Tue. Dec 7th, 2021

West Ham are on their way to the Carabao Cup clash in the fourth round with Manchester City in great shape after three victories in eight days.

The Hammers returned to battle after the international window with a 1-0 win over Everton before seeing Genk 3-0 in the Europa League and a 1-0 win in the London derby against Spurs. The matches are coming thick and fast for West Ham at the moment and things will not get any easier with Manchester City like next time.

The Hammers advanced to the fourth round after a fine 1-0 win over Manchester United in the last round, but now face the difficult task of taking on a team that has not lost in the Carabao Cup since a 1-0 loss to Manchester United in 2016. City have won the last four Carabao Cups and have had phenomenal 20 matches unbeaten in the competition, despite the fact that they have often made major changes to their team.

Pep Guardiola is again expected to appoint a rotating team to host West Ham, but such is their strength in depth, David Moyes and his team face a tough challenge at London Stadium.

Prior to the match football.london spoke with Manchester Evening News chief Manchester City writer Stuart Brennan for the downturn on Wednesday’s opponents.

How has Manchester City fared in the first two months of the season?

It was a slightly slow start with defeats to Leicester in the Community Shield and at Spurs on opening day, but since then there has been steady progress, culminating in four points from Chelsea and Liverpool away, and big wins in Bruges and Brighton. They are also playing great football at the moment.

Who are the players likely to start in the Carabao Cup that West Ham should be worried about?

Guardiola will almost certainly start all those who did not start in Brighton, but he has a habit of picking strong sides in the cup tournaments. We are waiting for Sterling’s condition after he missed the trip to the south coast this weekend, but Kevin De Bruyne, Riyad Mahrez, Fernandinho, John Stones, Nathan Ake and Aleks Zinchenko should all step in. The exciting young Cole Palmer also has a chance after his latest Champions League goal.

Fernandinho lifts Carabao Cup in 2021, Manchester City wins the trophy for the fourth year in a row (Photo by CARL RECINE / POOL / AFP via Getty Images)
Fernandinho lifts Carabao Cup in 2021, Manchester City wins the trophy for the fourth year in a row (Photo by CARL RECINE / POOL / AFP via Getty Images)

Are there any injuries or withdrawal problems left that need to be resolved before the match?

Sterling remained in Manchester after suffering a sore back and a decision on him will stand until late. Other than that, City should have a full team to choose from – Zinchenko has not played in six weeks after an injury, so that seems to be the ideal chance to give him a match.

What will Pep Guardiola expect from West Ham?

Guardiola prepares for every opponent with the same intensity, but it is clear that West Ham are a cut above most other teams City face and they have previously marked Michail Antonio’s leading edge. He is also a big admirer of Declan Rice, who is a serious threat to the midfield dominance City would like to claim early in the matches.

The season is well underway and Hammers’ European tour has really begun

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Are there any West Ham players City will be particularly wary of?

Antonio and Rice, as mentioned, but Aaron Cresswell is another that City have looked at before – Ben Chilwell showed how a bold full-back can reveal them in the Champions League final, and Cresswell is equipped to exploit weaknesses, especially if the Blues rests Kyle Walker

What is your score prediction?

West Ham 1-2 Manchester City. Both clubs have bigger fish to fry, so they should make changes, but Guardiola has an ability to pick a team that is almost strong enough to win matches – but it will be close and competitive.

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