Chance for Otamendi or Demichelis to catch eye

LONDON • English Premier League leaders Manchester City's hope that Sergio Aguero's early return from injury could spark an immediate response after their latest Champions League meltdown was tempered yesterday by the news that captain Vincent Kompany is out of their clash with West Ham.

Manuel Pellegrini's side were buoyant after winning their opening five Premier League matches.

Hence, it was a surprise to many that on Tuesday, in the Champions League, they lost 1-2 at home to a Juventus side who have started the Serie A season poorly.

The task now for City is to pick up their domestic momentum again, by claiming a 12th successive Premier League victory today.

But they will be without key defender Kompany who has played a big role in City not conceding a goal in the Premier League this season.

"Sergio Aguero has recovered very well, he is 100 per cent, so he will play (against West Ham) without any problems," said Pellegrini yesterday.

"Vincent Kompany is not fit for the game. We will see how he recovers. He won't be fit for Tuesday (League Cup tie at Sunderland) so we will see for the Tottenham game (next Saturday)."

Kompany came off with a calf injury 15 minutes from the end of the defeat by Juventus although he suggested then that it was nothing to worry about.

City's central defence will today likely be manned by Eliaquim Mangala and either Nicolas Otamendi, who will then make his first start for the club, or Martin Demichelis.

"It's always important to have the captain and especially at a time when we have not conceded any goals," said the manager. "But I never complain about the players who cannot play. It is an opportunity for Otamendi to demonstrate why he is here and maybe for Demichelis to show the form he showed at the end of last season."

Pellegrini's side are four points clear at the top of the table.

However, standing in their way are a West Ham side who have collected away wins over Arsenal and Liverpool this season. With that kind of away record, Slaven Bilic's men are not to be taken lightly.



Singtel TV Ch102 & StarHub Ch227, tomorrow, 12.30am

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 19, 2015, with the headline 'Chance for Otamendi or Demichelis to catch eye'. Print Edition | Subscribe