Manchester City v West Ham, Premier League, September 28, 2009
West Ham, with only one win so far this season, face the daunting task of heading up to Eastlands on Monday nightÂ with Mark Hughes’ sideÂ eager to return to winning ways in the Premier League.
Gianfranco Zola has struggled to get his Hammers performing consistently this season, and the tiny Italian will likely have to juggle his troops once again as his squad carry a group of players nursing injuries.
West Ham could include their new strikers Guillermo Franco and Alessandro Diamanti (19/2 to score & West Ham win) in their matchday squad, both strikers looking to play alongside Carlton Cole (9/1 to score first) in the attack, while Jack Collison and Kieron Dyer (40/1 to score a brace) will also make the trip up to Manchester having missed the last two matches with injuries. Zola is also hopeful that England defender Matthew Upson will have recovered from a calf injury, while Luis Jimenez will also be hoping to return to the team after having been sidelined with a thigh strain.
Completing the list of the walking wounded, midfielder Valon Behrami is doubtful for the match with a back injury he suffered in last week’s defeat against Liverpool.
The news is far brighter for the Citizens after their extra time win in the Carling Cup against Fulham last week.
Emmanuel Adebayor remains suspended following his antics against Arsenal several weeks back, but City striker Craig Bellamy (13/10 to score & City win), who was virtually unplayable against Manchester United in the last round of league fixtures, is set to face his former club after the Welshman avoided punishment for his confrontation with a supporter in the derby.
Roque Santa Cruz (5/1 to score last) is poised to make his long awaited debut since his Â£17m move from Blackburn after the Paraguayan came through 45 minutes of a training-ground friendly against Wrexham on Wednesday, as did Michael Johnson, the largely forgotten midfielder who has suffered from a year-long groin problem.
Completing City’s embarrassment of riches is Argentine Carlos Tevez (9/2 to score first), whoÂ plays againstÂ his first Premier League club where he caused so much trouble with his illegal contract status.
101predicts: Manchester City 3 – West Ham 0 (17/2)
Full match odds here.