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  • Dillon Meehan

Everything you need to know, Predicted XI – West Ham vs Manchester City Preview

Manchester City start their season against West Ham away at the London Stadium on Sunday, August 7th, with kick-off at 4:30 pm (BST), as they look to defend their Premier League title.


Team News

With Marc Cucurella’s arrival at Chelsea now confirmed, City will start the season once again missing a true left-back. With less than a month left in the transfer window, there is still time for a replacement but it remains to be seen if City are able to get one over the line.

Fortunately, the Blues are not experiencing the same injury crisis they faced at the end of their dramatic title win. However, a knee injury to Aymeric Laporte and subsequent surgery will keep him out until the middle of September. The Spanish international appears to be the only player that Pep Guardiola will be without to start the season.

With the outgoing Fernandinho, Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling all being replaced this summer, this will be a revamped City side as they are set to once again defend their Premier League title.

Predicted XI:

When it comes to the starting XI, I expect the lineup to be similar to what we saw in the preseason and for Guardiola to go back to the same lineup he used last weekend against Liverpool.

There is a chance for Phil Foden to feature on either the left or right wing, as well as John Stones filling in for the injured Laporte. However, their inability to travel with the first team during the preseason means they likely will not be fully fit just yet. But moving forward I expect them to be featured heavily.

There will be some tactical growing pains with Erling Haaland now up front for the foreseeable future. The Premier League champions have relied on a false nine for two years now and I expect Guardiola to want to play the same players early and often to build chemistry before plugging in those that weren’t able to feature in America.

Predicted XI: Ederson, Walker, Dias, Ake, Cancelo, Rodri, De Bruyne, Bernardo, Grealish, Haaland, Mahrez.

Photo courtesy of Marc Atkins/Getty Images

The Push for a Third

The Premier League hasn’t been won three times in a row since Manchester United did it from 2006-2009. In the 2019-2020 season, City’s hopes of their own three-peat were dashed in the opening weeks, after failing to land a replacement for Vincent Kompany, and long-term injuries to both Leroy Sane and Laporte threw the season into a tailspin.

Fast forward to today, and once again Guardiola's side are looking to defend their back-to-back Premier League title wins, and are once again currently unable to find a replacement for a departing defender. But this time there is an even more difficult twist: a World Cup thrown into the busiest time of the season.

City have started slow in all of their title wins under Guardiola. And with the sheer amount of turnover the squad has seen this summer, it’s safe to expect this could be the same here. At his pre-match press conference, Guardiola explained the unique challenges his side will face this season:

"There are two [seasons], one before the World Cup, you can't win it before but you can lose it. You have to start well, knowing that if we drop points you have 37 fixtures. We won two titles one point ahead, we know we can win 12-14 in a row."

There are no shortage of title contenders this season. Liverpool have lost a star in Sadio Mane but are expecting Luis Diaz and Darwin Nunez to replace him. Chelsea are attempting to buy any and every available player in an attempt to bolster their squad. Erik ten Hag’s arrival at Manchester United has high expectations. And even Antonio Conte’s Spurs seem like a dark-horse candidate. If Guardiola and City are able to win their third Premier League in a row, between having to balance a new squad, new emerging title threats, and a mid-season World Cup, it would arguably be their most difficult one yet.

Photo courtesy of Justin Casterline/Getty Images


West Ham will start the season looking to build on the success they have found under David Moyes.

Despite reaching the Europa League semi-final last year, the Hammers experienced a slight drop-off in points and will compete in the UEFA Conference League this season.

Moyes and West Ham have done fairly well against City over the past two seasons, with the Blues winning twice, drawing twice, and West Ham knocking City out of last year’s Carabao Cup via penalties.

However, David Moyes has confirmed that both Angelo Ogbonna and new signing Gianluca Scamacca are expected to miss the first game of the season. Scamacca isn’t the only new player out for West Ham, Nayef Aguerd who joined from Rennes this summer is also out for the foreseeable future while he recovers from an ankle injury he sustained this summer.

West Ham’s squad will be on the smaller size to kick off the season. Something that City will certainly look to take advantage of.


Head to Head

Played: 117

Won: 60

Drawn: 19

Lost: 38


Referee: Michael Oliver

Assistants: Stuart Burt & Simon Bennett

Fourth Official: Stuart Attwell

VAR: Mike Dean

Assistant VAR: Eddie Smart

Photo courtesy of PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images

Written by: @IVIeehan

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