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Prediction: Manchester City vs West Ham

One more point will prove enough for Manuel Pellegrini to lift the Premier League trophy in his first attempt, but the Citizens cannot afford to take the West Ham game lightly. The Hammers can prove to be very difficult opposition and they arrive at the Etihad in good spirits having beaten local rivals Tottenham 2-0 last weekend.

Manchester City may not have always been considered the main candidates for the Premiership trophy, but the Citizens have proved to be the most consistent of all contenders and they are deservedly in pole position ahead of the final round of fixtures. Even with star player Sergio Aguero missing a big chunk of the action through various injuries, Manchester City managed to stay on course, with four hard-fought victories in the business end of the season seeing them open up a two-point lead at the top. All they need to do is take at least one point from the final fixture against West Ham and while that may look like an easy task for the team that scored 100 league goals this term and the one that boast a 16-1-1 home record, this will be anything but a walk in the park. The Citizens needed more than an hour to break Aston Villa’s leaky defence in their previous home game, with nerves likely to play a part in the West Ham clash as well. And while Manchester City should ultimately record a result that will see them win the trophy, I just cannot see them recording a big win against rock-solid West Ham. Latest reports suggest Sergio Aguero will be fit to start, while Fernandinho could also be recalled.

West Ham have survived another Premier League campaign under Sam Allardyce and they have every reason to be satisfied with how this season has panned out. The Hammers managed to make life difficult even for league’s strongest sides and it they had been just a bit more consistent, a top table finish would be a reality. Sam Allardyce has put together a strong group of players with plenty of Premiership experience, and with Andy Carroll proving his fitness in the second part of the campaign, the future looks bright for the Hammers. Having climbed to 12th place in the standings with an impressive triumph over local rivals Tottenham, West Ham will give their best to remain there after the Sunday’s fixtures as that would mean at least few more millions in the bank. Sam Allardyce’s side may not boast an impressive away record, but they have frustrated quite a few top sides on the road, with a goalless draw at Stamford Bridge and 3-0 triumph over Spurs springing to mind. Chances are they will be looking to do the same against Manchester City, and I can see them keeping the result respectable at the Etihad.

Conclusion

The Aston Villa game proved Manchester City do not always perform well under pressure and no doubt the Citizens will be feeling the nerves in the final game of the season against West Ham. With one point also sufficient to win the title, the hosts are likely to adopt a cautious approach, meaning we should see a low-scoring game.

Verdict: Under 3.5 goals

Best Odds: 1/1

Bookmaker: William Hill

Sat 10 May, 2014
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