Manchester City preview

Barclays Premier League
West Ham United v Manchester City
Boleyn Ground
Sunday 1 March
Referee: Mike Dean


• West Ham United return to top-flight action with the visit of Manchester City to the Boleyn Ground on Sunday lunchtime, with a sell-out crowd expected.

• The club are ninth in the standings, one point and one place better off than City. The highest West Ham can rise with a win after the weekend games is seventh - depending on the fortunes of seventh-placed Wigan Athletic and eight-ranked Fulham away to Chelsea and Arsenal respectively. Wigan are two points ahead and Fulham one.

• Gianfranco Zola said: "Sunday is a very important match and the players know it. We will see what we can do. It is a tough match but we know how important it is for us and we are not willing to lose it. I don't think we are far away from a win. The players know what they have to do and I am sure they will get back to the winning habit."

• Mark Hughes said: "We are keeping trying to tell people we are fairly early in our progression and development. Where we are at this moment in time is right on track, it was never going to happen overnight. We have a group of players now that understand the pressures that will be placed on them. We have to deal with that and they are standing up to be counted."

• After 26 games last season, the club were also in ninth place but were four points adrift of eighth spot. A week later the club were tenth, and stayed in that position for the rest of the season.

• The club has 12 games remaining this season - six at home and six away. The teams still to visit the Boleyn Ground are City, West Bromwich Albion, Sunderland, Chelsea, Liverpool and Middlesbrough. The six away games are Wigan Athletic, Blackburn Rovers, Tottenham Hotspur, Aston Villa, Stoke City and Everton.

• West Ham have only lost once in the ten league games this season where the team have scored first - at home to Everton on 8 November.

• Manchester City have not lost in the last seven meetings between the teams in all competitions - four of those came last season before the 3-0 win for the home team at the City of Manchester Stadium on 24 August 2008.

• The last West Ham success was a 1-0 home league win on 15 April 2006 when Shaun Newton scored on 15 minutes. Danny Gabbidon, James Collins and Dean Ashton all started in that fixture but are sidelined this weekend. Richard Dunne, Micah Richards and Darius Vassell were in the City first eleven.

• West Ham United's biggest home win against Manchester City was a 6-1 success in the old First Division on 18 May 1963. The club also won by the same margin in the away fixture that season on 8 September 1962.

• Manchester City have won just once on the road in league action this season - a 3-0 win at Sunderland back on 31 August.

• The two clubs met four times last season.

The 2007/08 league season started with City's trip to the Boleyn Ground on 11 August and it was the first game in charge for manager Sven-Goran Eriksson, who lasted only a season. Rolando Bianchi (18) and Geovanni (87) scored both goals.

That was followed by the first FA Cup third-round meeting on 5 January again in east London when neither side could break the deadlock in a contest that saw Robert Green and Joe Hart excel.

The replay at the City of Manchester Stadium was again a tight affair and only a 73rd-minute headed goal from Elano separated the sides. The final meeting last season was the 1-1 league draw four days later on 20 January. Carlton Cole scored a terrific overhead kick in the eighth minute before Darius Vassell struck a 16th-minute equaliser.


• Sunday's referee is Mike Dean

Last time out

Wednesday 25 February - Middlesbrough 2-0 West Ham United (FA Cup)
West Ham United: Green, Neill, Tomkins, Upson, Ilunga, Behrami, Parker, Noble (Collison 56), Kovac (Tristan 69), Cole, Sears (Di Michele 57)
Subs not used: Lastuvka, Lopez, Savio, Spector
Booked: Behrami

Thursday 26 February - Manchester City 2-1 FC Copenhagen (UEFA Cup)
Manchester City: Given, Zabaleta (Elano 82), Onuoha, Dunne, Richards, Wright-Phillips, Ireland, Kompany, Bridge, Robinho, Bellamy
Subs not used: Hart, Garrido, Berti, Vassell, Caicedo, Evans
Goals: Bellamy 73, 80

West Ham United

• Mark Noble is serving a one-match suspension after picking up his fifth caution of the season away to Bolton Wanderers last weekend.

• Valon Behrami will miss the midweek trip to Wigan Athletic for the same reason after being cautioned in Wednesday's defeat at Middlesbrough.

• Robert Green, in line for his 100th appearance for the club, is the only player who has played every minute of every league game for the club this season. Matthew Upson has started every game.

• Carlton Cole is the leading league scorer with eight goals, along with a further two in the cup competitions.

Manchester City

• Shaun Wright-Phillips is serving the last game of a three-match ban and will miss the contest. Nigel De Jong returns after being ineligible for European duty midweek.

• Robinho has scored eleven league goals this season.

• Craig Bellamy scored seven goals in 24 league games for West Ham United between July 2007 and January 2009. He moved to Manchester City for an undisclosed fee on 19 January.

Team news

• January transfer window signing Savio is pushing for his first start in a West Ham United shirt and could compete with Jack Collison to replace the suspended Mark Noble.

• Czech Republic international Radoslav Kovac, 29, who has arrived at the Boleyn Ground from Russian side Spartak Moscow on loan until the end of the season with a view to a permanent move, could make his home debut after starting against Middlesbrough.

• Dean Ashton (ankle), James Collins (hamstring), Luis Boa Morte (groin), Danny Gabbidon (stomach-back) and Kieron Dyer (calf) are not under consideration.

• Ashton underwent successful ankle surgery on his left ankle earlier this month to aid his rehab while Gabbidon continues to make progress on his long-term problems related to an abdominal injury. Both are aiming to be fit before the end of the season - although may not play any part this campaign.

• Dyer is thought to be a fortnight away from a possible training return while Boa Morte and Collins could be back before the end of March.

• The 19-year-old academy products Bondz 'Gala, a central defender, and winger Junior Stanislas have both been part of the matchday squads in recent weeks.

• Mark Hughes has concerns in midfield with Shaun Wright-Phillips suspended and Gelson Fernandes doubtful with a hamstring strain. However, Nigel De Jong is available again after being unable to play against Copenhagen on Thursday.

• Long-term injury victim Valeri Bojinov continued his comeback with 90 minutes for City's reserves in a 2-1 defeat by Manchester United this week. The striker scored City's goal from the penalty spot.

Last meeting

• The teams met for the first match on Sunday 24 August 2008, when City ran out 3-0 winners against the ten-man Hammers.

The lineups were:

Manchester City: Hart, Corluka, Richards (Hamann 54), Ben-Haim, Ball, Ireland, Kompany, Johnson, Petrov (Etuhu 77), Elano (Evans 77), Sturridge
Subs not used: Schmeichel, Garrido, Fernandes, Caicedo
Goals: Sturridge 65, Elano 70, 76

West Ham United: Green, Behrami, Davenport, Upson, Neill, Faubert, Noble (sent-off 38), Parker, Etherington (Boa Morte 74), Ashton, Cole (Sears 31, Mullins 46)
Subs not used: Lastuvka, Spence, Reid, Bowyer
Booked: Behrami, Noble

Head to head (last six meetings, league unless stated)

24 August 2008 - Manchester City 3-0 West Ham United
20 January 2008 - Manchester City 1-1 West Ham United
16 January 2008 - Manchester City 1-0 West Ham United (FA Cup)
5 January 2008 - West Ham United 0-0 Manchester City (FA Cup)
11 August 2007 - West Ham United 0-2 Manchester City
30 December 2006 - West Ham United 0-1 Manchester City

Overall record v Manchester City (all competitions) W 34 D 14 L 39

Next up

• West Ham United travel to Wigan Athletic on Wednesday night, kick-off 7.45pm, with Manchester City welcoming Aston Villa to Eastlands at the same time.

General information

• For ticket information, click here

• Please note there is planned engineering works on London Underground. Click here for more information

• Sunday lunchtime's weather forecast is for a cloud day with some sunshine, with the temperature set to peak at around 12C.