From the eastern bloc to the East End – West Ham v Man City

Scythed down by the sickle of old Mother Russia in midweek, Manchester City must guard against the other tool that adorned the former Soviet Union flag, the Hammer, when they travel to London’s East End.

Moscow was freezing, uninviting, cruel and criminal whereas recent trips to West Ham have proved warm, welcoming and rewarding affairs for City.

Cold War - City received an icy reception in Moscow and seemingly froze in the second half. Courtesy@MCFC

Cold War – City received an icy reception in Moscow and seemingly froze in the second half. Courtesy@MCFC

Last season’s six-goal haul in two wins at Upton Park, contributed to City’s domination of Sam Allardyce’s blunt instruments, totalling four wins, fourteen goals scored and just one conceded.

It extended City’s unbeaten run over the less than happy Hammers to 10 games in all competitions, including eight wins.

Happy days - City celebrate the opening goal in their 2-0 win as they clinch the title back in May. Courtesy@MCFC

Happy days – City celebrate the opening goal in their 2-0 win as they clinch the title back in May. Courtesy@MCFC

Manuel Pellegrini’s men will once again start as favourites – despite their Muscovite mishap – but a more enterprising West Ham will fancy themselves to forge a change in fortune against the champions, here are the odds according to William Hill 

Big/Fat (you decide) Sam is running a leaner machine than in recent times, and fourth place in the Premier League is testimony to a tasty start to the season for the Irons.

Could it be that the West Ham fans are on the verge of having a team whose performances come close to that of one of the most loyal, loud and proud band of supporters?

The travelling West Ham contingent were magnificent on May 11th when City sealed their second Premier League title in three years.

Champion show - West Ham fans were magtnificent in May as they saw City beat their team to win the Premier League. Courtesy @MCFC

Champion show – West Ham fans were magnificent in May as they saw City beat their team to win the Premier League. Courtesy @MCFC

The 1,680 men women and children who’d travelled ‘norf’ in claret and blue garb saluted the newly crowned Champions of England, mingled with giddy City fans and enjoyed the spectacle of the occasion.

Glory days of Bobby Moore, Martin Peters and Geoff Hurst are long since past, but your average Iron will still tell you that West Ham won the World Cup in 1966.

They, like City’s loyal and long suffering fans, deserve some time in the sun after decades of under achievement, mismanagement and chronic disappointment…just ‘leave it out’ until after Saturday lunchtime!

Jet-lagged and potentially jaded after their second half suicide mission in Moscow, aided and abetted by horrific, culpable homicide penalty decisions from Hungarian ref Istvan Vad, City cannot afford any CSKA hangover.

Merlin in Moscow - Even the magical David Silva couldn't help City conjure a win against CSKA. Courtesy@MCFC

Merlin in Moscow – Even the magical David Silva couldn’t help City conjure a win against CSKA. Courtesy@MCFC

Pellegrini knows he faces a West Ham side brimming with self belief, courtesy of a 3-1 home demolition of Brenda’s Liverpool braves and the cruel denial of a well deserved draw against Louis’ Gaalacticos at The Swamp.

If City are to once again leave West Ham barking mad and take the three points on offer, they’re going to have work for it.

Unfortunately Super Frankie Lampard will not be available to incur the wrath and ire of a crowd that used to adore the skills of one of their own. An injured thigh muscle keeps him out, along with the fast recovering, post surgical Samir Nasri.

Ooh la la - Samir celebrates City's 101st PL goal of the last campaign, but he'll be missing at Upton Park. Courtesy @MCFC

Ooh la la – Samir celebrates City’s 101st PL goal of the last campaign, but he’ll be missing at Upton Park. Courtesy @MCFC

Other than that, Pellegrini has a fully fit squad and one that must atone for 49 scandalous minutes of unfathomable Champions League ineptitude.

Just what the hell did happen at CSKA? There’s perhaps more chance of finding Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, Lord Lucan and Shergar before someone can adequately explain.

Any reoccurrence of whatever afflicted the Boys In Blue on Tuesday night will give unhealthy encouragement to the Royal Blues of Chelski, as they prepare for a visit to the Theatre of Screams.

God knows it doesn’t happen often, but a lot of City fans will be hoping Manure avoid defeat against Moanrinho to help City peg back the five point deficit. Wishing the Trafford Troglodytes a morale boosting win before the Manchester derby would be pushing it too much.

Prodigal son -  Super Frankie will deprive the West Ham boo boys of his presence as he recovers from injury.Courtesy@MCFC

Prodigal son – Super Frankie will deprive the West Ham boo boys of his presence as he recovers from injury.Courtesy@MCFC

Having seen his 4-4-2 formation fail to deliver in Europe for the umpteenth time, Pellegrini knows the battlefields of the Premier League provide more fertile furrows.

In Sergio Aguero, City suddenly find themselves with the Premier League’s joint top scorer (9 goals) after his one man demolition of Spurs last weekend. Add two goals in the Champions League to his tally and he has 11 goals in 11 games (including three as substitute).

It’s not so much scoring goals, but conceding them, that has been City’s problem thus far.

Sizzling - Sergio has 9 goals in 8 Premier League appearances so far this season. Courtesy@MCFC

Sizzling – Sergio has 9 goals in 8 Premier League appearances so far this season. Courtesy@MCFC

In 12 competitive games they’ve only kept three clean sheets, and that’s after strengthening the back line with Eliaquim Mangala and Bacary Sagna.

City’s defence will be tested by two of Sam’s summer signings – £12m Ecuadorian Enner Valencia and Diafra Sakho, the Senegalese striker bought from Metz.

Having been told to provide a more attractive playing style by his board of directors, Allardyce appears, at this stage, to be satisfying their wishes with 15 PL goals – only four teams have scored more.

Great form - Joe has been playing to his best but City are finding clean sheets hard to come by. Courtesy@MCFC

Great form – Joe has been playing to his best but City are finding clean sheets hard to come by. Courtesy@MCFC

They already have four wins this season, a feat not achieved until mid-January last season, after 23 attempts, so credit where it’s due.

City have the best away record in the PL with three wins and a draw – 10 points – three more than the seven taken thus far at the traditional Fortress Etihad…most unusual.

As seems to be the norm at present, City cannot afford to drop any points and risk Chelsea surging seven or even eight points clear.

Expect a round of changes under Pellegrini’s squad rotation system. It could see Sagna and Clichy come in for Zabaleta and Kolarov, Demichelis for Mangala and even see a departure from 4-4-2 to 4-2-3-1 with Aguero supported by Yaya, Silva and Milner.

On the slide - Bacary Sagna and his team mates need to stop conceding goals if they are to progress in the Premier League and Champions League. Courtesy@MCFC

On the slide – Bacary Sagna and his team mates need to stop conceding goals if they are to progress in the Premier League and Champions League. Courtesy@MCFC

Fernando and Fernandinho would provide defensive midfield cover and allow Yaya to go in search of goals and his missing ‘mojo’ from last season.

Jovetic, Dzeko and Navas could give fresh impetus from the bench if required.

There’s a misperception that City are somehow struggling, but they have one more point at this stage of the season than last term and, Moscow aside, performance levels are on the rise.

Silva Strike - David finishes off the Hammers at 3-1 to record Manuel Pellegrini's first away win the the Premier League. Courtesy@MCFC Courtesy @MCFC

Silva Strike – David finishes off the Hammers at 3-1 to record Manuel Pellegrini’s first away win in the Premier League. Courtesy@MCFC
Courtesy @MCFC

They’ve beaten Liverpool and deserved to beat both Arsenal and Chelsea but had to settle for draws. It’s only Chelsea’s superb start that has cast any clouds domestically, so a more optimistic perspective wouldn’t go amiss.

That would soon change if the Hammers bludgeon City with their shiny new tool set. One can only hope the Engineer’s more refined approach will win the day.

 #TrustOurMP

By David Walker

Dedicated to Pete Murtha a great friend, successful entrepreneur and a diehard ‘Iron’ who makes helping youngsters with serious illness at the Birmingham Children’s Hospital his business #TOPMAN. Notwithstanding his kindness and compassion I hope he has a rotten Saturday lunchtime! 😉

 

www.readbutneverred.com @ReadButNeverRed @djwskyblu

 

 

10 Comments

  1. October 24, 2014  11:15 pm by Graham Ward Reply

    Let's hope that our good run against West Ham continues, we'll certainly have to improve on our second half showing in Moscow if that's going to be the case. I don't think there'll be a vast number of changes, maybe 3 or 4 (Clichy, Navas, Dzeko on his own, Aguero on the bench).
    2-1 City for me.

    • October 25, 2014  12:22 am by David Walker Reply

      City have the class & resolve to get the points but no, it won't be easy.

  2. October 25, 2014  1:16 am by stuart higham Reply

    Nice one David as usual, hope your right about the midfield

    • October 25, 2014  7:08 am by David Walker Reply

      I'll just be happy for Manuel to get the midfield right and City come away with three points!

  3. October 25, 2014  8:29 am by Samin Uzrath Reply

    Some sources saying Pellegrini might bench Aguero, who played full 180 minute in the last 2 games, and start with either of Dzeko or Jovetic instead. What do you think about the possibility of this happening, David?

    • October 25, 2014  1:42 pm by David Walker Reply

      With the benefit of hindsight - no ;-)

  4. October 27, 2014  5:27 pm by Pete Murtha Reply

    Sorry to ruin the party big man... up the hammers and thanks for the dedication!

    • October 27, 2014  10:54 pm by David Walker Reply

      You're not sorry at all you S-L-A-G ;-)

      At least you enjoyed yourself and I know you'll be keeping up all the great corporate responsibility work with the children. Let me know about the lad who supports MCFC and I'll see what I can do to cheer him up. Top man Pete and well played West Ham!

  5. October 28, 2014  8:29 am by Phil Taylor Reply

    when all is said and done we are still better off in the league than the same time last season. Remember all the fuss after Cardiff and Villa, and we still won the League! Carry on MP you are doing a good job.

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