Manchester City and West Ham will meet at Boleyn Ground on Jan. 21 for the second leg of their semi-final clash in the Capital One Cup.
Thanks to Manchester City's dominance in the first leg, there isn't a lot of drama in this one. The Citizens beat West Ham on Jan. 8, 6-0. Anything is possible in sports, but West Ham beating Manchester City by six or more is highly unlikely.
West Ham - Manchester City Preview: Hosts face impossible task http://t.co/osdsN0SgzZ— Goal (@goal_intl) January 20, 2014
Perhaps Manchester City's recent flurry of matches will have taken a toll they simply can't overcome?
Manchester City have been getting run ragged. This will be City's eighth match since Dec. 26. Still, how fatigued would City have to be to get blown out by more than six?
At any rate, although this match amounts to little more than a high-profile friendly, there should still be some fun soccer to enjoy.
Check out everything you need to know to help you do just that.
When: Tuesday, Jan. 21 at 7:45 p.m. GMT/2:45 p.m. ET
Where: Boleyn Ground, Upton Park, London
Watch: beIN Sport; Fox Soccer 2 Go; Sky Sports 1 (U.K.); Sky Now (U.K.)
Odds (via William Hill)
Manchester City: -250
West Ham: +700
Key Storyline: Will Manchester City treat this like a friendly?
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini isn't a big fan of his team's hectic schedule. The Guardian's Paul Wilson passed along this quote from Pellegrini after their recent 1-0 win over Crystal Palace: "I always knew this game would not be easy. We were not fresh; it is impossible to play two games in so little time, and it is always difficult when only one team is trying to play."
Pellegrini can't do anything about lightening the schedule at this point, but he can help make that schedule easier on his team. Gaining a 6-0 lead in the first leg of this contest was certainly one way to do that.
City will have an FA Cup tie on Jan. 25 and then a Jan. 29 return to the Premier League against Tottenham. This is a great opportunity for Pellegrini to get his side some rest before that stretch of matches.
Spurs will be looking to exact revenge on their 6-0 beat down and will test City's road resolve.
Then, just five days after that match, City will host Chelsea for a huge showdown.
Prediction: West Ham 2-3 Manchester City
This contest will be far closer than the first leg. Although it remains to be seen if West Ham will be going after this one at 100 percent, they do enjoy the home pitch, and Manchester City has not been nearly as potent away from Etihad.
Still, the Citizens will escape with the win and move on to bigger matches.