Two teams in need of a rest come together in their final match before the Premier League’s winter break, as Manchester City host West Ham United on Sunday afternoon. Pep Guardiola’s side have been reduced to playing for best of the rest in the wake of runaway leaders Liverpool, while trouble seems to constantly be brewing for the Hammers.
Where and when: Etihad Stadium – 9 February, kick-off 16:30
Where you can see Manchester City vs. West Ham: Sky Sports
Last time: Raheem Sterling fired in a hat-trick as City demolished West Ham 5-0 on the opening day of the season.
Manchester City v West Ham Predictions and Preview
Both of these clubs have been struggling in recent weeks, and both managers need a reset during the winter break. Manchester City are going to relinquish their Premier League title to Liverpool, after defeat to Tottenham last weekend left them 22 points behind the Reds. West Ham, meanwhile, are in the relegation zone and have a battle for survival on their hands.
In the circumstances, the Hammers could’ve done without a trip to the Etihad this weekend. City have won the last eight meetings between the teams, finding the back of the net on 28 occasions. The Blues have kept five clean sheets during that run, including in each of the last three matches, and haven’t shipped more than one to the Irons in over four years.
|Our Eurotips||Odds||Free bets||Bookie|
City to win to nil
West Ham to win 2-1
City to win and over 4.5 goals
City may well be suffering from a dip in form, but they still have huge amounts of quality coursing through their squad. That’s even without Sterling, who’s a doubt for this game through injury. Oleksandr Zinchenko is suspended after his red card on Sunday, but Aymeric Laporte could return to provide Guardiola’s defence with a much-needed boost.
The Citizens boss has been accused of tinkering with his team and tactics too much in recent weeks, with reports suggesting his players asked him to tone things down in the dressing room last weekend. Even so, the Blues are still gunning for a cup treble this season, and despite conceding 14 more goals than Liverpool, and the same number as a beleaguered Manchester United, City have the best attack in the Premier League.
The total of 65 goals they’ve netted so far is five more than the next best, Liverpool. Considering West Ham shipped three to one of the division’s lowest scorers, Brighton, on Saturday, and the Hammers have one of the worst defences in the league, this could be a long afternoon for David Moyes and his men.
The Irons boss saw his team implode at the weekend, with the disastrous defending on show the antithesis to the solid foundations Moyes usually prides himself on. The away win here looks incredibly unlikely at 28/1, although there isn’t much value on City in the outright market. The hosts are 1/9 for the win, while the draw’s available at 11/1.
One to watch for Manchester City: There was some surprise Sergio Aguero didn’t take the penalty missed by Ilkay Gundogan against Spurs. Aguero netted a spot kick against West Ham earlier this season, and with 16 Premier League goals to his name this term, City’s top scorer is the 5/2 favourite to break the deadlock on Sunday.
One to watch for West Ham: Everything started to go wrong for the Hammers at the weekend when Moyes replaced Michail Antonio with Arthur Masuaku. Antonio was having a good game and has been in great form of late, and he could be excellent value at 22/1 for the first goal here.
Long shot: West Ham’s last victory over City was a 2-1 success at the Etihad in September 2015. The Blues have been well below their best for the majority of this season, and a repeat of that scoreline this weekend is priced at 70/1.