West Ham United face Manchester City on Wednesday but is it a good or bad time to play them?
West Ham are facing an uphill battle to survive this season.
The Hammers have gone backwards under David Moyes with just one win in six Premier League games.
As a result the East Londoners are in the relegation zone with 13 games to play.
Six of those are against the current top 10.
And West Ham face consecutive away games against Manchester City and Liverpool next.
Desperate West Ham clutching at straws
So Hammers fans – and Moyes – are clutching at straws as they fight for their lives.
First the game at the Etihad was called off due to Storm Ciara.
Some fans saw that as a positive because it gave Moyes and his new assistants Paul Nevin and Kevin Nolan a chance to bed in.
It also gave injured players the chance to fully recover, the squad a much-needed break from the incessant negativity and new players the opportunity to integrate properly.
When the match was rearranged in the middle of what was supposed to be a two-week winter break, some supporters weren’t happy.
City hit with hefty punishment
But now City have been hit by a new blow after being banned from Europe for two years.
City have been banned from all UEFA competitions for the next two seasons and fined £24.9m for “serious breaches” of UEFA’s Financial Fair Play and club licensing regulations (Sky Sports).
An Adjudicatory Chamber of the Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) found the Premier League champions guilty of serious breaches of the UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations.
There has also been speculation the club could be docked points and forced to play in League Two if the rules are taken to the extreme (Daily Star).
That in turn has once again seen question marks raised over Pep Guardiola’s future beyond this summer (Times of India).
Situation could go one of two ways for Hammers
This could play out one of two ways for West Ham.
City are already well adrift of champions-elect Liverpool and have no chance of retaining their title.
And they no longer have the incentive of ensuring they maintain their Champions League spot for next season.
It could deflate Guardiola’s side and give West Ham – with everything to play for – an edge.
But it could also fire City up and breed a siege mentality. That would be bad news for the Hammers, playing a City side that is like a wounded animal.
West Ham must win four games and draw a couple or secure five victories to have a realistic chance of survival.