West Ham travel to Manchester City on Saturday in the hope of obtaining the points needed to make them mathematically safe from relegation. It would take a miracle for anyone to catch them now, however, so the team should be relaxed and confident. Manchester City have little to play for now that Manchester United have sealed the Premiership title, and it remains to be seen how the City players will respond to this relatively meaningless fixture. For Man City, James Milner, Sergio Agüero and David Silva are fit again and come into the reckoning, and for West Ham everyone is fit bar Tomkins and McCartney. In midfield, Big Sam may be tempted to rest either Diame or O’Neill with Mark Noble pressing for a recall. Up front Joe Cole could replace Vaz Te. The defence should remain unchanged.
If Manchester City were still vying for the title, I would have gone for a home win here, but the mercenary nature of the City squad and the greater team spirit and work ethic of the Hammers gives me hope that they could pull off a shock here and take all 3 points back to London. There is no doubting the quality of the Man City squad, but Sam Allardyce has got the defence very organised and solid, and I take them to repel the City front line that could include old boy Carlos Tevez who, if he plays, is sure to receive a adoring welcome from the away support. Andy Carroll should continue his fine form and is fancied to score again, and Winston Reid is also due another goal in what has been an outstanding season from him.
Look out for a round of applause tomorrow in memory of Marc-Vivien Foe who played for both Man City and West Ham, and who tragically died in 2003 playing for Cameroon. His shirt number for Man City was 23, and they retired the shirt after his death. The tribute to him is due to start on 23 minutes.
In other news, Barry Hearn has been defeated in his attempt to seek yet another judicial review of the process to award the Olympic Stadium to West Ham. If true to his word, he should finally give up his battle to share the stadium with the Hammers. Despite his claims that he was fighting for the survival of his club Leyton Orient, his actions smack of those of an opportunist riding coattails on the back of the West Ham bid, hoping for a ride on the OS gravy train. The ironic thing is, because of his actions, West Ham now have to pay far less for the Olympic Stadium than they would have had to originally.