Preview: West Ham United v Manchester City
With the pressure off for both sides, and the disappointment of Wednesday night still fresh in City limbs, this match feels like an unnecessary distraction before both clubs get down to the serious business of preparing for next season.
Following a draining game on Wednesday night, it would make sense to rotate the squad reagardless of the fact the game is a dead rubber. For the likes of Nedum Onuoha and Micah Richards, this could be an indication of whether they figure in the manager’s future plans. If Stephen Ireland were fit, it would be great to see him get a game.
Motivation could be a concern, and those looking to secure World Cup places might be the ones with the most. Step forward Patrick Vieira, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Adam Johnson.
This is the first time Roberto Mancini’s managed a less than vital game, so it will be interesting to see what team is selected. The manager has shown himself willing to give youth a chance and there could be a run out for Boyata, Cunningham, Ibrahim and Nimely. Hopefully some of these will be on the bench at least.
It’s to be hoped we don’t take the fixture to lightly as a win would secure fifth place and give us 69 points for the season, just one off the alleged target. Psychologically this would be a boost in showing that we only need a slight improvement next season to finish in the top four.
Showing how close we are would be useful for Brian Marwood when he’s trying to secure new signings.
While speculation about Roberto Mancini’s future has been quelled by the chairman, the same cannot be said for West Ham’s Italian manager. Aside from picking up the victories required to keep them in the Premier League, Zola’s side have been in poor form lately.
If we retain the discipline that Mancini demands from his side, then a professional performance from City should be enough to secure a final victory.
Blue Days line-up: Fulop, Richards, Bridge, Onuoha, Kompany, de Jong, Vieira, Wright-Phillips, A Johnson, Tevez, Adebayor.
Prediction: 3-1 to City.