West Ham host Man City in the English Premier League on Saturday. Both of these teams have made unbeaten starts to the season with City taking maximum points and the Hammers on 10 points from four fixtures. Pep Guardiola has faced these opponents on 14 occasions with 12 wins and no defeats.
West Ham Form
David Moyes’ side made a great start to this season. They drew on the opening day as they gave up a 1-0 lead at Bournemouth in the 81st minute. They bounced back from that mild disappointment to beat Chelsea 3-1 at home in round two. They played with ten men from the 67th minute yet limited The Blues to just 0.36 xG in the second half.
A superb 3-1 win at Brighton followed with just 22% possession. West Ham put up 3.23 xG from just 12 shots with six of those being ‘big chances’. In their last match, they won 2-1 at Luton. A goal from a set-piece made it 2-0 after 85 minutes before conceding in injury time. The Hammers only created 0.83 xG up until their second goal in an average performance.
West Ham Team News
Central midfielder Tomas Soucek missed the last match with a concussion but he returns for this one. He may need to settle for a place on the bench unless Lucas Paqueta plays off the left and Said Benrahma drops down to the bench.
Mohammed Kudus is set to feature as a sub for the second time after his big-money move from Ajax. Newly signed centre-back Konstantinos Mavropanos is in contention after an injury and he scored twice during the FIFA break for Greece. Moyes is most likely to name an unchanged XI.
West Ham Motivation
Recent matches vs. Man City have seen very defensive performances but without much threat on the break. West Ham have averaged just 36% possession this season and could be below the 30% mark in this match.
A draw would be a great result and Moyes may look to keep it tight and try to nick a late equaliser with a good bench to call upon.
Man City Form
City have won all their matches so far this season despite playing within themselves at times. They won 3-0 in straightforward fashion at Burnley in round one before winning the UEFA Super Cup on penalties. A 1-1 draw with Sevilla in 90 minutes preceded the shootout success. After 1-0 home win over Newcastle followed as they allowed almost no chances: just seven shots and 0.29 xG.
Man City then went to Sheffield United and totally dominated for 84 minutes before conceding a shock equaliser. A Rodri goal soon after rescued a 2-1 win with 80% possession, 30 shots, and 3.60 Expected Goals. They were closer to their swashbuckling best two weeks ago in a 5-1 mauling of Fulham at home. Erling Haaland netted a hattrick as City scored five times from just seven shots.
Man City Team News
There are four injuries for the returning Pep Guardiola to navigate. Mateo Kovacic could miss out with a back problem whilst Kevin De Bruyne is out long-term in midfield. That could mean a start for new singing Matheus Nunes as a number eight.
John Stones is close to a return from a thigh problem and Jack Grealish should also be fit after a hamstring complaint. Jeremy Doku may drop down to the bench with Bernardo Silva returning to the XI on the right flank.
Man City Motivation
City knows they could have around 75% of the ball in this match but they will be aware of the threat of transitions. Four or five players will be kept behind the ball to cover counters.
Guardiola’s side will look to get in front and they possibly conserve energy ahead of the UEFA Champions League getting underway.
West Ham have had the third least possession in the PL this season (36%)
West Ham have lost 12 of their last 15 matches vs Man City (3 draws)
West Ham’s Moyes has lost 11 of his last 13 matches vs City as a manager
Man City have won 16 of their last 18 EPL matches (lost 1, drew 1)
City have scored 15 goals in their last 7 away league matches
On paper, West Ham are a side who could hurt City. However, it rarely pans out that way and a steady 2-0 win looks the most likely outcome. The visitors may not use energy to drive home any advantage with a busy fixture list ahead of them.
Best Bet: Man City win to zero at 2.75
Alternative Bet: Man City win (-1 handicap) at 2.30
High Value Bet: Man City win and Haaland to score first at 4.56