Paul Merson has told SkySports that the extent of Manchester City's crisis will be determined by their result against West Ham.
With the Hammers in poor form, failure to beat them at The Etihad would be seen as another poor result for Manuel Pellegrini's City.
City are in fourth place after losing to Manchester United at Old Trafford last weekend, and need to be wary of Liverpool chasing them down for the position.
"West Ham are the perfect opposition at the moment. Sam Allardyce’s men are on a bad run themselves, having just won one of their last 11 matches.
"However, they are in no danger of relegation and will not trouble the European places, so if City cannot pick up three points here there will be serious questions to answer for Pellegrini and his squad."
For West Ham, an away win victory would be a major result, regardless of the context of the soon to be deposed reigning champions' poor form.
The Hammers came into the year with aspirations to finish in a Europa League spot, now they are at risk of slipping out of the top half altogether.
Speculation over manager Sam Allardyce's job continues to swirl with each passing game, both he and Manuel Pellegrini are in dire need of three points - and a draw will help nobody.
City's home form remains the fourth best in the top flight this season, while West Ham's away record ranks as the 13th.