Premier League – Premier League previews
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini expects a tough test against West Ham even though their opponents are lying in the relegation zone.
City are on a good run of form going into the match at Upton Park and are looking to stretch their unbeaten streak to seven Premier League matches.
Mancini remains wary of the Hammers, though, and said: “This championship is very good because every game is difficult. If you think you have an easy one it is a disaster.”
The absence of suspended captain – and former West Ham striker – Carlos Tevez will make City’s task even harder but Mancini is expecting another big performance from summer signing Yaya Toure.
“I always thought he was a fantastic player,” said the Italian. “He can play in different positions. He has experience, technique and strength, everything.”
Mulumbu collected his second red card in the space of four matches during the 4-1 win at Everton a fortnight ago and had to serve a two-game ban. He had previously been given his marching orders when the Baggies went down 2-0 to Manchester City at The Hawthorns.
Mulumbu has been a key figure in Albion’s best start to a season in the Premier League – 22 points from 16 games.
But head coach Roberto Di Matteo is aware of the need to keep him on the pitch and told Press Association Sport: “I spoke to the player and he is a young player and he needs to learn from his mistakes.
“We need to give a bit of attention to the fact our players are young and still learning how to manage games. Youssouf has been a bit unlucky but he needs to make sure it doesn’t happen again in the future.
“He is a committed player but, if we talk about the last sending off at Everton, he got the first booking for going into the crowd. The second one was harsh because it wasn’t a bad tackle at all. He got the ball and didn’t really hurt the other player. But that is how the game is now.”
Blackpool have resorted to training on the beach this week to prepare for their match at Stoke City because their usual pitch has been frozen in the wintry weather.
“We have managed to go on the beach,” said manager Ian Holloway, whose team’s match at home to Manchester United last weekend was postponed because of a frozen pitch. “I’d rather just get on the grass.”
Liverpool will again be without injured captain Steven Gerrard for Saturday evening’s trip to a Newcastle United side beginning life under new manager Alan Pardew, who replaced Chris Hughton this week.
“It could have the effect that clubs want – it could be a shot in the arm to the (Newcastle) players,” Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson said. Gerrard, who is recovering from a hamstring injury, could return to action against Fulham next week.
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