Manchester City are fighting to reach Europe while West Brom are fighting to stay in the Premier League. Many would say Mark Hughes is fighting for his job.
A draw with Aston Villa meant that West Ham haven’t pulled away from the pack quite yet.
This is a must win game for Mark Hughes’ men and they can’t afford to fail to make the most of West Ham’s and Fulham’s failure to pick up maximum points. Anything less than three points would almost certainly put seventh place out of reach for City.
Mark Hughes said ahead of the crucial home game: ‘We will try to get in to Europe by virtue of our league position. If we can continue our good home form we have a chance of being in the mix for seventh place.
‘The players were very low in the dressing room after we were knocked out of the Uefa Cup, it was an emotional night. But we have another big game at the weekend.
‘We have got to pick ourselves up. It is a case of making sure we recover, clear our heads and go again.’
Tony Mowbray had a positive attitude heading into the game, stating: ‘Let’s hope they have some flatness about their performance. If they do we must take advantage of the situation.
‘I am sure we will go to Eastlands and have spells in the game when we will look very comfortable and will put them on the back foot.
‘But with the talent they possess there will be times when they will have us at full stretch.
‘On their day they can damage anyone but we’ve also shown that we can give teams problems.’
Manchester City FC Team News:
Long term absentees include strikers Bellamy and Benjani.
Shaun Wright-Phillips is still recovering from an injury with Elano expected to take his place as he did so effectively against Hamburg.
Richard Dunne’s red card has no bearing on Sundays game and he is expected to take up his usual position in the heart of the defense.
Player to watch: Elano Blumer
The Brazilian star has won back his place in the City side, showing everyone exactly what he was capable of against Hamburg SV.
If he plays anywhere near the level he played at on Thursday, Elano will shred the Baggies to rags.
West Bromwich Albion Team News:
Shelton Martis and Roman Bednar are set to miss out against City.
Player to watch: Borja Valero
The Spanish midfielder was brought to West Brom last summer for a massive £4.7m from Real Mallorca.
Unfortunately for the Baggies, he is surrounded by Championship level players and he has been unable reach his true potential.
This being said, no-one should under estimate his ability and he could surprise a few people.
Match Facts & Stats
Amazingly, it has been 23 long years since Manchester City last beat the Baggies at home in the Premier League with West Brom unbeaten in the last six games against the Blues…
West Brom have also managed to claim more points from City than from any other club in the league.
About time to change those stats!
Mike Jones oversees this game. After only nine games this term, he has shown two reds and 30 yellows.
City will be running on weary legs and it will be a test of character to bounce back after the heart breaking exit out of the UEFA Cup on Thursday. West Brom are pretty much relegated and only have pride to play for, I expect City to punish the Baggies for their efforts. Hughes needs to ‘manage’ the team to victory and instill confidence again. I expect him to do it and I think the score will be: MCFC 3-1 West Brom.
Away at Everton on Saturday 25th April, 3pm.