West Ham v Man City
London Stadium - 7/8/22 - 16.30pm
West Ham have a tricky looking opening fixture of the season on Sunday when they welcome Premier league champions Man City to the London Stadium. David Moyes men had a very promising 2021/22 season with a top 8 finish in the league and making the Europa League Semi Finals where they were edged out by Eintract Frankfurt. The Hammers havnt rested on their laurels though and have invested significantly in the squad with the arrivals of Gianluca Scamacca , Nayef Aguerd , Alphonse Areola, Flynn Downes and Maxwell Cornet. The only notable absentees from last year are Mark Noble who has retired and Andriy Yarmolenko and Ryan Fredericks who have left the club.
The Irons have been busy during pre season with no fewer than 7 fixtures with just a sole defeat coming in Glasgow against Rangers (3-1), they have beaten Servette & Ipswich and drawn with Lens, Luton, Reading and Boreham Wood so there is no reason they should come into this opening weekend fixture underdone.
West Ham boss Moyes said during Friday’s press conference that patience would be needed when it comes to new signing Scamacca, who will not be considered for a start this weekend. Angelo Ogbonna is making excellent progress in his recovery from a long-term knee injury, but the experienced centre-back is also out, while new signing Aguerd is missing due to an ankle problem. As a result, the starting side is expected to have a familiar look to it, with Michail Antonio likely to lead the line, while Rice will captain the team from the middle of the park. Said Benrahma is likely to be given the nod on the left, with Jarrod Bowen and Pablo Fornals also set to feature in the positions behind Antonio.
Man City will begin the defense of the Premier League Title in confident mood having seen rivals Liverpool drop points at Fulham on Saturday and with some quality new additions to the squad this season with Erling Haaland, Julian Alvarez and Kalvin Phillips signing the future looks bright for Pep Guardiola’s side. They will head into this season without Fernandinho who has left the club to return to Brazil and Gabriel Jesus and Olksandr Zinchenko who moved to join Arsenal. The biggest loss however for the Citizens could be Raheem Sterling who has joined rivals Chelsea.
A big concern for Man City fans is how lacking they looked in last weekends Community Shield defeat to Liverpool (3-1). They lacked the usual precision and quality you expect from this squad and Liverpool looked a yard better. This could be explained by changes in personel to the squad but more possibly due to the fact they have only played 3 fixtures in pre season beating Bayern (1-0) and Club America (2-1) before the loss last weekend in Leicester.
There are Injury problems for City ahead of the trip to the capital with Aymeric Laporte is out until at least September following a knee injury, while John Stones is lacking match fitness, so Nathan Ake should again feature alongside Ruben Dias in the middle of defence. Guardiola has big decisions to make in the positions further forward; Haaland is set to make his Premier League debut at centre-forward, while Phil Foden and Riyad Mahrez are also likely to feature in the final third, which could leave Jack Grealish on the bench. Bernardo Silva is likely to start in midfield despite the speculation surrounding his future, while the likes of Kyle Walker, Joao Cancelo, Kevin De Bruyne, Ederson and Rodri will also be in the side.
HEAD TO HEAD - LAST 6
|19 Feb 2020||Manchester City v West Ham United||W||2-0||Premier League|
|24 Oct 2020||West Ham United v Manchester City||D||1-1||Premier League|
|27 Feb 2021||Manchester City v West Ham United||W||2-1||Premier League|
|27 Oct 2021||West Ham United v Manchester City||L||0-0||League Cup|
|28 Nov 2021||Manchester City v West Ham United||W||2-1||Premier League|
|15 May 2022||West Ham United v Manchester City||D||2-2||Premier League|
All of the attention will understandably be on Erling Haaland on Sunday and can he get off the mark early in the Premier League but my goal scorer bet comes from the opposition starting side and its Michail Antonio, he might not be the most prolific striker in the league but he relishes the challenge of facing City and has scored 4 times against them, he looks big at 12/1 (Betfred) to score First.
This looks a tough test for City if they are to get all 3 points, they have failed to win at The London Stadium on the last 3 visits and they were in dire straits at the back end of last season when they found themselves 2-0 down going into half time before earning a point. West Ham will be hoping to push towards the Top 6 again but they will have to improve on there home form as they were beaten 5 times last year. With the decent recent record West Ham have at home to City and the stable squad that David Moyes has i think that West Ham can pick up a point here at a best price 4/1 with Mr Green