West Ham vs Manchester City: Where the game will be won

West Ham Tube Sign

Manuel Pellegrini’s side want their first away win of the season, while the Hammers are on a roll after beating Tottenham.

One of the most intriguing Premier League fixtures this weekend will be Manchester City’s visit to Upton Park.

The Etihad Stadium outfit are yet to record a Premier League win on the road this season, and will have one eye on impending midweek Champions League responsibilities.

West Ham showed at White Hart Lane that they cannot be underestimated, and will look to add another scalp here. With that in mind, here are the key areas in which the result will be decided.

How will City cope without Kompany?

The City talisman is unlikely to play after picking up an injury and as such Pellegrini has decisions to make at the back. Martin Demichelis is available to make his debut, but chances are that he may well start from the bench, with Joleon Lescott and Matija Nastasic preferred.

West Ham would love to have Andy Carroll available to ruffle a few feathers, but will rely on Ricardo Vaz Te’s movement in the final third.

West Ham’s formation

Away from home and expecting to soak up a lot of pressure, Sam Allardyce displayed exceptional tactical nous against Tottenham. The Hammers lined up with no recognised striker, with the mobile Mohamed Diame the furthest man forward.

This allowed the Upton Park side to crowd the midfield, while runners from deep proved difficult to handle for Tottenham. Whether Allardyce persists with this or returns to a conventional formation remains to be seen.

Midfield maestros

Yaya Toure has been in sparkling form this season, creating and scoring goals for City. The Ivory Coast international will need to watched carefully, as alongside Fernandinho has the ability to take the game away from West Ham.

On the other side, Kevin Nolan will certainly pose a goal threat, and there is another player in form in the heart of the Hammers’ side. No, not Ravel Morrison; Mark Noble.

Noble has created 17 chances for team-mates this term, more than any player in the Premier League, and could be a surprising attacking component for the hosts if given space.

Ravel

Mr Morrrison has been in the press over the last couple of weeks for his superlative skill and individual brilliance, not just for West Ham bur for England under-21’s also.

His bad side was on show also, as an on-pitch bust-up with team-mate Wilfried Zaha threatened to take the gloss of a wonderful performance for Gareth Southgate’s team.

West Ham will hope to unleash Morrison on the counter-attack here, and the likes of Lescott, Nastasic or Demichelis will not want the 20-year-old running at them. Whether Morrison can get the required space to do damage will depend on the speed of West Ham’s counter attacks.

image: © Matthew Black

Register for MANCHESTER CITY team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch