Birmingham v West Ham – The men to watch

Tonight sees the second semi-final of the Carling Cup as Birmingham City and West Ham do battle for the right to face Arsenal at Wembley in the final. The tie is evenly poised; with Avram Grant’s men taking a 2-1 lead into the match at St Andrew’s tonight, meaning that there’s everything to play for. But who will be the players that will make the difference tonight?

One man that Birmingham manager Alex McLeish would like to have included but can’t because he’s cup-tied is new signing David Bentley. The on loan midfielder would have undoubtedly relished the chance to send Birmingham to the final, but it will be up to his new teammates to do just that.

It was defender Liam Ridgewell who scored for the Blues in the first leg, and the former Aston Villa man is Birmingham’s second highest Picklive points scorer this season, averaging a solid 50 points per game. The man at the top of the list as far as Birmingham are concerned is Barry Ferguson, and bearing in mind that he was the top scorer of both teams in the first leg with 84 points, the Scotsman is definitely worth selecting.

As far as West Ham are concerned, there is one player who has stood out from the crowd in Picklive this season: Mark Noble. The West Ham midfielder netted the opening goal in the first leg, helping to earn him 80 points and contributing to his 61 point average this season so far.

With Victor Obinna and Frederic Piquionne both suspended, West Ham will be hoping that another man who scored in the first leg will be able to net again tonight; namely Carlton Cole. However, another man who has been in amongst the goals regularly this season is Jonathan Spector, and I wouldn’t bet against him adding to his Carling Cup tally tonight.

You would expect tonight to be a fairly tight game, with Ridgewell, Ferguson and Noble three men who have plenty of Picklive pedigree. So it’s well worth considering them for selection when you choose your Picklive trio for the Carling Cup encounter tonight!

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