Even though the League (Capital One) Cup is sometimes referred to as a Mickey Mouse cup, there is still value in playing in the later rounds of tournaments. It gets players used to the pressure of one 90 minute game with it all on the line. We have players in our team that have dealt successfully with that as a group, especially the key players from the FA Cup win and the Premier League winning side (Aguero, Dzeko, Yaya, Kompany, Silva, Hart, Zabaleta). We have added other players that have done well at other teams such as Jesus Navas (World Cup, Euro's, 2 Europa League and 2 Copa del Ray), Fernadinho (Europa League, and many Ukranian leauge titles), and Martin Demichelis (4 Bundesliga).
The key for this season will be integrating those on our team that have won the Premier League with those that have won leagues in other countries, and those on our team that haven't won anything yet. We have a great range of experience on our team, between the key players, the manager, and even the executives. This League Cup will be a good chance to see how we do when focused on the trophy.
The FA cup match from the weekend wasn't a great chance to see, since it doesn't seem that anyone took it too seriously. We fielded a strong team, but no where near our best or most fluid. It was almost an experiment in seeing if Dzeko and Negredo could play together without an attacking midfielder right behind them (answer is: no. No they can't).
I expect us to play a dominating, fluid style of football tomorrow, racking up some goals before giving a youngster or two a chance (FOR GOODNESS SAKES PLAY MARCO LOPES BEFORE MARC L HAS AN ANEURYSM!).
West Ham are a team that are absolutely floundering. Whether you measure their current position based on the table (19th place), shot dominance (18th place for ratio of shooting vs shots against), or their slipping odds from betters, they suck. They got pasted 5-0 by Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup, which has ratcheted up the pressure on Big Sam.
Allardyce claims to not be feeling the pressure for this fixture. "We don't have the same pressure we experience in the Premier League that is for certain. It is a competition where we know at this time it is over two legs." He also commented that they would attempt to emulate the tactics of Crystal Palace, who pushed us the whole way in our recent fixture against them.
"We have to work along the lines of what Crystal Palace did recently which was be very well organised, be a very well structured team that makes it extremely difficult for the talents that Manchester City have got. With a bit of luck, a bit of fortune and the right amount of organisation, desire and commitment from the players we feel as though we can give it our best shot."
Welp, we'll see how that works out for you. In that game against Crystal Palace, we rested Pablo Zabaleta (playing a negative with Boyata), and rested Yaya and Samir Nasri too. I expect that we'll start our strongest side, with the only unknown being whether Hart or Pantilimon will start in goal.
Expected Lineup : Pantilimon, Zabaleta, Kompany, Nastasic, Kolarov, Fernadinho, Yaya, Silva, Nasri, Milner, Negredo.
I really hope to not see any more of the Negredo / Dzeko combination. It doesn't really work well for retaining possession. Both are good when paired with more fluid attacking players, but as a duo, they aren't very good.
I'm excited for the game, and excited to watch some of our young talent.
Prediction - City 4 - West Ham 1.