With their title hopes extinguished, Manchester City can only hope to sew up second spot in the Premier League as they host West Ham on Saturday.
Roberto Mancini’s side’s failed defence of their maiden Premier League title was confirmed when rivals Manchester United beat Aston Villa 3-0 on Monday.
But City can all but ensure they finish runners-up with three points in the early kick-off, as this – their game in hand – can see them go eight points clear of third-placed Arsenal with four matches remaining.
Sam Allardyce’s West Ham, though, have provided stiff opposition of late – stringing together five matches unbeaten since a 2-0 loss to Chelsea in March.
Their previous three visits to Eastlands have resulted in defeats – although the ground holds good personal memories for striker Carlton Cole, who has scored two of West Ham’s last three goals there.
Cole has been an unused substitute for the Hammers three times since their 0-0 draw with Liverpool, but Allardyce must be tempted to recall the front man given his history at the Etihad Stadium.
Mancini’s only injury concern is midfielder David Silva, with an ankle injury bothering the Spaniard.
It is highly doubtful the FIFA World Cup winner would be risked for a dead rubber, although City will still be out to save face after a disastrous collapse to lose 3-1 at Tottenham after leading for the majority of the match.
George McCartney (hamstring) is Allardyce’s lone absentee.
In the reverse fixture in London this season, West Ham held then-champions City to a 0-0 draw.
Their clash will also be a tribute for former Cameroonian midfielder Marc-Vivien Foe – who died 10 years ago after collapsing on a football field while on international duties.
Foe plied his trade at both City and the Hammers, before he died aged 28.
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