Reigning Premier League holders Manchester City entertain top-four high-flyers West Ham United at the Etihad Stadium in Sunday’s blockbuster fixture.
Pep Guardiola’s side came from a 1-0 down to beat bitter European rivals Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 in midweek Champions League action, adding to their confidence ahead of this clash.
Sat three points adrift of league-leaders Chelsea, the Cityzens will be looking to leapfrog the Blues, who face an underperforming Manchester United at Stamford Bridge.
But City can ill-afford to underestimate the Hammers, who have already shown that last season’s top-six finish was no fluke.
Despite slumping to a narrow 1-0 loss away to Wolverhampton Wanderers last time out, David Moyes’ men have recovered almost instantaneously, beating Rapid Vienna 2-0 in Thursday’s Europea League match.
West Ham are on course to establish themselves as genuine top-four candidates, and a win at the Etihad would lift the club’s appetite.
Manchester City vs West Ham United
Although a potential triumph in Manchester might even back West Ham’s title credentials, their recent fortunes at the Etihad firmly play down those hopes.
The Hammers have recorded just one win in their last 15 Premier League away meetings with Man City (D1, L13), courtesy of a 2-1 win in September 2015.
However, since that success, the Londoners have five consecutive top-flight H2Hs at the Etihad, conceding an average of 2.00 goals per match.
Indeed, since Guardiola took charge of City in 2016, the Cityzens have outplayed West Ham in nine of their ten Premier League encounters (D1), returning a resounding +23 goal difference in the process.
Manchester City Preview
Man City have gone from strength to strength following a 2-0 loss to Crystal Palace at home in early November, putting together four straight wins in all competitions since.
In the Premier League alone, the Cityzens have racked up back-to-back victories, beating Manchester United 2-0 on the eve of the international break and following it up with a 3-0 thrashing of Everton.
Barring the abovementioned defeat to Palace, Guardiola’s men have kept a clean sheet in each of their remaining six top-flight home outings this season (W5, D1).
While they look to have found much-needed defensive consistency, Man City have blown hot and cold in the opposition third.
The reigning Premier League champions have drawn a blank in two of their six league matches at home this season.
But once they break their opponent’s backline, they tend to go rampant, netting an average of 3.75 goals per game across the other four home league fixtures.
West Ham United Preview
Raul Jimenez’s 58th-minute streak at Molineux last time out knocked West Ham down from a four-game winning run in the Premier League.
It was also the first time since a goalless away draw with Southampton in early September that the Hammers have failed to get on the scoresheet in England’s top-flight.
Luckily for Moyes, his men have developed a habit of bouncing back in no time, as evidenced by the fact they’ve only lost back-to-back Premier League matches on two occasions since the start of last season.
They have pulled off two turnarounds on the road this season, coming from behind to secure six points out of nine available when conceding first away from home so far (W2, L1).
West Ham will have to muster that healing ability if they are to defy an embarrassing 4% win ratio in the Premier League away fixtures versus reigning champions (W1, D2, L22).
Manchester City vs West Ham United Predicted Line-ups
Manchester City (4-2-3-1): Ederson; Kyle Walker, Ruben Dias, Aymeric Laporte, Joao Cancelo; Rodri, Ilkay Gundogan; Bernardo Silva, Riyad Mahrez, Gabriel Jesus; Raheem Sterling.
West Ham United (4-2-3-1): Lucasz Fabianski; Ben Johnson, Craig Dawson, Kurt Zouma, Aaron Creswell; Declan Rice, Tomas Soucek; Jarrod Bowen, Said Benrahma, Pablo Fornals; Michail Antonio.
Read: Burnley vs Tottenham Hotspur – Premier League Preview, H2H & Predicted Line-ups.
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