure they face a player in form who has netted 3 goals in the last 4 meetings between the sides. Manager Sam Allardyce will send his troops out to maintain their defensive shape, and to stop the trio of Toure, Silva and Aguero from running riot. Joe Hart had a decent couple of games in England’s goal, and the extent to which the Hammers can test the England no.1 will provide an interesting sub-plot.
Players to watch out for
Ravel Morrison (West Ham) : Before Morrison’s move to East London in January 2012, then United boss Sir Alex Ferguson said: “He’s got a great talent but it’s how to deal with it that is important”. It remains to be seen whether the youngster could perhaps now turn the corner after having questions asked of his temperament. The former United player was West Ham’s most potent player against Spurs and showed glimpses of the potential that many observers in the footballing world have spoken of in glowing terms. His goal was an indication of his extraordinary ability on the ball, as he received Diame’s clever flick before taking on Michael Dawson and scoring with a composed chip over Hugo Lloris.
Sergio Aguero (Manchester City) : The Argentine has already netted four times this campaign and it was arguably his goal just prior to half-time against Everton that helped City to assume control of the match. His link up play with David Silva will be another mouthwatering prospect to look forward to, although Sam Allardyce is likely to pack the midfield and choke the space in the middle of the park for Aguero to operate in.
West Ham : Carlton Cole has re-signed for the club on a short term deal to offer competition to Modibo Maiga up front, while James Tomkins’ strong display against Tottenham will keep James Collins on the sidelines. Sam Allardyce will most probably lineup with the same team to stem the City attacking flow.
Manchester City : Vincent Kompany was forced off against Everton and subsequently missed international duty with Belgium, with the City captain still a doubt for Saturday’s game. James Milner was impressive against Everton and is likely to retain his place, and Negredo’s form will continue to keep Edin Dzeko on the bench.
Result prediction :
City have won just 3 of their last 11 league games away from home and West Ham will be organised, waiting for their chances on the counter as they did to great affect at Spurs. The lack of a centre forward for the City centre-halves to keep a lid on, and the constant interchange among the West Ham forwards will make the away trip to Upton Park a tricky prospect.
Predicted scoreline : West Ham 1-2 Manchester City
Predicted scorer(s) : Vaz Te (West Ham), Aguero and Negredo (Manchester City).
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