Being a West Ham fan is pretty surreal thing at the moment.
Not in a million years did we expect to be where we are at this stage of the season after that win over Spurs on the final day of last term. Many expected us to be under the guidance of a new manager and once again finding our way in what is by far the most unforgiving league in the world.
But here we are, still under Allardyce, playing attractive football, watching some brilliant summer signings and sitting pretty in fourth. Fourth. Pretty mental that, isn’t it?
And now, what makes this whole thing even more surreal is that we have an actual top four clash against champions Manchester City on Saturday. When was the last time we could say that?
We’re not expected to beat City, nor are we expected to snatch a draw. But all of that doesn’t matter because, regardless of what we’re expected to do, our performances so far this season have been proof that we are good enough to give City a game and one that we can take something from.
But if we don’t then I’m in no doubt that we’ll come away pleased with the performance and in good confidence heading into our next run of games, which looks pretty pleasing.
We’ve got games against Stoke, Aston Villa, Everton and Newcastle in November, and then West Brom, Swansea, Sunderland and Leicester before Boxing Day’s trip to Chelsea. That, in short, is a run of games where we can pick up the points that will go along way in securing a top ten finish and perhaps set us up for a battle for Europe?
Too premature for such positive talk? Who cares? We’re on the up and confidence is high, which is the first time we’ve been able to boast that in the Premier League since Allardyce took over.
Prediction: Score draw. The European dream continues for another week.
West Ham United (4th, 13 points)
Cheikhou Kouyate and James Tomkins both return from injury, but Andy Carroll is still a couple of weeks away from full fitness despite returning to training this week.
Other than that Sam Allardyce has no fresh injury concerns.
Manchester City (2nd, 17 points)
Frank Lampard misses out after picking up a thigh problem against Tottenham last weekend.
Samir Nasri is also sidelined due to a groin problem that needed surgery.
Potential Starting XI
Last 10 Meetings
|11 May 2014||Premier League||Etihad Stadium||L 2-0|
|21 Jan 2014||League Cup Sem-Final 2nd Leg||Boleyn Ground||L 3-0|
|8 Jan 2014||League Cup Semi-Final 1st Leg||Etihad Stadium||L 6-0|
|19 Oct 2013||Premier League||Boleyn Ground||L 3-1|
|27 Apr 2013||Premier League||Etihad Stadium||L 2-1|
|3 Nov 2012||Premier League||Boleyn Ground||D 0-0|
|1 May 2011||Premier League||Etihad Stadium||L 2-1|
|11 Dec 2010||Premier League||Boleyn Ground||L 3-1|
|9 May 2010||Premier League||Boleyn Ground||D 1-1|
|28 Sep 2009||Premier League||Etihad Stadium||L 3-1|
Match in Numbers
10 – Man City are unbeaten in their last ten meetings with the Hammers in all competitions
1 – West Ham have won just one of their last seven league meetings with Man City at Upton Park
15 – Only four Premier League teams have scored more goals than West Ham’s 15 so far this term
5 – Diafra Sakho has scored five goals in his last five Premier League games for the Hammers
8 – But City’s Sergio Aguero has scored eight in his last five outings in all competitions
Head-to-Head (all competitions)
|Played||Won||Drawn||Lost||For||Against||GD +/-||Win %|