Manchester City will have a tough Premier League test on their hands when they travel to London to play West Ham United on Wednesday evening. The Hammers have enjoyed a resurgence as of late, and the recent signing of Robert Snodgrass combined with the dumping of maligned star Dmitri Payet could provide yet another boost. City will be looking to pick up three points in the league for the first time in what feels like ages.
It seems the only player out for this game is Ilkay Gundogan. Midfielder Fernandinho is done with his suspension and the rest of the squad seems to be healthy and ready to go. City most recently played Saturday in the fourth round of the FA Cup and knocked out Crystal Palace. From that game, rested players Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Agüero should most definitely feature in this one.
At the back Pep Guardiola will have his pick of any defender he might want to start. Captain Vincent Kompany is back and played the full 90 minutes against Palace, but Pep might not want to start the Belgian in back to back games. Nicolas Otamendi was rested against the Eagnles, and should feature against the Hammers.
Most City supporters want to know if new boy Gabriel Jesus will start his second consecutive game or rather be used as a super sub if City need a late goal. The latter seems more likely, and as for a formation Pep should use the 4-3-3, with two attacking midfielders pushed up high.
Goalkeeper: Claudio Bravo
Bravo is still City’s main man between the sticks. January will expire with City sitting on their current crop of goalkeepers, which means Bravo will get the call in the important games going forward. Oh dear.
Defense: Pablo Zabaleta, Nicolas Otamendi, Vincent Kompany, Aleksandar Kolarov
After being rested against Palace, Zabaleta and Otamendi should return to the back line. Kolarov is the preferred left-back, and with the return of Kompany Pep may finally keep the Serbian at his original position and add some stability to the defensive line.
Midfield: Fernandinho, Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva
These three are City’s best midfielders, period. De Bruyne has put in some huge performances this season and Silva is in form at the moment. Fernandinho is back from suspension and as hard as it was to leave Yaya Touré out, the Brazilian simply offers more cover defensively than the Ivorian. De Bruyne and Silva can push up near the box with Dinho covering in behind.
Forwards: Raheem Sterling, Sergio Agüero, Leroy Sané
Up front it’s so tempting to place Gabriel Jesus in the starting lineup again, but with the form of Sterling and Sané and Agüero's fitness it’s nearly impossible to leave any of these three out. Jesus can still serve as a super sub if City find themselves needing a goal late, but starting the game should almost certainly be this strike force.
So that’s our predicted lineup! As for a score prediction, City should have enough to get by West Ham away from home. 3-1 seems a fair scoreline, goals from Sané, De Bruyne and Agüero will lead City to the three points.