Sergio Aguero is expected to be back fit for Manchester City’s Premier League clash with West Ham, but that is not stopping Slaven Bilic from plotting a potential third shock away win of the season.
Aguero was reduced to the role of an 83rd-minute substitute in City’s 2-1 Champions League defeat to Juventus on Tuesday because of a knee problem.
The Argentina international striker did not aggravate the injury in midweek, leaving City manager Manuel Pellegrini hopeful that Aguero – who netted 32 goals in all competitions last season – will be able to play to feature heavily in Saturday’s game.
Pellegrini said: “It was a risk to use him [Aguero]. I tried not to because if he got a kick in the same part it could take him more days to recover.
“Fortunately he did not have any problems and I hope he will be fit for Saturday.”
Leaders City, who are four points clear at the top, are the only team with a 100 per cent record remaining in the Premier League, having taken maximum points from their first five games, scoring 11 goals and they are yet to concede in the process.
West Ham have not won a league game at City since the 2002-03 campaign, but can take heart from masterminding two stunning results this season by beating Arsenal and Liverpool on their travels.
And, speaking at his pre-match media conference, Bilic said: “It would be a surprise [if West Ham won] of course because Manchester City have scored 11 goals in the league and have not conceded.
“They are cruising in the early stages and already have a gap which is hard to get after five games.
“It wouldn’t be a shock as we already have two out of two away wins. We know what we need to do to have a chance.
“They are the favourites of course but I am expecting us to have a good game and if that is the case we will have chances.”
Aside from Aguero, City have a concern over captain Vincent Kompany, who picked up a calf injury against Juve. Pablo Zabaleta (knee) and Fernando (groin) are likely to miss out, with Fabian Delph (hamstring) and Gael Clichy (ankle) both out.
For West Ham, Angelo Ogbonna is unavailable due to a hamstring problem, Alex Song is still recovering from an ankle complaint and long-term absentee Enner Valencia (knee) is sidelined.
But Mauro Zarate is back in full training following a hamstring concern and Pedro Obiang is expected to shake off a knock in time to be fit.