The international break was, as per usual, uneventful for most, but there was one piece of relatively interesting news for Hammers fans. Former Arsenal and Manchester City midfielder Samir Nasri has been training with the club in a bid to build up fitness, with a view to make a move to us in January.
Funnily enough, this Saturday we face Nasri’s former team Manchester City at the London Stadium in which will undoubtedly be a difficult clash. Pep Guardiola’s side have been phenomenal this season and it’s no doubt they’ll prove a tough test, perhaps moreso than any other club in the league.
There’s a strong connection between both clubs. Both sets of fans always enjoy a good, mutual relationship and the likes of Manuel Pellegrini and Pablo Zabaleta were previously employed at the Etihad Stadium. Should Nasri join in January that will further emphasise this interesting link, and with our current injury situation and the lack of a real creative central midfielder (with Lanzini out for some time), Nasri would be an excellent short term option.
Pellegrini confirmed in his recent press conference that Andy Carroll and Jack Wilshere (the two biggest injury culprits) have returned from a spell on the sidelines and are both in contention to feature on Saturday. Whether they’ll come straight into the team remains to be seen, but it is widely anticipated they’ll return to the bench rather than getting straight back into things.
During the international break we saw Pedro Obiang make his debut for Equatorial Guinea and Grady Diangana finally get involvement with England at youth level, as he made his U20 debut. Diangana’s impressive performances on the wing should surely grant him a starting position against City as Pellegrini continues to show faith in the youngster.
As for our opponents, City will no doubt field a strong side. The likes of Raheem Sterling will be a key player for them, with the English international having yet another stellar season so far. With Bernardo Silva and possibly Fabian Delph unavailable, the likes of Ilkay Gundogan and Oleksandr Zinchenko may be involved.
It’ll be a tough test but we’ve seen some surprises this season. No doubt we will see an exciting encounter between the two teams who share a surprisingly strong connection.
Likely lineup: Lukasz Fabianski; Arthur Masuaku, Fabian Balbuena, Issa Diop, Pablo Zabaleta; Mark Noble, Declan Rice, Pedro Obiang; Felipe Anderson, Marko Arnautovic, Grady Diangana.
Predicted Score: West Ham 1-3 Manchester City