Verdict: Manchester City win
Best Odds: 1/12
The Premier League returns to its more usual spot on the weekend following another round of incredibly exciting games in midweek. Goals were scored, shots were saved, and managers were sent to the stands in what was another gripping round of fixtures, and the fans will be looking forward to seeing their favourites teams do it all over again at the weekend. Two side that are enjoying vastly differing fortunes are Manchester City and West Ham, with the two going head-to-head on Sunday.
What a season this is proving to be for Manchester City. After 14 games they are yet to lose, having won 13 times, drawing the other. Equally as impressive is their scoring record, having found the back of the net 44 times, whilst only being breached nine times. It is clear that Pep Guardiola’s team are the side to beat in England this year, while they are proving they are a force to be reckoned with in Europe too. However, their last two games have been too close to call, with both needing a late Raheem Sterling goal to see off Huddersfield and Southampton in 2-1 wins. While this has helped to maintain their unbeaten start, the other 17 teams in the league will have noted the style in which City’s last two opponents played, with Guardiola’s men struggling to press home their advantage. Therefore, City’s game against West Ham is as much about reasserting their dominance as it is about taking all three points. Kevin De Bruyne is likely to once again be pulling the strings from the middle as he continues a rich vein of form which has seen him become the best midfielder in the league by some distance, and he will look to get the City scoring machine purring once again. Of course, their success has not just stemmed from the midfielder, with the likes of Leroy Sane, Gabriel Jesus, Sergio Aguero and Sterling all in sublime form for their side.
John Stones (hamstring) and Benjamin Medny (cruciate ligament) are out of the game against West Ham, while Vincent Kompany and Fernandinho are both at risk of suspension after picking up four yellow cards this season.
At the start of the season there was so much optimism surrounding West Ham, with the side looking to press on from a fairly disappointing season the year before. Millions of pounds were spent on improving the squad, with some real Premier League experience in the shape of Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta, Javier Hernandez and Marko Arnautovic all brought in to improve the side. However, they have struggled to have a positive impact on the team, with the Hammers languishing in the bottom half of the table. Indeed, they are currently in 18th place in the league with just 10 points, and their last five games has seen them pick up just two points, with David Moyes’ start a nightmare one so far. Things need to turn around and quickly, but they will likely only suffer their second defeat in a row. The game itself will likely see West Ham play a classic long-ball game, with Andy Carroll a real handful on his day. City’s defenders have been better this season, but they are still a long way from a perfect defence, and Carroll will relish the chance to bully the centre-halves and play a starring role in the game
West Ham have a few players ruled out through injury for this one, with most being defenders. Jose Fonte and Doneil Harvey (knee) remain out, but Sam Byram (thigh) and Javier Hernandez (hamstring) could return to action for the game. Joe Hart will miss the game as he is unable to play against Manchester City, his parent club.
Manchester City have scored 44 goals already, 12 more than any other team.
Manchester City have won 19 games in a row in all competitions, the last time they dropped points came against Everton on August 21st.
West Ham have not won in seven Premier League games, with their last win coming against Swansea on September 30th.
West Ham have conceded 30 goals this season, the most by any side in the league.
In their last 15 encounters, Manchester City have won 11 times, with the Hammers winning twice, and the other two games ending in draws.
The smart money says there is only one winner in this one. City have been unstoppable so far, and it doesn’t look like the Hammers will be the ones to finally put an end to their impressive run. David Moyes will likely settle for an improved performance on their 4-0 loss at the hands of Everton in midweek, but he may be looking at an even more demoralising defeat if City are in the mood on Sunday.
Verdict: Manchester City win
Best Odds: 1/12
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