Last Saturday, when we simply were not good enough to trouble Wigan on there own pitch, should have served as a wake-up call. Having made a good start to the season, Big Sam did warn that we face a difficult run of fixtures and a run that might well see our points return diminish. Could that be the case when a multi-talented title winning (last season) Manchester City arrive at Upton Park this Saturday, or can we pull a performance out of the bag to shock Roberto Manicini and his bunch of over-paid mercenaries?
I suppose that if we are to take all three points and put a dent in Manchester City`s aspiration of retaining their Premier League title, then we`ll need Andy Carroll to be on top of his game, it might also help if Carroll could get that vital first goal for West Ham as well.
But, not having gotten on the score-sheet yet, for West Ham, doesn`t bother Big Sam who, ahead of the game, has remarked about the on-loan striker,
“I think he`s a little frustrated by it but that`s the issue.”
“I don`t think frustration helps you. I think you like to come, start and get off the mark as quickly as you possibly can.”
“So we have to keep providing the service and eventually, he`ll start putting it in the net, we hope. The more he plays with our players, the more he can start to read how the situation develops and hopefully get on the end of it.”
“What I do think is that he`s not just a goal-scorer. That`s 90 per cent of his game.”
“I think he`s an all-round front man in terms of his hold-up play and his movement as well as his ability to score goals.”
“The fans at West Ham love committed players and I think Andy wears his heart on his sleeve.”
And when he does score the roof will lift off Upton Park.
West Ham Team News:
Absentees from the party under consideration for selection for this vital fixture are Guy Demel, Ricardo Vaz Te, Matt Taylor and Jack Collison.
Demel, we were told earlier this week, is a couple of weeks away from being available whilst for Jack Collison the long fight to get back to full fitness continues with Big Sam Allardyce remarking about the injury troubled Welshman,
“Jack is moving slowly towards starting training with the team. That`s been a long haul for him.”
Elsewhere, the grapevine is suggesting that Big Sam might try partnering Magia with Carroll to really get amongst the City defence.
Player to watch: Mark Noble
His brace, in the last home fixture at Upton Park was most welcome, approaching his best form, wouldn`t it be great if Nobles industrious work in the middle of the park was to play a major part in undoing City!
Manchester City Team News:
Roberto Mancini brings his expensively assembled squad to Upton Park with some key players out through injury.
Missing from his squad will be David Silva, Jack Rodwell, Maicon and Micah Richards.
Hoping to return after injury are Javi Garcia and Pablo Zabaleta whilst James Milner is available for selection again after completing his recent suspension.
Player to watch: Sergio Aguero
Star quality and able to change the outcome of a game in a flash, not much more to say is there!
Match Facts & Stats
The history books show that West Ham don`t farewell in games against City, at Upton Park, with City boasting a record that shows them having lost only 1 of the last 12 whilst also having lost none of the last four.
On the other hand, if West Ham could manage to pull off a victory we`d equal our best ever start to a Premier League season whereby we had 17 points after 10 games, back in 1999/2000, a season whereby we finished tenth!
Our officials for this fixture are – Howard Webb (referee), D. Cann (assistant), P. Bankes (assistant) and Lee Mason (fourth official)
Manchester City probably represent out strongest test since our return to the Premier League. This Saturday we could find out just how far we`ve come of just how far we`ve left to travel if we harbour ambitions of amid-table finish. Whilst my heart predicts a West Ham win my head tells me that the best we can probably hope for is a share of the points, anything else will be a bonus.
Our next fixture is another difficult looking one when we travel to St James Park, to take on Newcastle, next weekend.