After a 5-0 thrashing at the hands of lower league opposition, the last place you want to go for your next game is the Etihad Stadium.
Manchester City have scored a total of 54 in 14 matches at the Etihad so far this season and will certainly be licking their lips at the prospect of facing a West Ham side with just one recognised centre-half in the match day squad.
The fact we’ve even reached this stage in the competition is something of a miracle in the first-place. Given the season we’ve had so far, it wouldn’t have been a surprise if we had been beaten by Cheltenham Town in the second round, so to be in the semi-final after beating Spurs at White Hart Lane in the fifth round is quite remarkable.
Many, including West Ham’s most dedicated and passionate of supporters, will have written us off already. It’s not rocket science to work out that we have a monumental task on our hands if we are to make it to Wembley. But it’s not impossible.
We will at least have a squad of first-team players travelling for this game, which gives us a better chance of avoiding an embarrassing result, but the sheer lack of quality we have compared to City means our most likely objective is to ensure we’re still in the tie when we come back to the Boleyn Ground for the second leg in two weeks.
Verdict: Let’s stay positive – 2-1 loss. At least we’d still be in it.
Jesus Navas has been ruled out with a knee injury, while Sergio Aguero and Micah Richards are not yet ready for a return to action since recovering from their injuries.
West Ham United
Roger Johnson will go straight in to the squad after joining on loan from Wolves yesterday.
Captain Kevin Nolan serves the second of a four game ban, while Andy Carroll, Winston Reid, James Collins, James Tomkins and Ricardo Vaz Te remain sidelined through injury.
But Allardyce could recall Mark Noble to the side after recovering from a thigh injury picked up in the 2-1 defeat to Fulham on New Year’s Day.
Words from the Managers:
Manuel Pellegrini, Manchester City manager…
“Tomorrow is one of the two games of the semi-final of Capital One, it is very important we play here it home and I suppose we are going to have to have a very good performance to try to win against West Ham.
“They had an awful result [against Nottingham Forest], but I don’t think they played their best starting eleven. I think they played with young players and I am absolutely sure it will be a very different game here to what they played on Sunday – so it’s important for our team to play well and try to win.”
Sam Allardyce, West Ham United manager…
“We don’t have to beat City on Wednesday night, we have to come back with something realistic to beat them at home if we can.
“We have to stay as focussed as we can and we have to nullify what is a great attacking force at home. Everybody knows what that is and how good that is. We have to work along the lines of what Crystal Palace did recently, which was be very well organised, be a very well structured team that makes it extremely difficult for the talents that Manchester City have got.
“Hopefully we can do that and when we come to the end of the game it’s only half-time at that stage.”
Last 10 Meetings:
Match in Numbers:
9 – The Hammers have scored nine goals in four League Cup games this season.
2 – West Ham been losing finalists twice in the League Cup (1966 & 1981)
1 – West Ham have just once at the Etihad Stadium – the 2-1 FA Cup quarter-final victory in 2006.
0 – None of Manchester City’s League Cup goals this season have come from an Englishman.
3 – City have lost their last three League Cup semi-final ties.
5 – While the Hammers have lost five or their last six League Cup semi-finals.
4 – Edin Dzeko had scored four goals in City’s three League Cup ties this season.
20 – West Ham have scored in 20 of their last 21 League Cup matches.
5 – City are unbeaten in their last seven meetings with the Hammers, winning five.
7 – City have gone seven League Cup semi-final first legs without keeping a clean sheet.
24 – While the Hammers have conceded 24 goals in their last eight League Cup semi-final first legs.
0 – West Ham have never kept a clean sheet in a Capital One Cup semi-final first leg fixture.
250 – If he plays, Carlton Cole will make his 250th first-team appearance for the Hammers.
Head-to-Head (all competitions):
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