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West Ham preview

I'm no fan of Monday night games, yet given the exertions against United last Sunday then extra-time against Fulham on Wednesday, the extra forty-eight hours rest will undoubtedly be beneficial to us - especially considering the side has remained virtually the same throughout the season so far.

On paper, West Ham at home should be a fixture that we view as a winnable one. To have tangible success in the league this season - a minimum of Europa League qualification - it is imperative that we replicate the form at home shown during 2008/09.

So far so good at home then with two victories from two games so far and Jack makes a very valid point in discussing our home form in his preview of the game in that whilst there are no guaranteed wins, the games at home for those sides at the very top of the league appear to be.

That the points become almost automatic. Winning can quickly become habit and with our burgeoning reputation a good start at home over the first half dozen games will be the platform for a successful return over the remainder of the season.

Team wise, Adebayor serves the final game of his suspension whilst Robinho is still on the sidelines. Vincent Kompany is close to a return but unlike Roque Santa Cruz this game may come too early for him. I would imagine that should Stephen Ireland have recovered we should see an unchanged starting eleven, with in-form Craig Bellamy likely to be fired up to face (one of) his former clubs.

For West Ham, Matthew Upson and Jack Collison remain doubtful. I am looking forward to seeing both Hines and Diamanti in action though having heard plenty about them, but feel that Zola may well opt for a defensive formation with Carlton Cole given plenty of responsibility in leading the line.

A victory will see us leapfrog Tottenham into fourth place (with a game in hand). I have been impressed with the focus and application of the side this season and we certainly shouldn't be underprepared for any fixture.

West Ham have the potential to cause us problems, but for me, we should have enough to hold them off in a 2-1 victory.

Game stats
  • We have won three of the past four games at the City of Manchester Stadium.
  • Twelve of the eighteen home Premier League fixtures have been won by the home side.
  • It is now 50 games since we contested a goalless draw.
  • This is West Ham's worst start to a season since 2002/03.
  • West Ham are yet to beat a side in the top half of the table this season.