For all the jubilation that ensued following Manchester City’s inaugural Premier League triumph in 2012, there was bound to come a time when the blue side of Manchester was brought crashing back down to earth.
For the City fans who still clung to the slim belief that they would successfully defend their title, Sunday’s defeat at White Hart Lane served as a reality check. By Monday, Roberto Mancini’s men had been dethroned by their neighbours.
West Ham travel to Eastlands on Saturday lunchtime to face a Manchester City side whose pride remains bruised following a disappointing week. The Hammers won a hard-fought point when these sides last met in November, thwarting every one of Manchester City’s 18 shots on goal. The defensive manner of that West Ham performance may go some way to explaining why City have struggled to replicate last season’s form.
But Mancini must now put everything behind him as he concentrates on a run-in that could have a direct impact on his future. With an FA Cup final looming and 15 points left to scrap for, City must use this period to prove they have the credentials to challenge for a second Premier League title next season.
KICK-OFF: Saturday, 12:45pm
PAST THREE MEETINGS…
West Ham 0 Manchester City 0, Premier League, November 2012
Manchester City 2 (De Jong, Zabaleta) West Ham 1 (Ba), Premier League, May 2011
West Ham 1 (Tomkins) Manchester City 3 (Y Toure 2, Johnson), Premier League, December 2010
The Hammers have one just one of the last ten Premier League meetings between these sides.
Roberto Mancini's men have not conceded a goal at the Etihad Stadium in five games in all competitions.
West Ham are unbeaten in five league matches (W2, D3).
At this stage last year City had 74 Premier League points, compared to this season’s 68.
Manchester City to win: 1.29
West Ham to win: 6.6
TV: Live on Sky Sports 2 at 12:45pm, highlights on BBC1 at 10.30pm.