West Ham have an opportunity Wednesday evening to get into the top half of the Premier League table, but will have to defeat daunting opposition to do so when they face Manchester City at the London Stadium.
With a victory, the Hammers will leap into ninth place in the Premier League to start the month of February, a far cry from where they were at the beginning of December. But Slaven Bilic hopes his side will at least avoid a repeat of being thrashed by Pep Guardiola’s men 5-0 in front of a home crowd. And although that FA Cup 3rd Round exit almost four weeks ago is in the past, City are more than capable of providing a repeat performance on the Hammers new ground in the present.
As mentioned in Andy Kostka’s latest fine preview and Bilic’s press conference on Tuesday, both new signings Robert Snodgrass and Jose Fonte look set for debuts and each could start. Arthur Masuaku, Diafra Sakho and Havard Nordtveit will be out, as well as Andre Ayew due to Ghana being in the semifinals of the African Cup of Nations. Both Andy Carroll and Mark Noble are still dealing with nagging ailments but will definitely play.
Their formidable opponents City are desperate to stay in a title race fast becoming a Chelsea coronation, as Guardiola will have Fernandinho back from his latest lengthy suspension. Besides the season-ending injury plagued Ilkay Gundogan, the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich star manager will have everyone else available for selection.
Will it be a clean sweep of three defeats for the Hammers at the hands of Manchester City this season? Or will Bilic, buoyed by new singings in the official beginning of life after Dimitri Payet, heap more pressure on Pep?
Find out in Matchday 23.
LINEUPS AND BENCH
First Half Recap
There is no further analysis needed.
The fullbacks for West Ham have been fully whack, as Cresswell and Byram have been atrocious. Their worst display of the season has lead to the Hammers losing their confidence quickly again against Manchester City for the second straight month.
Only positive about this is that Robert Snodgrass will likely, or should likely, come on at halftime.
The full review.