West Ham United v Manchester City

Preview Percy spent his week off laughing at Spurs. So no real change to any other week then really. He paused between giggles for long enough to write this though.......

Next up we play host to Manchester City at the Boleyn. Kick-off thanks to the tv chappies will be 5:30pm which means that those of us who attend from the Avram Grant Olympic Rest Home For The Bewildered will be cutting it fine to get back before Matron turns the electric fences on. Still, there's no engineering work in the area, the change of kick-off time seemingly having fooled those responsible for messing up people's travel plans.

Our opponents currently sit in 5th spot with 13 points from their 7 matches played thus far. Like last week's opponents it's not much of a return on the not inconsiderable investment that the owners have put into the plying staff. It's really been all Jekyll and Hyde. The good stuff has been saved for home where they've beaten Newcastle (4-0), Hull (2-0), the Salford lot (4-1), and Everton (3-1). They also stuck five past Whelan's whingers in the League Cup as well. Contrast that with their away form where they got beaten by Cardiff and Villa (both 3-2) between which matches they took a point from Stoke away. They've won one and lost one in the so-called Champions League, their last match being a rather humbling 3-1 reverse to Bayern Munich.

They changed the boss at the end of last term. Mancini was shown the door shortly after the Cup Final defeat to Wigan and he was replaced by the Chilean Manuel Pellegrini. As a player Pellegrini retired in 1984 at the age of 33, citing the unusual reason that, as a qualified civil engineer, he'd be of more use helping the country recover from earthquake damage. I'm sure it's only coincidence that he arrived in Manchester only a few months before they announced an expansion to their stadium though.

After spells coaching in Chile and Argentina he pitched up on this side of the Atlantic with Villareal, spending five years with the amusingly-monkiered "Yellow Submarines". His next move was not without its Redknapp-esque moments. On 31 May 2009, in response to speculation, he announced that nobody had spoken to him from Real Madrid, he was contracted to Villareal for the foreseeable and, with the season being over, he was now going to go on holiday. On 2 June 2009 he was unveiled as the new boss at Real Madrid. I'm sure the Redknapp comparisons end there though. I mean it's unlikely that various Pellegrini friends and relations were banging on the door of the Local "El Betto" or whatever they call the bookies over there to profit on the increased odds his denial will have prompted.

He lasted a little over a year at the Bernebau, being "released" following the club's failure to win the So-Called Champions League. Pellegrini was scathing over Real's transfer policy: "It's no good having the ten best guitarists in the world when you need a pianist. At Real we have the guitarists but they are no use if I ask them to play the piano". Real's board countered: "Maybe if the players had spent more time on the training field instead of dicking about with musical instruments we'd have won something" they probably didn't say.

He then spent a couple of years at Malaga who he guided to the knockout bits of the So-Called Champions League spending a shed load of euros en route. He left the beaches and palm trees for the delights of Manchester (as you do) with Malaga struggling for cash and bereft of European competition after falling foul of the Financial Fair Play rules. He wasted no time in getting to work spending City's petrodollars, with four major signings all unpacked and on the training ground by the end of July.

In came winger Navas for ?17m from Seville. Navas's given name is Jesus but you can make up your own punchlines regarding how good he is with crosses.

Another ?20.6m went on forward Negrado, a forward of more direct style than they've been used to up there in recent years. His first name is Alvaro and if you can get a punchline out of that good luck to you.
In midfield they brought in Brazilian Fernandinho, whose first name ought to be Rio, but isn't.. He was one of those Brazilians who beat a path to Eastern Europe, spending 8 years or so in the employ of Shaktar Donetsk before turning up at the City Of Manchester Stadium for a cool ?30m - their most expensive acquisition of the last window. He's a defensive midfielder who commutes between the two boxes and has apparently got a bit of a shot on him.

Further options in attack arrived in the form of Steven Jovetic. The so-called "Montenegran Baggio" cost ?22m from Fiorentina and can either play as an out and out striker or in a slightly withdrawn role.

With all that money chucked around (still a lot less than Spurs ho ho) the ?4.2m outlay on Argentinian centre half Martin Dimichelis is the sort of stuff they probably found down the back of the sofa in the players' bar. At 32 Dimichelis is clearly there to provide cover for the likes of Kompany and, er, company. So the fact that he has a knee injury at the precise time as Kompany is injured must be a tad annoying. Kompany, however, would appear to have made a spectacular recovery from a nasty muscle tear sustained in the pre-break win over Everton, and his presence this weekend cannot be totally be ruled out.

Going through the out door have been Gareth Barry - on loan to Everton - and some chap called Tevez. When Tevez arrived in the country Sheffield United had somehow bludgeoned their way into the top flight. With them sitting at a more realistic bottom of the third tier clearly Carlos's presence in England was no longer required, what with him having been sent to this country charged with the specific task of getting them relegated. Or alternatively Sheffield United were a two bob outfit who weren't good enough to be in the league in the first place and, having proved the fact beyond all reasonable doubt, who ought to repay the ?25m they conned out of our previous owners with interest. Or maybe we could sue Lord Griffiths.

In goal Joe Hart has been copping a bit of stick of late. There have been a few high-profile errors in recent matches. I believe I mentioned in a previous preview that he's probably not as good as everyone was saying at the time. Conversely, he's not as bad as the same pundits are making out twelve months later, though he has shown a certain penchant for getting beaten at the near post.

Incidentally David Silva is a talented Spanish international footballer who was once described by Carlos Tevez as the "best player we ever signed" and not (as we managed to convince some passing Tottenham fans) a tribute act who goes about doing personal appearances in the guise of our co-chairman.

And so to us. Well I'm glad that our last match had a break after it. It's so difficult to write previews through hysterical laughter. The nearest chemists to the Rest Home have run out of linement, so many of us have aching sides after the 3-0 win at what wags are already calling the 0-3 Arena. We were well worth the points as well - this was no bus-parking smash and grab exercise.

There is, of course, a down side to all this. The high-profile nature of the win meant that suddenly people have started to notice both Winston Reid and Ravel Morrison - particularly Morrison who followed his marvellous goal at three-point Lane with a couple of fine performances for the England U21s. Typically the papers chose to pick up on his spat with Zaha rather than his two goals against Lithuania.

Reid's performance, though less publicised than that of Morrison, was none the less impressive. Scoring the first (did I mention that we got three?) his performance in the "day job" at the back was one of strength and composure, leading at least one of the proper papers to refer to the Kiwi as "the Premier League's most underrated defender". To which I say "No he isn't. Nothing to see here. Titus Bramble's still about somewhere". (That'll confuse the vultures for a while).

Reid's central defensive partner James Tomkins also had a decent 90mins and would have retained his place even had James Collins (restored to the Wales side now that their intellectually-challenged manager has worked out how to do a proper call-up) not done his hamstring in during midweek.

We have a new/old signing to welcome back as well. Carlton Cole has (eventually) done enough on the fitness side of things to earn himself a short-term deal. How much we see of him this weekend will depend partly on whether or not Mr Allardyce sticks with the system that left Spurs' players as confused on the pitch as their supporters always seem to be off it. Cole is said to still be a couple of behind closed doors friendlies away from serious consideration so Petric will probably be in pole position should we opt to field a traditional striker. Otherwise, Collins apart, it's almost a full squad to select from - Carroll and Diarra are the usual suspects clogging up the treatment suites.

Prediction? Well of course optimism is at its height at the moment - though I would urge a spot of caution. After all it's not like we beat anyone any good yet is it? However there ought to be a decent mood about the place - it was an all too rare away win after all. After consideration,I think that I'll be spending the Avram Grant Olympic Rest Home For The Bewildered's collection to buy Mr Howlett a disposable razor (?2.50) on a 1-0 home win, in time for us to sneak back into the home through the secret tunnel we always use when Matron's in a bad mood.

Enjoy the game!

When Last We Met At The Boleyn - Drew 0-0. Another Saturday evening match saw us battle to a draw, though we did have a perfectly good goal by Nolan disallowed because he was only two yards onside.

Referee: Michael Oliver - One of the younger referees - last seen chalking off a goal scored by Andy Carroll at Stamford Bridge. Doesn't do to upset Roman does it.

Danger Man: Sergio Aguero - tricky cove who was the subject of a "we hope you die" banner from the delightful support at Atletico Madrid. Will never have to buy a a beer in Manchester again.

Daft Fact Of The Week: Former City favourite Mike Summerbee appeared in the so-bad-it's-wonderful WII film "Escape To Victory" alongside his good friend Bobby Moore. It was Summerbee who was charged with having to utter the infamous "we can still win this" speech when the Allies were "only 4-1 down" at half time in a match with a bent ref. Unsurprisingly, Summerbee and the other players involved kept bursting into fits of laughter every time he tried to make the speech. Sylvester Stallone (who spent the whole movie being out acted by a set of goalposts) was said to be "unamused".

John NorthcuttStat man John: Northcutt's corner

Head to Head
Pld 94; West Ham Utd 35, Man City 43, Draws 16.

First Meeting
26th April 1924: West Ham Utd 1-2 Man City (Boleyn Ground, Division One)

Last Meeting
27th April 2013: Man City 2-1 West Ham Utd (City of Manchester Stadium)

Biggest Win(s)
18th May 1963: West Ham Utd 6-1 Man City (Boleyn Ground, Division One)
8th September 1962: Man City 1-6 West Ham Utd (Maine Road, Division One)

Heaviest Defeat(s)
17th August 1974: Man City 4-0 West Ham Utd (Maine Road, Division One)
6th December 1969: West Ham Utd 0-4 Man City (Boleyn Ground, Division One)
24th March 1962: West Ham Utd 0-4 Man City (Boleyn Ground, Division One)

They Played For Both
Craig Bellamy; Tal Ben Haim; Ian Bishop; Wayne Bridge; James Cumming; Justin Fashanu; Marc Vivien Foe; Michael Hughes; Kevin Horlock; David James; Steve Lomas; Tyrone Mears; Trevor Morley; John Payne; Trevor Sinclair; Carlos Tevez; Paulo Wanchope; Mark Ward; Phil Woosnam.

Seeing Red
1961/62 Bobby Moore (a); 1991/92 Colin Foster (h); 2008/09 Mark Noble (a).

Bossing It
Former West Ham United players John Bond, Malcolm Allison and Stuart Pearce have all been managers of Manchester City.

KUMB Facts
* 52 years ago, Bobby Moore was sent off seconds from time for fouling Man City's Dave Wagstaffe in a 5-3 win for West Ham at the Boleyn Ground.
* West Ham's two biggest wins over Man City came in the same season, 1962/63. We beat them 6-1 both home and away.
* West Ham's last win over Man City came seven meetings ago in March 2009; Jack Collison scoring the only goal in a 1-0 win.

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