Joey O’Brien

Watch Live: Manchester City vs. West Ham United (Lineups and Discuss)

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Manchester City welcome West Ham United to the Etihad Stadium (Watch live on NBC at 10:00 a.m. ET and online via Live Extra) knowing just a point will seal their second Premier League title in the last three years.

Manuel Pellegrini’s men have won four of their last five and have stormed to the top of the PL standings at the crucial time of the season.

City’s attackers have been sensational, racking up 100 goals and their defense has also been hugely impressive in recent weeks. After final day drama two years ago when they won the PL title, can City saunter towards the crown this time around?

In their way stand a stubborn West Ham side who are safe from relegation following their victory over Tottenham last weekend. Sam Allardyce and his side will play the role of spoilers as City need to avoid defeat to clinch the crown.

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In team news City start with Sergio Aguero as he replaced James Milner. West Ham make one change as Joey O’Brien replaces Guy Demel.

LINEUPS

Manchester City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Demichelis, Kolarov, Garcia, Toure, Nasri, Silva, Aguero, Dzeko. Subs: Pantilimon, Lescott, Clichy, Milner, Fernandinho, Negredo, Jovetic

West Ham United: Adrian, Reid, McCartney, Nolan, Tomkins, Carroll, Taylor, Noble, O’Brien, Diame, Downing. Subs: Jarvis, Armero, Vaz Te, Collins, Jaaskelainen, C.Cole, J.Cole

Watch Live: West Ham vs Liverpool (Lineups and Discuss)

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Liverpool search for their return to the top of the table as they remain in control of the Premier League title race.

The Reds return to the office from Upton Park at 11am ET live on CNBC or live online at NBC Sports Live Extra.

Despite being in control of their own destiny with six matches to go, Liverpool only have to look as far as London to find out that one slip-up against an under-respected opponent could mean the death of their title chances.

Chelsea fell to Crystal Palace last week causing Jose Mourinho to rule the Blues out of the title race. While they may no longer have a clear path, the Blues now lie in wait for a club like Liverpool to slip up just as well.

It is the Blues who are currently top of the table, but a win would see Liverpool jump back into a two-point lead.

Brendan Rodgers is without defender Jose Enrique, and has made just one change from last week’s squad, dropping Daniel Agger for Mamadou Sakho.

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In order to claim victory, Liverpool will have to control former Red Andy Carroll, who faces his former club for the first time following his permanent move this summer to Upton Park.

Carroll downed Sunderland just a few days ago, but he will need to keep up with a much more potent attack this time around.  He will have his captain Kevin Nolan in the lineup after being forced off with back stiffness in the waning minutes of the midweek victory.

Sam Allardyce and West Ham will be without on George McCartney, who didn’t fare as well after coming off at halftime of the Sunderland match.  Joey O’Brien and Marco Borriello are also out.

LINEUPS:

West Ham United – Adrian; Armero, Reid, Tomkins, Demel; Noble, Taylor, Diame, Downing, Nolan; Carroll.
Bench – Jaaskelainen, Jarvis, C Cole, J Cole, Potts, Johnson, Nocerino.

Liverpool – Mignolet,; Johnson, Flanagan, Sakho, Skrtel; Gerrard, Henderson, Coutinho, Sterling; Suarez, Sturridge.
Bench – Jones, Toure, Cissokho, Lucas, Moses, Allen, Aspas.

Premier League Preview: West Ham vs Manchester United

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  • Manchester United has 9 wins and 1 draw in last 10 matches with West Ham.
  • West Ham has the most dropped points (17) from winning positions in the Premier League.
  • West Ham have won 3 in a row at home – they haven’t won 4 in a row since 2002…over Sam Allardyce’s Bolton.

Manchester United is Danny Welbeck’s team now.

He will likely be up front when Manchester United travel to Upton Park to take on West Ham at 1:00ET on Saturday on NBCSN or live online at NBC Sports Live Extra.

Following Robin van Persie’s Champions League miracle against Olympiakos midweek that has given some light to the darkness of United’s season, it will be Welbeck up front for the forseeable future.

The hero of Manchester United’s Champions League fortunes injured his knee midweek and is likely out for 4-6 weeks, meaning it will be a heavy dose of Welbeck up front. The Premier League season is all but lost for the Red Devils, but David Moyes will still be pushing for European play of some form next season.

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Despite their Champions League triumph no doubt providing a lift, United’s trip to Upton Park proves a crucial moment in the season.  Despite their well-documented league struggles, Moyes hasn’t lost since February 1 and an away win against a good home club could prove they still mean business.

For the Hammers, Sam Allardyce is hoping his home form continues with the club sitting on three straight Upton Park victories.  However, they still sit just three points above the drop and with the teams below them picking up the occasional full bounty of points, a haul against Moyes and company would be just what the doctor ordered.

While Allardyce will still be without Joey O’Brien and Marco Borriello, the visitors are clearly the more hampered by absences. Along with van Persie, Nemanja Vidic is sidelined thanks to his red card against Liverpool, and both Johnny Evans and Chris Smalling are likely misses as well thanks to injury.

What they’re saying:

Sam Allardyce on West Ham’s aims at home: “Our efforts at home are what I have been focusing on with the players. We have won the last three home games on the trot and we have to try to continue that if we can to overcome the little blip we have suffered following two away games we have taken nothing from. The focus is to maintain the home results and try our best to pull off a big win, but if we can’t come away with at least a point.”

David Moyes on using the Olympiakos performance for motivation: “I thought it was great that I could applaud the supporters on Wednesday night. In some of the other games I’ve felt ashamed because the team haven’t played well enough. The big thing was that I could look the supporters in the face after the game because I thought that we had given them something to shout about and had nothing to be ashamed of in our performance.”

Prediction:

The Olympiakos match will no doubt have United near their best.  As great as that is, problems with personnel and consistency at the back leaves many worried for any away games in the Premier League, especially to Upton Park where West Ham have been solid.  This match has Champions League hangover written all over it, and it would be easy to see United dropping points.  Without van Persie and Vidic, they give up an early shock goal and can only get enough for a 1-1 draw on the road as Sam Allardyce again holds court.

Premier League Relegation Watch: Clubs primed to go down (Matchweek 30)

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Matchweek 30 saw massive wins by Fulham and West Brom meaning only seven points separate 12th placed West Ham United from last placed Fulham. The Premier League relegation race is shaping up to come down to the wire with multiple clubs vying for safety.

Here’s the relegation watch currently stands:

source: Getty Images12. WEST HAM UNITED 31 PTS (29 PLD)

Remaining Matches (9): Manchester United (H); Hull City (H); Sunderland (A); Liverpool (H); Arsenal (A); Crystal Palace (H); West Brom (A); Tottenham (H); Manchester City (A)

League Form: WWWWLL

Other Competitions: None

Injuries: Marco Boriello, shin (no return date); Joey O’Brien, shoulder (April 14th

Vegas odds to be relegated: 16/1

Verdict: West Ham ripped off four straight wins in February but have since lost two straight to Everton (0-1) and Stoke City (1-3), respectively. But with key players (Andy Carroll and Winston Reid) now healthy, the Hammers should have no problem reaching the 40 point mark.

source: Getty Images13. HULL CITY 30 PTS (28 PLD)

Remaining Matches (9): West Bromwich Albion (H); West Ham United (A); Stoke City (A); Swansea City (H); Manchester United (A); Arsenal (H); Fulham (A); Aston Villa (A); Everton (H)

League Form: DWLWLL

Other Competitions: FA Cup (v. Sheffield United on March 13th)

Injuries: Robbie Brady, groin (no return date); Paul McShane, ankle (no return date), Joe Dudgeon, knee (no return date)

Vegas odds to be relegated: 12/1

Verdict: Despite losing two straight, Hull City have enjoyed a fantastic Premier League season and few will have the Tigers pegged to go down. With a favorable end of the season schedule and a relatively healthy roster, expect Hull to be in the league come next August.

source:  14. SWANSEA CITY 29 PTS (29 PLD)

Remaining Matches (9): Everton (A); Arsenal (A); Norwich City (H); Hull City (A); Chelsea (H); Newcastle United (A); Aston Villa (H); Southampton (H); Sunderland (A)

League Form: LWDLDL

Other Competitions: None

Injuries: Nathan Dyer, ankle (March 22nd); Jonjo Shelvey, hamstring (March 22nd); Kyle Bartley, hamstring (no return date)

Vegas odds to be relegated: 10/1

Verdict: These are troubling times at the Liberty Stadium as Swansea find themselves with the second worst form record in the league having taking only five of a possible 18 points from their last six matches. The free-fall can be blamed on a number of things, namely an injury plagued season, participation in the Europa League and managerial ineptitude.

Making matters worse for the Swans is their end of the season schedule which boasts difficult fixtures with Everton, Arsenal, Chelsea, Newcastle and Southampton as well as potential relegation six-pointers with Norwich and Sunderland.

source: Getty Images15. NORWICH CITY 29 PTS (30 PLD)

Remaining Matches (8): Sunderland (H); Swansea City (A); West Bromwich Albion (H); Fulham (A); Liverpool (H); Manchester United (A); Chelsea (A); Arsenal (H)

League Form: DLWLDL

Other Competitions: None

Injuries: Leroy Fer, hamstring (no return date); Jonas Gutierrez, calf (March 22nd); Michael Turner, hamstring (March 22nd); Elliot Bennett, knee (April 5th)

Vegas odds to be relegated: 7/4

Verdict: If anyone who is currently safe is going to get relegated, Norwich City looks the most likely. The Canaries put in a lopsided effort at Southampton this past weekend, coming back from 3-0 down to lose 4-2. With only eight matches to play, Chris Hughton’s side must take points in their next four matches, all of which are winnable. After that, however, it’s curtains for Norwich who end the season against Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal.

source: Getty Images16. WEST BROMWICH ALBION 28 PTS (29 PLD)

Remaining Matches (9): Hull City (A); Cardiff City (H); Norwich City (A); Tottenham (H); Manchester City (A); West Ham United (H); Arsenal (A); Sunderland (H); Stoke City (H)

League Form: DLDDLW

Other Competitions: None

Injuries: Morgan Amalfitano, knock (no return date); Chris Brunt, knee (April 21st); Billy Jones, hamstring (March 29th); Claudio Yacob, hamstring (March 22nd); Diego Lugano, knee (April 5th)

Vegas odds to be relegated: 7/2

Verdict: Such a massive win for West Brom this past weekend. To go into the Liberty Stadium and come from 0-1 down to win 2-1 will be a huge boost to the confidence of Pepe Mel’s side. The Albion remains banged up with a number of key injuries but with six of their final nine contests against clubs outside the Top 10, staying up looks to be in the cards.

source: Getty Images17. CRYSTAL PALACE 28 PTS (29 PLD)

Remaining Matches (9): Newcastle United (A); Chelsea (H); Cardiff City (A); Aston Villa (H); Everton (A); West Ham United (A); Manchester City (H); Liverpool (H); Fulham (A)

League Form: LWLDLD

Other Competitions: None

Injuries: Danny Gabbidon, knock (March 22nd); Barry Bannan, illness (March 22nd); Marouane Chamakh, hamstring (March 29th)

Vegas odds to be relegated: 3/2

Verdict: Winless in their last four, Palace need to be careful. They worked hard to ascend out of the relegation zone after Tony Pulis was appointed but the Eagles are now finding it difficult to see out the spring. And with a challenging end of the season schedule pitting Palace against Newcastle, Chelsea, Everton, City and Liverpool the points won’t come easy for the Selhurst Park faithful.

source: Getty Images18. SUNDERLAND 24 PTS (27 PLD)

Remaining Matches (11): Norwich City (A); Liverpool (A); West Ham United (H); Tottenham (A); Everton (H); Manchester City (A); Chelsea (A); Cardiff City (H); Manchester United (A); West Bromwich Albion (H); Swansea City (H)

League Form: DWWLLD

Other Competitions: None

Injuries: Steven Fletcher, ankle (no return date); Keiren Westwood, shoulder (no return date)

Vegas odds to be relegated: 7/4

Verdict: Of the three teams currently in the relegation zone, Sunderland feel like the most likely to escape. With 11 matches left to play (and most of those being favorable matchups) and having reduced their workload by exiting from the FA Cup, Gus Poyet’s side will have no excuses if they go down. The health of Steven Fletcher will be a factor but with Jozy Altidore available and Ignacio Scocco added to the strike ranks this winter, the Black Cats still have options up top to get the job down.

source: Getty Images19. CARDIFF CITY 25 PTS (30 PLD)

Remaining Matches (9): Liverpool (H); West Bromwich Albion (A); Crystal Palace (H); Southampton (A); Stoke City (H); Sunderland (A); Newcastle United (A); Chelsea (H)

League Form: LDLLWL

Other Competitions: None

Injuries: Ben Turner, knock (no return date); Andrew Taylor, knock (no return date); Mark Hudson, hamstring (no return date)

Vegas odds to be relegated: 1/4

Verdict: Vegas has Cardiff as the most likely squad to be relegated and for good reason – the Bluebirds are in the worst form of any club in the league and have only eight matches to play. If there are upsides to Cardiff’s situation it’s that the remaining matches are against favorable opponents and the squad is in good health. That said, talk to any pundit covering the Premier League and he’ll tell you Cardiff is destined to be playing in the Championship next season.

source: Getty Images20. FULHAM 24 PTS (30 PLD)

Remaining Matches (8): Manchester City (A); Everton (H); Aston Villa (A); Norwich City (H); Tottenham Hotspur (A); Hull City (H); Stoke City (A); Crystal Palace (H)

League Form: DLDLLW

Other Competitions: None

Injuries: Kostas Mitroglu, knee (no return date); Ashkan Dejagah, groin (no return date); Giorgos Karagounis, muscle injury (no return date); Scott Parker, knee (March 22nd); Damien Duff, knock (no return date)

Vegas odds to be relegated: 2/7

Verdict: Fulham is only slightly more likely than Cardiff to make it out of the relegation zone. Like the Bluebirds, the Cottagers don’t have any games in hand on their opponents. But Felix Magath’s team did play quite well this past weekend, defeating Newcastle 1-0 at the Cottage. It’s a win that they’ll look to gain some motivation from although Manchester City and Everton will be difficult tasks over the next two weeks.

When April comes, however, the fixture list becomes quite favorable for Fulham with matches against Villa, Norwich, Hull, Stoke and Palace. So while the situation is bleak for Fulham a thin line hope still remains.

Watch Live: West Ham United vs. Swansea (Lineups and Discuss)

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With a win over Swansea at Upton Park today, West Ham could pull themselves out of the relegation zone (7:45 a.m. ET, watch live online on NBC Sports Live Extra).

The Irons have had an interesting time of it over the past couple months, with their normally stoic defense often falling to pieces, most notably in cup matches. But West Ham managed to hold Chelsea to a goalless draw midweek, and by bringing in five players on loan this January, it’s clear they mean to do whatever they can to stay in the Premier League.

That may include Sam Allardyce sticking to his traditional tactics against Swansea, particularly as it proved so fruitful midweek. The Swans are no Chelsea – especially without Michu – but they’ve still managed to make things tough for the opposition. The reverse fixture ended in a 0-0 draw, and Allardyce just might decide to play for that point once more.

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West Ham may have made a splash in the transfer market, swooping in to snag quite a few out of favor players from Serie A, but none of the new signings make the Starting XI. Allardyce makes just two changes to the side that held Chelsea midweek, with Joey O’Brien and Mohamed Diamé both injured. Matt Jarvis and George McCartney step in to help prop up the Irons’ defense.

Swansea didn’t make as many waves in the transfer market – rather surprisingly, considering the injuries they’ve faced this season – but newcomer David Ngog makes the bench. Michael Laudrup has made three changes to the side that beat Fulham midweek, with Angel Rangel, Leon Britton and Pablo Hernández dropping to the bench, and Dwight Tiendalli, Jordi Amat and Nathan Dyer taking their place.

LINEUPS

West Ham United: Adrian, McCartney, Nolan, Tomkins, Jarvis, Carroll, Taylor, Noble, Collins, Demel, Downing

Subs: Jaaskelainen, Reid, Morrison, C.Cole, Johnson, Borriello, Nocerino

Swansea City: Tremmel, Tiendalli, Chico, Williams, Davies, Amat, de Guzman, Shelvey, Dyer, Routledge, Bony

Subs: Cornell, Rangel, Britton, Pozuelo, Lamah, Hernandez, Ngog