The starting XI has been named for todays's visit to the Etihad. while many attentions will be on the selection of 20 year old Ashley Fletcher who starts up front, the side looks very defensive with three centre backs and Michail Antonio apparently returning to the right-sided defensive berth instead of Sam Byram who drops to the bench.
Playing three centre backs suggests that SuperSlav plans to keep it miserly
and tight but, in truth, with limited attacking options to support young
Fletcher, he will need to play a blinder to make an impact. Hammers fans will
be hoping that Gokhan Tore and Enner Valencia can suddenly hit unexpected top form,
otherwise it looks like a backs to the wall effort. Possession stats are likely
to tell a story of City domination which, given their offensive options, makes a clean sheet a big ask for Adrian who is celebrating his recent call up to the Spanish national squad.
Worryingly, Dimi Payet is still not ready - even for the bench! The return of
Manny Lanzini (starting as a sub) is somewhat positive but it's really hard to
see West ham getting something from this and the bookies have quoted them at
5-1 for the draw and 11-1 to win. SuperSlav has proven the sceptics wrong
many times before, but with a lightweight bench it's hard to see how we will respond if we go behind. The sensible money is being
held back for another day.
Team: West Ham United: Adrian, Antonio, Collins, Reid, Ogbonna, Masuaku,
Noble, Kouyate, Töre, Fletcher, Valencia. Subs: Randolph, Byram, Burke,
Oxford, Obiang, Lanzini, Calleri