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'If It's Football, It's Vital'

Manchester City vs. West Ham

City of Manchester Stadium

16th January 2008

8.05pm

MCFC v West Ham FC

This a key game for both sides but I may stress that it is probably a bigger game for City as a victory tonight will help Sven persuade Dr Thaksin that City are fighting a place in Europe on two fronts and the added income benefit that can bring.

Vital Quotes:

Sven on the importance of the FA Cup: 'We are not playing in Europe," he declares, 'we are not in the Carling Cup anymore, so the FA Cup is very important. We will try to stay in it for as long as possible - hopefully until May! We know that it`s very difficult and the way is very long, but we`ll try to go through and face Sheffield United.

'I`m happy that we are still in the cup first of all. We could have beaten West Ham away, I think we were the better team. Hopefully we`ll be that again and go through.

'We have met them twice already this season so we have learnt about them and we`ve had the videos on them as well.

'The important thing for us is that we try to play the football we practice at Carrington from the first minute. If we do that I think we will be okay.'

He then goes on to talk about the dreaded penalties: 'I had a good record in other countries if not over here. I think we are prepared for that because when we play out there [training pitch], every time it`s a draw, we have a penalty shoot-out. So we practice that a lot, but they are always difficult because after 90 plus 30 minutes on the pitch you can`t prepare who`s going to take them beforehand.'

Manchester City Team News:

The big question is whether Nery Castillo is going to play alongside Elano or just go with the Brazilian on his own?

Rolando Bianchi, Stephen Ireland and Gelson Fernandes all came on as substitutes at Goodison Park and will be hoping for starting berths.

Michael Johnson (abdominal strain) and Emile Mpenza (hamstring) are both ruled out through injury.

Valeri Bojinov remains sidelined with a knee injury but is set to resume training before the end of the month.

Player to watch: Martin Petrov

He has been great for us the last month or so and he can scare right backs into submission.

West Ham Team News:

Alan Curbishley's injury worries are beginning to ease and he should be able to welcome back captain Lucas Neill following a hamstring problem.

Julien Faubert made a brief debut late on against Fulham and could again make the squad as he continues his comeback from a ruptured Achilles.

Lee Bowyer and Luis Boa Morte will both be pushing for places in the side after substitute appearances on Saturday while James Collins is pressing for a start in the centre of defence.

However, Scott Parker (knee), Nolberto Solano (groin), Bobby Zamora (knee) and Craig Bellamy (abdominal) are all still out.

Player to watch: Dean Ashton

Should he play he can cause defences a lot of problems with his ability to use his power and strengths in the right areas as he did two seasons ago here in the quarter finals.

Match Facts & Stats

This is the fourth FA cup match that the two sides have met and City have yet to beat West Ham in this competition.

But City have only been beaten once in thirteen games and so it will be a tough ask for West Ham to break that trend.

West Ham come to City on the back of a victory over Fulham where they came from one nil down to win two one; where as City come into this match after a five match unbeaten run they played very poorly at Everton and lost.

Ref Watch:

Mark Clattenburg - his second City match this season; his first was the victorious Manchester Derby. It is also West Ham's second game; their first being a five nil thrashing away to Derby.

Match Prediction:

West Ham to run City very close but a late one nil victory for City in either normal or extra time.

Next Fixtures:

West Ham again at Home on Sunday with a 4pm kick off on Sky.




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The journalist

Writer: Gavin Cooper  Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday January 16 2008

Time: 5:33PM

Your Comments

A VITAL game for City in every sense and the same goes for the weekend. It's imperative the team wins both games and play some decent football in the process......And what's this? Mad Kev back at Newcastle...! A reprieve for Mr. Barton if he can avoid jail. You truly could not make it up.
Johnny Baguette
Keegan is the right choice, Congratulations to Newcastle and good luck to Kevin, And about today match I wish Eriksson do not start the game with castllo.
city 81
If he can buy vuruso for 3 mill and not play him, then maybe we can get 6 mill out of him for Sam Harris. One thing about KK his football is exciting. He got us where we are today and I will always be grateful for that and I hope if he is still at Newcastle when we play them again that he gets a warm welcome at COMS.
Buzz Lightyear
JB, I think he still has to appear re the DABO affair and then this one. He may get on the Strangeways team if convicted.
Buzz Lightyear
so i pick a city win by 2-0 in a tight game with the hammers thinking you are easy now you've had a loss
ozanne park rangers
JB, agree we desparately need a win and a good performance, Sheffield United the incentive. Rather than Seventh place in the Prem I rather like to think it is joint fourth.
Buzz Lightyear
Well we got the win but not the performance, the only good thing it was the kind of game we would have lost last year. A good job Ashton is not back to his best yet or it could have been a very different result. We can now kick on and get a result on Saturday and progress further in the Cup
alphieblues
Alphieb you have to give credit to Hart for stang big, just like Schmeichel and Pat Jennings used to. it does put the striker off. Credit also to Corluka, defense midfield back to defense, he gives it everything. Some really great defense by Richards. WHAM came to play like us on the counter attack, played really well defensively and stopped us from creating chances.
Buzz Lightyear
I am sorry El Diablo got injured but as luck would have it, Bianchi changed the game and Petrov then had someone to aim at. WHAM are big at the back and I am old fashioned and like an old fashioned centre forward. Bianchi is getting better and we played much better in the second half when Elano played more up front and because he is used to Petrov the passing got better and the chances started to come. If they play on Sunday like they did in the second half then we should get something from the game.
Buzz Lightyear
A good result for City and keeps the eurpoean dream alive on two fronts... who is up next ?... Sheffield United. That won't be an easy game but it'll probably mean yur in the hat for the 5th ...unless you slip up..
Chix
A possible cup final appearence? Didn't West Ham reach the final a couple of years ago after knocking you out. May be the reverse will happen?
storagematt
Two boring sides both wanting to play counter attacking football. Bet we all cant wait for the goal fest that awaits us on sun. (not)
SHOE HAMMER
Well Done City Scuppered The Vermin..!
horseworrier
Thanks for all your postings footy friends! Last night was yet another classic example of a game that City would have lost in previous seasons. We've become so conditioned to that over the years, we have to pinch ourselves when Sven's side pulls a victory out of the bag! Essentially, this weekend's league clash in Part 4 of City v The Hammers is the most important of all the games to date. Both sides must win to maintain European aspirations. For City, it's all the moreso in the build up to playing the rags and Arsenal.
Johnny Baguette
 

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