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Preview: West Ham United vs Manchester City – prediction, team news, line-ups

One of the most exciting match-ups of this weekend’s Premier League schedule pits West Ham United and Manchester City against each other on Saturday. 

Buzzing from the Europa Conference League triumph last season, the Hammers have emerged as one of the most pleasant surprises of the early 2023/24 campaign. 

Despite losing long-serving stalwart Declan Rice to Arsenal, David Moyes’ men have enjoyed a flying start to the new league season, defying our low expectations in the 2023/24 Irons preview.

After eking out a late 1-1 draw at Bournemouth on the opening weekend, they have stitched together three consecutive top-flight victories, including a 2-1 win at newly-promoted Luton Town last time out.

Moyes can only hope September’s international break won’t knock his overachieving side off their perch, especially with perennial champions Man City visiting the London Stadium.

Not even the absence of Pep Guardiola from the touchline due to minor back surgery could’ve clipped the Cityzens’ wings before the international window just finished. 

Last season’s Golden Boot winner, Erling Braut Haaland, added another hat-trick to the tally to inspire the defending Premier League champions to an emphatic 5-1 home triumph over Fulham

With Guardiola expected to return to the dugout this weekend, Man City should feel confident about maintaining a flawless start to their title defence (W4) and stay at the top of the tree. 

Match Preview

West Ham’s 10-point tally after the opening four Premier League rounds is their joint-best top-flight start since 1999/2000, and they could be proud of the wins they’ve achieved thus far.

Before toppling Luton at Kenilworth Road a fortnight ago, the Hammers had registered a pair of identical 3-1 victories over Brighton & Hove Albion and Chelsea, showcasing their ability to thrive in high-profile contests.

Against this backdrop, they have developed a worrying habit of surrendering the points against the leaders, as evidenced by a poor return of nine losses from their last ten matches versus reigning champions (D1).

Considering they have also conceded multiple goals in nine of those ten fixtures, West Ham can hardly hope to register their first clean sheet of 2023/24 this weekend. 

Regardless of the Irons’ stellar start, Man City’s dominant form in the early stage of the season puts them in prime position to extend their eight-game unbeaten league run at the London Stadium (W5, D3).

Making it five wins out of five would set the Cityzens perfectly for their upcoming Champions League curtain-raiser against Red Star Belgrade at the Etihad Stadium.

If their most recent Premier League travel was anything to go by, Guardiola’s men cannot get too comfortable, given they needed a last-gasp winner to beat newcomers Sheffield United 2-1. 

But things are looking far more promising on a larger scale, with Man City going unbeaten on ten of their last 11 top-flight travels (W8, D2), barring a 1-0 defeat at Brentford on last season’s final day.

Team News

With zero injury concerns on his plate, West Ham boss Moyes will have no excuse for any potential dismal display against Premier League big guns, as was so often the case last season.

Man City will have to wait a few months before seeing Kevin De Bruyne in action again, but Jack Grealish and John Stones may keep him company on the sidelines at the weekend due to minor fitness problems.

West Ham United potential starting line-up:

(4-1-4-1): Alphonse Areola; Vladimir Coufal, Kurt Zouma, Nayef Aguerd, Emerson; Edson Alvarez; Jarrod Bowen, Lucas Paqueta, James Ward-Prowse, Said Benrahma; Michail Antonio.

Manchester City potential starting line-up:

(4-2-3-1): Ederson; Kyle Walker, Nathan Ake, Ruben Dias, Josko Gvardiol; Rodri, Mateo Kovacic; Phil Foden, Julian Alvarez, Jeremy Doku; Erling Braut Haaland. 

We Say: West Ham United 1-2 Manchester City

Based on everything we’ve seen from West Ham this term, this promises to be a much heavier assignment for Man City than might have been expected when the fixtures were announced.

The visitors can always rely on Haaland to dig them out of potential trouble, with the Norwegian’s first Premier League goal coming against the Hammers at this stadium.

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