West Ham United – Manchester City (Capital One Cup)
It would take Sam Allardyce’s guys nothing shorter than a miracle to turn the semi-final around and go through in the Capital One Cup. In the first leg, two weeks ago, Manchester City did their usual thing at home and hammered West Ham 6-0. The main interest this time will be Pellegrini’s selection for the starting XI.
West Ham United’s goalkeper Adrián should have been named Man of the Match on the first leg. Were not for his saves and the Citizens would have netted a few more. It was heart-breaking to watch, he might as well have mannequins in front of him. Half way through the Hammers were all over the place and not in a good way. From the stands the home supporters sang “We lose every week, your not that special”. Thank God for sense of humour.
Kevin Nolan and James Tomkins are once again available after suspension. Winston Reid is out due to injury. Vaz Te, Demel and O’Brien are all in doubt. Andy Carroll should continue to be eased back into the squad from the bench.
Probable line-up: Adrián — McCartney, Collins, Tomkins, Rat — Morrison, Noble — Downing, Nolan, Joe Cole — Carlton Cole.
Manchester City are currently pursuing four different trophies — League, League Cup, FA Cup and Champions League, not necessarily in that order. The accumulation of fixtures has been overwhelming and taken it’s toll in injuries. No other roster in the football world has as many options to deal with it, though. Kun Aguero, Citizens top scorer and leading man missed out 9 ties in all competitions and still they have 103 goals so far this season. Remarkable! Nine days ago Nasri was brutally hurt by countryman Manga-Mbiwa in the clash against Tottenham and will be sidelined for two months. Losing such a key player, that will most likely miss the European tie with Barcelona, could break apart a squad. Not City. It’s certainly a blow but Pellegrini moves Silva in the middle and gives Navas and Milner the wings. Playing as they have been lately there’s no reason for worries. So far they have been successful in all fronts. Second on the table, one point behind the leaders. Semi-finals of the Capital One Cup, fifth round of the FA Cup, knock-out stages of the Champions League, and rolling.
On the first leg of this FA Cup semi-final Manchester City beat West Ham 6-0. Negredo had his night, scoring a hat-trick (12’, 26’, 49’), all good examples of his exquisite skills as a striker. Yaya Touré had his moment too, just before the break. And then Dzeko grabbed his chance and did two of his own.
Nasri, Jovetic and Rodwell are City casualties at the moment.
Probable line-up: Pantilimon — Richards, Nastasic, Lescott, Clichy — Fernandinho, Javi Garcia — Navas, Aguero, Milner — Dzeko.
Manager Manuel Pellegrini said recentely that was hard to keep Sergio Aguero in the bench so it’s possible he will take the opportunity to bring the Argentinian back in to the fold slowly. He may also take it to rest Touré. He picked up a few nocks and a night out is just what he needs to get rid of those. Sam Allardyce may be tempted to spare some of his players, since this semi is decided. But if he does West Ham United risk another devastating score-board and that is even heavier on a team than any schedule.