West Ham manager Sam Allardyce is looking for miracles. Image courtesy of soccerlens.com
Hammered 6-0 by the Sky Blues less than a fortnight ago at the City of Manchester Stadium, West Ham has hosting rights in the return leg. Striker Andy Carroll is likely to start for the Hammers, as is Kevin Nolan after serving his four-game ban. With their side battling to avoid relegation, Cup fever might be the only thing disappointed fans might catch, as their struggling team has given away an almighty start to City, currently second on the Premier League table.
If that’s not convincing enough, Man City is undefeated in its last 17 matches, with 15 wins and two draws. Its last loss was at Sunderland 1-0 in mid-November. West Ham hasn’t beaten its high-profile rival since March 2009. The Sky Blues current form is irresistible; 4-2 over Cardiff in the EPL last weekend, 5-0 against Blackburn Rovers in the FA Cup and 2-0 at Newcastle - all since putting the half dozen they put on West Ham.
Beaten 3-1 at home by Newcastle last start, the loss saw the Hammers drop back into the bottom three. Even though manager Sam Allardyce would prefer to field a strong side for this mid-week encounter, his priority has to be premiership points and clawing past other clubs hovering around the danger zone like Fulham, Crystal Palace, Swansea, West Brom and Stoke.
With an FA Cup clash against Watford and a premiership stoush with the inform Tottenham ahead, City boss Manuel Pellegrini is expected to nurse his stars through this week.
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