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Wounded Hammers back in the frying pan at Man City

| 07.01.2014

Still not recovered from their FA Cup decimation at Nottingham Forest, West Ham trudge to Manchester City for another tear-inducing evening that will effectively end their interest in a second domestic cup competition in three days.

As short as 2/11, there’ll be few stupid enough to oppose the Citizens, while the number who would back up this opposition with a punt on the Hammers’ 16/1 price is undoubtedly lower still. At 13/2, the draw is a beefy, but equally pointless alternative.

The fact that several first-team regulars were omitted from the West Ham team thumped 5-0 by Forest isn’t sufficient mitigation for a Premier League side losing by such a scoreline against a second tier team that had only mustered six goals in the six games that preceded their third round tie.

The damage a side that regularly rips apart the finest defences around will do in their next fixture doesn’t bear thinking about…unless you’re a Millwall fan, of course.

For those die hards kidding themselves that the humiliation at the City Ground was nothing but an anomaly need look no further than the Irons’ four results in the run up to it. Each of them saw at least two goals conceded, with three foes in that period filling their boots with exactly three strikes.

The sharp end of the Man City stick can pierce rhino skin coated in leather as though it were candy floss and with the wispy, pink stuff as sturdy as concrete when compared to West Ham’s defence, Sam Allardyce’s men are in trouble at the Etihad.

The Premier League title favourites have plundered an incredible 34 goals in their previous nine home games, the three they accumulated against Liverpool and Crystal Palace bringing the average down a shade below four goals per outing.

Five of these nine matches have seen Manuel Pellegrini’s side prevail with a two-goal handicap applied to their final haul and, with the Hammers seemingly intent on carrying the spirit of giving into 2014, the 23/20 that says Man City will run out winners after taking two goals away from them looks an excellent bet.

All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date

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James Middleton