City aim to build on Arsenal win with trip to in-form Hammers
Man City to win 3-1
The season is still early, but to look at the Premier League table and see Manchester City sitting in 11th place after four matches is still a surprise.
Their form has been mixed, coming undone against the likes of Leicester and drawing against newly promoted Leeds, giving performances that have been unlike those expected from a Guardiola side.
In fact, they sit two places below their opponents this weekend in West Ham who have enjoyed a fantastic turnaround in form of late.
They themselves are on a high after thrashing the likes of Wolves and Leicester, top teams in their own rights, after starting the season poorly.
Their manager David Moyes will be pleased with their recent form and will currently be confident of avoiding another relegation battle if they can keep this up.
This will be a tough test for The Hammers, however.
Form Guide (all comps): WWLWD
Reasons to be cheerful:
Recent form has been impressive against tough teams
Have been scoring goals for fun
Reasons to be fearful:
Have lost last five home games to City
Sweating over fitness of Antonio
West Ham go into this fixture ahead of Manchester City for the first time in 11 years, such has been their great form of late coinciding with City’s own inconsistencies.
They will also be full of confidence, especially over how they have played recently, winning against Wolves and Leicester, before coming from 3-0 down to draw against Tottenham last weekend.
Indeed, their comeback was the first time in Premier League history a team has avoided defeat after trailing by three or more goals as late as the 81st minute. Their morale will be sky-high coming into this one.
They should have a fit team, although they are facing the prospect of being without star striker Antonio, as well as Sebastian Haller, both through injury.
The Hammers have scored at least three goals in their last three matches, and you feel they’ll need to do the same to beat City this weekend.
Star Man – Pablo Fornals
In great scoring form having goals and assists in recent games
Form Guide (all comps): LWDWW
Reasons to be cheerful
Two good wins in a week against Arsenal and Porto
Star striker Sergio Aguero is back and scoring
Reasons to be fearful
Still question marks over defence
Injury concerns remain
Coming out of the International break, many critics were predicting that this could be a season of change for City and their manager Pep Guardiola off the back of mixed form and a raft of injuries which had shown that not all was well in their camp.
A big defeat to Leicester was followed by a draw against newly-promoted Leeds, and their overall performances were not at the level you would expect compared to previous seasons.
This week, some element of normality has returned at The Etihad with a well-constructed victory over Arsenal in league was followed by a comfortable 3-1 win to kick off their Champions League campaign, including a goal from injury returnee Aguero.
Unfortunately, De Bruyne remains out, as may the likes of Laporte, Ake and Mendy in defence, which has been the main area of concern for City this season.
They should still have too much for The Hammers, but we’ve seen plenty of goals in this season’s Premier League, and West Ham are in great form themselves.
Star Man – Sergio Aguero
Has a point to prove after missing the start of the season with injury. Will want to make up for lost time
City will look to put on the pressure from the start
Sergio Aguero will be desperate to get on the scoresheet again
West Ham should play positively as they can score themselves
City will go into this game with more confidence than they may have a week or so ago. Two good wins in a week has provided some sense of ‘business as usual’ for Guardiola’s men.
If they are positive from the start here, the likes of Aguero, Sterling and co. should have enough for West Ham this time around.
However, West Ham have shown their powers of recovery recently, and with three or more goals in each of their last three matches, they have enough firepower to trouble City if they are on form.
Man City to win 3-1