Manchester City will continue their quest for a fifth successive Carabao Cup triumph when they face West Ham United at the London stadium.

West Ham United have made light work of their newfound busy schedule, as David Moyes’ side juggle European and domestic games with relative ease and in good form. Since their home loss to Manchester United in the Premier League, the Hammers have embarked on a fine run, winning six out of seven fixtures.

In that period, they eliminated Manchester United out of the Carabao Cup, setting up a date with their neighbours and current holders, Manchester City. Moyes will be pleased with his team’s performances in recent weeks, while the weekend win over London rivals Tottenham in the league will have boosted their confidence.

The Hammers have lost just twice in all competitions this season but both the defeats came in front of the home fans and Moyes will be wary of this record. While their confidence might be sky-high at the moment, they face a difficult opposition in Manchester City, who have been at their relentless best after an iffy start to the season.

Having demolished Brighton 1-4 away from home, Pep Guardiola will turn his attention towards the Carabao Cup, a trophy his team have won consecutively over the last four seasons. Manchester City’s goalscoring form should be a concern for their opponents. After yet another prolific weekend of Premier League football, Guardiola’s men would want to continue in the same manner against West Ham.

Moyes’ side may not be pushovers like Wycombe Wanderers, against whom Man City hit six goals in the previous round of the EFL Cup. The Hammers stand in Guardiola and Manchester City’s way in their quest to reach the quarter-finals of the competition.

Team News & Tactics

West Ham United

Keeping in mind the rigorous fixture list that Moyes’ side has so far manoeuvred comfortably, it might still put tremendous physical pressure on the players. The manager is likely to freshen up his lineup for the Manchester City clash, with many fringe stars likely to feature.

Vladimir Coufal is the only injury absentee for the home team while Alex Kral will miss out after testing positive for coronavirus earlier in the month. Keeping in mind the threat of Manchester City, Moyes will try and keep some of the regulars in the side.

Central defence is certainly an area that could use some changes. Craig Dawson and Issa Diop should be starting this game in place of Angelo Ogbonna and Kurt Zouma. Meanwhile, Aaron Cresswell will keep his place at left-back, Moyes will certainly bring in Ryan Fredericks for the overworked Ben Johnson.

Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek are expected to keep their midfielder partnership going on, while Manuel Lanzini could come in for Said Benrahma in the attacking midfield role. Michail Antonio, Pablo Fornals and Jarrod Bowen are all expected to remain in the team.

Probable lineup (4-2-3-1): Areola; Fredericks, Dawson, Diop, Cresswell; Rice, Soucek; Bowen, Lanzini, Fornals; Antonio

Manchester City

Guardiola will rotate his side for the Carabao Cup trip to London, with several non-regulars eager to feature. While these players are by no means fringe stars, they just haven’t cemented a place in the club’s Premier League starting XI this term.

Raheem Sterling was a notable absentee during the weekend with a back problem. Guardiola has more than enough options not to risk the England international for the cup tie. Ferran Torres remains out with a long-term foot injury, while Liam Delap is also absent with an ankle problem.

To accommodate some irregular players such as Riyad Mahrez, Guardiola might utilise Gabriel Jesus centrally this time, with plenty of options on the wings. Jack Grealish is expected to start on the left side of the attack.

Guardiola could hand Conrad Egan-Riley a start at right-back while taking the opportunity to rest his regular full-backs. Oleksandr Zinchenko, who has been hungry for game-time, might get his wishes fulfilled with a starting berth at left-back. John Stones could come in at central defence, alongside Nathan Ake.

Guardiola might provide Cole Palmer with a chance to shine, as he could line up alongside club captain Fernandinho and star man Kevin De Bruyne in a midfield three.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Steffen; Egan-Riley; Stones, Ake, Zinchenko; De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Palmer; Mahrez, Jesus, Grealish

Key Stats

  • West Ham United have kept a clean sheet in their last three games in all competitions.
  • Manchester City have scored nine goals in their last two away games in all competitions.
  • Manchester City have kept a clean sheet in only one of their last five games in all competitions.
  • Manchester City have won the Carabao Cup for the last four seasons.
  • Arsenal are the only team to knock out both Manchester clubs from this competition back in 1977/78. West Ham could go on to achieve that feat on Wednesday, having already eliminated Manchester United in the previous round.

Player to Watch

Jack Grealish

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The England international’s form has somewhat tailed off in recent matches, although he has still managed to influence games with a few assists here and there. While the major outlay from Manchester City prompts them to start Grealish in every game possible, the attacker needs to get his bearings right and start scoring regularly for the team.

While there is no doubt over his work rate and creative influence, to survive in Guardiola’s team, goals are a necessity from the forward players. As Raheem Sterling has found out the hard way, Grealish might be in for a similar treatment if he doesn’t start firing on all cylinders.

Prediction

West Ham United 1-2 Manchester City

If West Ham decide to continue the central defensive partnership of Kurt Zouma and Angelo Ogbonna, we might just see a tight game here, but those defenders certainly need some much-needed rest. Considering that, Manchester City might find it a bit easy to find their way towards Alphonse Areola’s goal. Expect a narrow victory for Pep Guardiola’s men, who will be dreaming of a fifth straight Carabao Cup success this season.

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