Before Manchester City hit the big-time in August 2008 and became one of Europe’s footballing super powers, they were on an even footing with the likes of West Ham.
A Capital One Cup Semi-Final meeting between these two sides about seven or eight years ago would have been a difficult one to call, with both sets of players evenly matched in almost every area of the pitch.
But that’s all changed since City fortunately became the oil-rich Abu Dhabi United Group’s new business venture in the Premier League.
Since that day in August 2008, City have had the pleasure of signing a number of Europe’s most sought after players for fees they could only dream of just years before.
And if you compare the amount of talent City manager Manuel Pellegrini has at his disposal compared to West Ham manager Sam Allardyce, there’s little to suggest that the Hammers have any chance of progressing to their first League Cup final since 1981.
When these sides met in the FA Cup quarter-finals in 2006, which the Hammers won 2-1 on their way to a historic final defeat on penalties to Liverpool, the market value of their squads were very similar.
According to www.transfermarkt.co.uk, Manchester City had a squad worth an estimated £75.5million that included the likes of an 18-year-old Georgios Samaras, a 23-year-old Joey Barton, a 17-year-old Micah Richards and 25-year-old Darius Vassell.
The Hammers had a similar looking squad, which was estimated at around £50.5million, and included Dean Ashton (22-years-old), Yossi Benayoun (25), Bobby Zamora (24) and Mark Noble (18).
But now it’s a completely different story all together. The Hammers are pretty much at exactly the same point as they were back in 2006 with an estimated market squad value of £84million.
But Manchester City have moved in to a completely different league all together, one that the Hammers can only dream of reaching.
City’s current crop of strikers are worth more than Sam Allardyce’s entire squad put together. Sergio Aguero (market value of £35million), Edin Dzeko (£24m), Alvaro Negredo (£22m) and Stevan Jovetic (£23milion) are arguably City’s main threats to any of their opponents over a course of a season. They are the firepower behind City’s impressive home form so far this season, so it’s little wonder why they are worthy so much money.
The value of the Hammers’ four front men do not even make up the value of Negredo alone. Andy Carroll (£14m), Modibo Maiga (£2.6m), Carlton Cole (£1.3m) and Mladen Petric (£1.8m).
And that is perhaps where this Capital One Cup Semi-Final will be decided. The first-leg at the Etihad Stadium could see the return of West Ham’s record signing Andy Carroll, but his much-needed contribution is not expected to outweigh that of the likes of Aguero and Negredo.
Aguero’s brace at Upton Park earlier this season proved to be the difference in their Premier League meeting, and he will be expected to do it all again in both legs to ensure City reach the Wembley final in February.
West Ham’s steady progress towards Premier League stability is exactly what City fans were expecting at the turn of the last decade. But as we edge closer to the half-way stage of the current decade, City fans are basking in the glory of being the favourites for almost everything and enjoying the company of some of the world’s best players week-in, week-out.
And that shouldn’t change in this Semi-Final with City possessing more than enough strength up front to brush aside the Hammers.
They say you don’t win a football match on paper but, on the pitch alone, City are showing more signs of success than the Hammers are at the moment.
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