Friday, 26 April 2013

Match Preview: Manchester City vs West Ham

Emotional day ahead as Foe set to be remembered

By Aaron Leggott

With the Premier League title race being wrapped up on Monday night, this game doesn't really have anything hanging on the line with West Ham having comfortably consolidated themselves as a Premier League club thanks to some good form in the past few weeks - whilst the hosts have second place all but secured.

However, perhaps the stand out moment tomorrow will be the remembrance of Marc Vivien Foe, who tragically passed away 10 years ago. The campaign was started from a City fan on Twitter and he is set to be properly remembered as both a wonderful person and an asset when he played for both City and West Ham.

A truly brilliant person and footballer. We will all remember him tomorrow. RIP Marc
Official MCFC Facebook

The Hammers have recently grabbed a point at Anfield as well as holding Manchester United to a draw at Upton Park to complete a run of five unbeaten games which has topped off a good few months for the club as they successfully won the battle to the call the Olympic Stadium their home from the start of the 2016/17 season.

And despite City's disappointing defeat in North London last weekend, the Blues know that a strong finish to the season is imperative in the hunt to build confidence for next season - as well as the small matter of an FA Cup final in two weeks time. 
Aguero set to return
Official MCFC Facebook

Sergio Aguero and David Silva have been declared fit to play a part in the game after shaking off respective hamstring injuries, whilst James Milner's injury wasn't bad as first feared after limping off at half time against Tottenham.

However, Sam Allardyce will be without defenders James Tomkins and George McCartney but both Mark Noble and Joe Cole are in contention to make a return to the starting eleven after their impressive substitute appearances following their recoveries from injury.

In honesty, West Ham have never looked like being dragged into the relegation battle but despite this, you can't see them causing City much trouble. In fact, the Hammers haven't beaten City away from home since April 2003, when Frederic Kanoute scored the winner in the Blues' penultimate game at Maine Road.

My thoughts

So, we go into this game without the title of Champions since last year and in honesty, I think it will do us good for our remaining fixtures. The players' now know that they need to finish this season strongly to regain some dignity after falling so short in the title race.

Of course, there is no shame in finishing second, but I think their have been a number of performances which have been far below par this season. Personally, I think we have a better squad that United, but some of the performances as a team haven't been good enough. Whether this is down to the manager - or the players themselves - is down to your opinion. 

West Ham will be no easy game and they come into this game on the back of impressive form. They have all but secured Premier League for another season but in reality, this is a game we should be looking at and being extremely confident of a win. 

I know that we could only manage a goalless draw at Upton Park but we were missing a lot of players for that game and I think our superiority will tell.

Prediction: City 3 - 0 West Ham

Ahead of the game, I spoke with West Ham fan Jack Bowers (@JackBowers92) as he spoke about his team's season, the Olympic Stadium and Marc Vivien Foe. 

Nowadays the Etihad Stadium is seen as a fortress and can be a daunting task for any team to get a result, with City winning their last nine out of 10, scoring 25 and conceding none. Can you see West Ham taking points off City for the second time this season?

Jack: We're on our best run of form coming into this match (five unbeaten) so I think we have a chance of maybe nicking a point, but nothing more. It's a bit of a nothing game, with both sides league campaigns pretty much over which may help us out a little bit so again - I think we could maybe sneak a bore draw.

Your team are coming into this game on the back of some good form and a top 10 finish is looking likely. What do you think has been the key to your successful season after promotion last year?

Jack: The key has been our home form, without doubt. On our travels we've not done to bad - picking up some massive points but at home we have genuinely been a very good team, and Upton Park has sort of become a fortress again. We've only lost four home games (Arsenal, Liverpool, Everton & Spurs) who are obviously good sides. 

Big Sam's tactics at home have been superb and has done a great job of turning us into a hard team to play against. Another reason for having a good season is our defence which has also been very good, we've had 12 clean sheets in all competitions, which for a mid-table club is superb.

Perhaps the main talking point prior to this game is the remembrance of Marc Vivien Foe, who of course represented both sides during his career before tragically passing away - do you have any particular memories of the Cameroonian?

Jack: I absolutely loved Foe, I thought he was a class midfielder. He had it all - quick, strong and could pick out a pass. I was annoyed when he left for Lyon, but then again we sold anyone who was good at that time! But my one standout memory of Foe was his part in Di Canio's volley vs Wimbledon. He ran forward and lost the ball, but hassled down the Wimbledon midfield, intercepted a pass and floated a ball out to Sinclair who put it on a plate for Di Canio's volley. 

The best goal I've seen in the Premier League wouldn't have happened without Foe's hard work. Classy player, a great man and a tragedy what happened to him. 

How much of a boost was it for the future of West Ham to get the Olympic Stadium?

Jack: It's absolutely massive; I think it could be the making of our club. Look at yourselves, and how well you have progressed since leaving Maine Road for the Etihad. Having a bigger, modern stadium will make us more attractive to buyers, bring in more money and give us a chance at catching up with the big boys. I'm not saying we're going to win the league but it would be nice to see us challenging for the Europa League spots and this move could be the catalyst for that. It is a risk because it's a big increase to 54,000 but we have to take that risk.

Who would you say is your key player on Saturday and why?

Jack: Our key player is Andy Carroll. Big, strong and unplayable on his day. He is in superb form at the minute and if he can play as well on Saturday as he did against Manchester United and Wigan then we'll have half a chance of getting a point.

Andy Carroll will prove to be a handful against Kompany and Nastasic tomorrow
Official West Ham Facebook

Predicted West Ham line up?

Jack: (4-3-2-1): Jaaskelainen; Demel, Reid, Collins, O'Brien; Diame, Noble, Nolan; Vaz Te, Jarvic; Carroll

Who would you say is City's danger man and why?

Jack: It depends on who plays, but really any of your attacking players is dangerous. If he plays, Yaya Toure will scare the hell out of me. He's just brilliant and could really tear us apart.

And finally... your prediction?

Jack: I'm going for a highly ambitious 1-1.

Thanks to Jack for taking the time out to answer the questions. Come back in the next few days for our take on the game!

Remember to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

You can also follow Aaron on Twitter: @aaron_leggott

(c) The Sky Blue View 2013

No comments:

Post a Comment