West Ham v MCFC
Sunday 1st March 2009
West Ham's dip in form is in stark contrast to Manchester City's resurgance. Will West Ham turn things around and send City back to square-one or will City maintain their form?
Mark Hughes said ahead of the game: 'We have a group of players who understand the demands that are going to be placed on them now and in the future.
'The expectation levels have been way ahead of any Manchester City team probably in the history of the club and we're dealing with it.
'The aim is to get a consistent run of form away from home as we have found it difficult on the road. We have another opportunity to show what we can do when we face West Ham.
'We have had a lot of criticism and rightly so but the manner of the performance at Liverpool will hopefully have given us confidence. It was a good display.
'Our problem in the past is we have been unable to see out games. We have not had the right tools.
'You need a different mentality and a different approach when you are away from home. But we are learning as a group all the time and gaining experience.'
A determined Zola Commented: 'We are really dying to win again after our FA Cup defeat on Wednesday, and that is the kind of feeling we must have.
'The guys are not willing to sit on this too long and we are determined to put another run of good results together.
'We know what we are capable of achieving and will work very hard to make this happen.'
West Ham United Team News:
Mark Noble is suspended while 25-year-old centre-back James Collins is out for a month with a hamstring injury.
Player to watch: Scott Parker
Mark Hughes was interested in the midfielder during January but could only manage to prise away Craig Bellamy.
Parker is West Ham's main outlet and they will be relying on him to make things happen.
Manchester City FC Team News:
Shaun Wright-Phillips is suspended while Valeri Bojinov, who scored a penalty in a 90 minute appearance in Manchester City's 2-1 loss at the hands of Manchester United, is still not match fit.
Nigel De Jong returns after sitting out the FC Copenhagen win due to being cup-tied.
Player to watch: Craig Bellamy
With confidence sky-high after his midweek heroics, Craig Bellamy returns to haunt his old club. No doubt West Ham will suffer a few scares.
Match Facts & Stats
If Manchester City overcome West Ham, they will stretch their unbeaten run in the Premier League against the Hammers to six matches.
Mike Dean referees this match. With eight sending off's in 20 games, it's official: Dean loves red. Three of those cards came in the match between Manchester City and Tottenham- Gelson Fernandes, Richard Dunne and Benoit Assou-Ekotto.
With Manchester City's recent resurgance, high confidence and increasing effectiveness away from home, I can see City losing this one by a narrow margin. When everything seems to be going well, City always manage to find a way of messing things up: WHU 2-1 MCFC.
Home against Aston Villa on Wednesday 4th March 2009.