Preview: West Ham v City

An afternoon which looked set to end in either wild celebrations or glorious failure will most probably now simply be more a case of going through the motions for both sides, despite the two still having something to play for. West Ham are safe, but could still swell the Upton Park coffers to the tune of £2.4m by picking up their third consecutive home win. With the game likely to be Franco Zola's final in charge, too, him and Steve Clarke will no doubt want to end on a high note.

For us, top four hopes have been dashed but Europa League football already secured. With that in mind the players mightn't be completely up for the game, especially those now with one eye on the World Cup, but Villa can still overtake us, which i'm sure their supporters would see as some sort of huge morale victory, but more important than that, finishing a point behind a very good Spurs side simply looks better than ending up trailing them by as many as seven.

Marton Fulop did quite well on Wednesday, the goal aside, and should make his final appearance. Gareth Barry is out for a month with ankle ligament damage and is now a doubt for the World Cup. With Stevie Ireland missing, too, Patrick Vieira will come in. Craig Bellamy could be rested, with SWP and Adam Johnson playing wide of the front two. Joleon Lescott hasn't travelled with the squad. Martin Petrov and the well-documented treble of goalkeepers are still missing.

The Hammers will be missing two key midfielders - the superb Valon Behrami, linked with a move here in the past, and impressive academy graduate and match-winner last time round, Jack Collison. Kieron Dyer is surprisingly out injured and hasn't completed a game for the club since featuring in a draw with Wigan almost three years ago. Herita Ilunga has a calf problem, and Zavon Hines has also been ruled out.

With national team manager Fabio Capello to name his thirty-man preliminary World Cup squad next week several on show this afternoon will be hoping to plant seeds in his mind with a good final day showing. Given the form of Joe Hart, Michael Dawson and Darren Bent, plus the rumoured return of the woeful Jamie Carragher, members of West Ham's English spine will all have concerns over their places. The injury to Gareth Barry, however, should give Scott Parker a chance after another good season saw him retain their Player of the Year award.

Possible teams:
West Ham: Green, Faubert, Spector, Upson, da Costa, Parker, Noble, Kovac, Cole, Ilan, Diamanti

City: Fulop, Zabaleta, Bridge, Toure, Kompany, de Jong, Wright-Phillips, Vieira, Tevez, Santa Cruz, A.Johnson

Prediction: West Ham 1 City 1

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