Zabaleta fit to face Hammers

The Barclays Premier League champions feared having no fit specialist right-back after Micah Richards last week joined Zabaleta and Maicon on the injury list. But Zabaleta, after sitting out three matches with a hamstring injury suffered on international duty, is now ready to return.

The 27-year-old told the club's website, "I feel good, I've been training with the team and I think I should be fine to play on Saturday. We have some problems in defence at the moment. We've had three full-backs injured over the past few months, so it is great to be back with the team."

Brazil international Maicon has made just two appearances since his August deadline day move from Inter Milan after suffering a foot injury in the Champions League loss at Real Madrid.

Richards missed the start of the season with an ankle problem sustained representing Great Britain at the Olympics and had been in just his fourth game back when injured last weekend.

The 24-year-old required surgery and faces up to 16 weeks on the sidelines after going down in agony clutching his knee late in the 1-0 win over Swansea at the Etihad Stadium.

Zabaleta said: "It's very disappointing for Micah.

"He's been injured from the start of the season, then he came back and was playing well, but now he has this knee injury.

"This is a time when he has to be extra strong. Obviously it is difficult physically, but also mentally it is very tough when you are injured, you have to stay very strong."

Midfielder Javi Garcia is also hoping to prove his fitness for the weekend after four games out with a thigh injury.

Source: PA

Source: PA