City looking to improve away record in Capital
By Rebecca Halliwell
Tomorrow Manchester City are set to face West Ham United. In last year’s corresponding fixture, the Hammers held the Blues to a goalless draw with West Ham incorrectly having a goal ruled out for offside. Last season, Manchester City struggled to find any away form and even though they were unbeaten at that stage in late November, they had lost ground in the title race. This season is proving to be similar with the Blues having lost to Cardiff and Aston Villa despite being in front, as well as a draw with Stoke.
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Manchester City’s home record has been more promising with the Blues yet to lose a game at home. A good set of results in the last round of the Premier League matches saw City threatening the top of the table with Arsenal and Tottenham failing to win. The Blues are now only three points off the top and have a superior goal difference. Now might be the time to find some away form with City’s next four games being away fixtures in the league, the Champions League and the Capital One Cup and with top spot being so tantalizingly close, the Blues need to perform well against West Ham.
West Ham played Tottenham Hotspur before the international break. The Hammers employed a 4-6-0 formation in order to frustrate the attacking-minded Spurs team. West Ham were good both defensively and in attack with the Hammers catching Spurs on the break and running out at 3-0 winners. This fixture looks to be a difficult one for Manchester City should West Ham adopt this formation again with the problem of breaking down packed defences still not having been consistently solved.
Andy Carroll is still injured and so he will miss this match. However, West Ham have re-signed Carlton Cole on a three month contract and he may feature against Manchester City.
There are no new injuries following the international break. Martín Demichelis and Jack Rodwell both played for the EDS in the Manchester Senior Cup midweek. Demichelis had no adverse reaction from his knee and is looking likely to be in line for his first team debut with captain Vincent Kompany still sidelined.
Manchester City face a crucial trip to CSKA Moscow on Wednesday in the Champions League and this may be on the forefront of Manuel Pellegrini's mind. It is still hard to know who his first choice eleven are at this stage and with an almost full strength squad to pick from, there may be a few surprises in his team selection.
Below are highlights from the previous encounter between the sides, which saw City come out as winners in a 2-1 victory.
My thoughtsManchester City will need to resume where they left off against Everton having shown good intensity to come back from a goal down to win. The Blues will also have to remain alert to West Ham counter attacks that proved devastating to Tottenham. Unless there has been a transformation in away form due to training, which is unlikely due to the players being on international duty.
Prediction: West Ham 1 - 1 City