Under-pressure bosses Pellegrini and Allardyce go head-to-head
Both Manchester City (odds-on favourites at 2/7 with Coral to win) and West Ham United (11/1) go into this Premier League match at the Etihad having both lost four of their last six matches in the top flight.
As a result of the two teams’ poor run of form, with the Citizens slipping to fourth and in danger of finishing outside the top four, and the Hammers edging their way to the bottom half, respective managers Manuel Pellegrini and Sam Allardyce have come under fire.
Luckily for defending league champions City, they have a terrific recent record against the east Londoners, having won eight of the last 11 meetings in all competitions, losing once.
But West Ham have bragging rights over their upcoming opponents from this season, as they defeated them 2-1 at Upton Park back in October. Therefore, a draw on this occasion is a tempting 9/2 price.
Pellegrini knows that his side are the heavy favourites for victory, which would ease the pressure off them, as they are now just four points ahead of fifth-placed Liverpool, but will be without a few key players.
Captain Vincent Kompany could potentially miss the rest of the season, while Wilfried Bony, Gael Clichy, James Milner and Stevan Jovetic also join him on the sidelines.
Out-of-form superstars Sergio Aguero and Yaya Toure are fit, however, and are respective 8/11 and 7/4 chances to net anytime.
Argentine attacker Aguero, fresh from netting his 100th goal for City in the 4-2 loss to Manchester United, is also the result of a Coral matchday special. He bagged a brace that day at Old Trafford, and is an enhanced 7/2 chance to score two or more against the Hammers too (maximum stake £20).
For West Ham, meanwhile, it looks as though they will be without striker Diafra Sakho, who was on target against City in the home fixture this season, for the rest of the campaign too. So Carlton Cole (5/1 in the anytime market) and Enner Valencia (7/2) could start up front.
Allardyce, who is also without frontman Andy Carroll, confirmed: “It leaves us very short in goalscoring options, but I am expecting that Carlton will come in and play a big [role] for us in the next few games with the performances like we know he can.”