Fernandinho return can fortify City
AFP

High-flying Manchester United take on Hull

  • A man takes a selfie with Switzerland's Roger Federer as he holds his Australian Open trophy upon his arrival at Zurich airport yesterday  
    Photo- REUTERS

Kevin de Bruyne believes Fernandinho's return from suspension will provide the foundation for Manchester City to get their spluttering Premier League campaign back on track at West Ham United today.

Pep Guardiola's side have dropped out of the top four and trail leaders Chelsea by 12 points after winning just one of their last four league games.

Guardiola wrote off City's titles hopes during that unexpected slump, but a comfortable 3-0 victory at Crystal Palace in the FA Cup fourth round on Saturday was a much needed tonic and De Bruyne anticipates the return of Brazil midfielder Fernandinho will be even more significant.

Fernandinho has served a four-match ban after receiving his third red card in six games in a win against Burnley on January 2.

During Fernandinho's absence, City looked alarmingly vulnerable and were thrashed 4-0 at Everton in Guardiola's heaviest league defeat as a manager.

But the 31-year-old is expected to return to the starting line-up at the London Stadium, with De Bruyne predicting an upturn in City's fortunes.

De Bruyne is confident City can put together a long winning streak as they face Swansea City, Bournemouth, Sunderland and Stoke City after the Hammers clash.

City return to east London less than a month after thrashing West Ham 5-0 in the FA Cup third round.

That chastening experience should ensure West Ham are fully motivated to make amends in their first match since the sale of midfielder Dimitri Payet. Payet returned to former club Marseille after weeks of rancour over his attempt to engineer the transfer. 

Print Friendly and PDF