Writer: Andy Leggott
Date:Friday August 10 2007
The Frankie and Svennis era starts for real with a visit to last season's home of controversy.
Whether the Hammers should have been allowed to remain in the top flight after the Tevez affair is a mute point; that they did is now fact and it is they that will host Sven's first competitive game back in management since his England team of 'superstars' imploded in the German heat.
Both sides have made considerable changes after poor season's last time around and both will be looking for their new players to gel instantly.
West Ham have adopted to trawl the overpriced English market and have recruited Bellamy, Ljungberg and Parker amongst others.
In contrast, City have chosen to baffle the press by purchasing young, foreign internationals who are hungry to succeed at the highest level and who are priced at a far more reasonable level than those from English clubs.
Which approach will work? Who is to say. The game should however offer early answers to that poser as both sides look to establish their Premiership credentials from day one.
Sven looks forward to a new Manchester City era that doesn't see the side reliant on those players looking for one last payday.
'Everyone I have talked to is excited, and the fact that we have bought good players of the right age is exciting for the fans, for the owners and for me as well.
'We talk about youth and experience, and I think we have that. It`s good that we have a young team, what we talked about inside the club was that we wanted players for now and the future. We didn`t want older players on the way down, it`s much better to be the other way. Only playing the games in the Premier League will tell us if we really are ready or not.'
West Ham are missing their extremely well paid captain, Lucas Neill, and new signing Scott Parker, both with knee injuries. Bellamy and Ljunberg should make their debuts.
Back from injury and looking to make an immediate impact on his return.
I'm not even going to begin predicting the side for tomorrow but would hazard a guess it will be something akin to the eleven that started the Valencia friendly but with Hart in goal.
Corluka and Bojinov may push for places on the bench after finally getting their work permits approved on Thursday.
The Bulgarian left winger looks to be a player with a huge amount of promise.
City doubled the Hammers last season with the Hammers failing to score in both games.
The corresponding fixture last season was a must win for the blues which they did indeed win with a fine Beasley effort.
I think it will be tough for both sides as they adapt to new players in their sides.
For that reason I'll predict an entertaining 2-2 draw.
Derby (h) Weds 15th Aug 2007
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Date:Friday August 10 2007
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