Buzzing on Yahoo Sports:

Premier League Preview: Manchester City - West Ham

Goal.com

Manchester City welcomes West Ham to the Etihad Stadium needing a point to secure its second Premier League crown in three years.

A two-point cushion and an advantage of 13 on goal difference means only a defeat would realistically result in Liverpool claiming the title with a victory over Newcastle United at Anfield.

Manuel Pellegrini's men endured a tense opening hour Wednesday before hammering Aston Villa 4-0 — hitting 100 league goals for the season in the process with Yaya Toure's sensational closing solo effort.

It was City's 16th win in 18 league matches on home turf this year, making West Ham's trip north a daunting one. But memories of a dramatic final day in 2012 loom large and mean nothing will be taken for granted.

City entered stoppage time 2-1 down to lowly QPR, with a first championship triumph for 44 years set to slip from its grasp before it secured a scarcely believable 3-2 win.

"Nothing is done and we can't expect an easy game on Sunday," right back Pablo Zabaleta told the club's official website. "They are safe but they have very good players. They are very good on the counterattack and are very tough also on set pieces.

"Hopefully on Sunday we can play well and get three points, even though we know a draw is enough, I think we must play to win the game."

Sergio Aguero netted the title-winning goal in 2012, but he is unlikely to be the hero this time around after sustaining a groin injury while scoring in last weekend's pivotal 3-2 triumph at Everton.

A place on the bench might be the best the Argentina striker can hope for but Edin Dzeko — also a scorer in that famous QPR comeback — has taken up the mantle in attack with five goals in City's past three games. His 16 Premier League strikes this season are his best return for the club.

Such attacking riches are a world away for West Ham boss Sam Allardyce, although Andy Carroll putting his injury problems behind him over the final two months of the season has lent a focal point to the Londoners' forward play.

Perhaps too much of a focal point for some sections of the Upton Park faithful, with whom Allardyce's direct style of play has become increasingly unpopular. Some of the damage was repaired last weekend as a run of four consecutive defeats ended with a stirring 2-0 win over capital rival Tottenham.

Midfielder Mark Noble, who scooped West Ham's Player of the Year award this week, has defended Allardyce's tactics and believes the Upton Park club should take credit for escaping the relegation mire.

"It's been a tough season — we've not quite got what we deserved with the injuries we've had, but now we're 12th in the league," Noble said. "We've done well to get out of the position we were in at Christmas, and that's credit to the lads. The gaffer has never asked me to boot it. I try to get on the ball and make us play as much as possible and that's what has happened."

In contrast to his woes earlier in the season, Allardyce has a virtually full-strength squad to choose from as he looks to spoil the party — an achievement that would guarantee him a lofty place in the affections of Liverpool's supporters, if not his own.

Follow GOAL.COM on

View photo

.

Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Soccer
View Comments (0)