Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Prediction: West Ham vs Manchester City

Verdict: Raheem Sterling to score anytime

Best Odds: 5/6

Bookmaker: Bet365

After lifting the Community Shield at Wembley last weekend, Manchester City will look to get their Premier League title defence off to a winning start when they travel to West Ham on Saturday lunchtime.

West Ham

Starting with Saturday’s hosts, after enjoying a three-match winning run to end the 2018/2019 season, including a 1-0 win over Spurs, many in East London are starting to believe West Ham can make a real charge for European football this year. Once again heavily investing during the summer transfer window, Manuel Pellegrini has added both Pablo Fornals and Sébastien Haller to his squad. Although the Hammers may have continued to catch the eye during pre-season and have been spearhead by Manuel Lanzini who has four in his last four, many in the capital still have concerns over West Ham’s defensive issues. Along with shipping a pair of goals against La Liga outfit Atletico Bilbao at the London Stadium on Saturday, the hosts have failed to record just a single clean sheet in any of their last seven appearances.

Team News

West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini still remains unsure if captain Mark Noble will be fit to feature on Saturday, this means new signing Pablo Fornals could make a first Premier League appearance. The Hammers are also sweating over the fitness of Lukasz Fabianski, with the first choice goalkeeper picking up a groin/pelvic injury during pre-season.

Manchester City

As for the visitors, while Manchester City would have been disappointed to have failed to lift the Champions League last season, the Sky Blues enjoyed a stellar domestic sweep in England top-tier. Eventually holding a one-point buffer over Liverpool and securing back-to-back Premier League titles and also secured their first piece of silverware last weekend. With the Community Shield already in the bag, the former Barcelona boss will be looking for his side to continue their free-scoring antics. Bagging 93 top-flight goals last season, City also held the best-attacking record of any side across England’s footballing leagues. The defending Premier League champions will also be boosted by their very impressive record against Saturday’s hosts. Along with picking up a 4-1 win in the Asia Trophy last month, the Sky Blues have won each of their last eight matches against the Hammers, scoring 13 goals in their last four meets.

Team News

Leroy Sane suffered a knee injury against Liverpool in the Community Shield and may not be risked, while Fernandinho will be pushing for a return. Sergio Aguero could start up front having been rested at Wembley, especially with Sane set to miss out.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Manchester City have won their last eight matches against West Ham.
  • Raheem Sterling has scored four goals in his last four matches against West Ham.
  • West Ham have conceded five goals in their last two appearances.
  • Manuel Lanzini scored four goals in his last four pre-season matches.
  • Manchester City scored 95 Premier League goals last season, the best-attacking record of any side in England’s footballing leagues.

Conclusion

While West Ham might be dreaming of securing European football this season, Manchester City should see their trip to the London Stadium as a golden opportunity to make an early statement. Securing an empathic 4-1 win when the two sides met in the Asia Cup last month, we’re backing the Citizens to start off where they finished off last season.

Verdict: Raheem Sterling to score anytime

Best Odds: 5/6

Bookmaker: Bet365

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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