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Keeping the pace – Manchester City vs West Ham Preview

Manchester City face West Ham this Sunday as the Blues' title challenge marches on. The Hammers need a reaction after dropping a 1-0 loss to Wolves last weekend while the Blues will look to build on strong post-international showings against Everton and PSG.

 

Match information:


Kick-off: 14:00 GMT

Venue: Etihad Stadium

TV: Not televised in the UK


Match officials:


Referee: Michael Oliver

Assistants: Stuart Burt, Simon Bennett

Fourth official: Robert Jones

VAR: Jarred Gillett

Assistant VAR: Ian Hussin

Photo courtesy Julian Finney/Getty Images
 

The opposition: West Ham United


League position: 4th

Form (all comps): WDWLW

Top scorer (all comps): Michail Antonio (7)

Previous result: L1-0 v Wolves (Jimenez)


West Ham have been sensational so far this season. Since keeping the club in the top flight in the 19/20 season the job that David Moyes has done since then has been spectacular, leading the Hammers to a sixth-placed league finish that season and thus giving them Europa League football this term. In his second full season with the club, his side have made another superb start to the season - they are fourth in the table, into the round of sixteen in the Europa League having gone unbeaten in the group stage so far and the Scot also led his side to a seismic 3-2 win over Liverpool before the international break, putting the postage stamp on his project taking the next step.

Photo courtesy of Frederic Scheidemann/Getty Images

David Moyes has turned West Ham into serious top six contenders


Moyes has turned, what was, in essence, a mess left by the previous boss Manuel Pellegrini, into what is now an organised, well-oiled machine of a team that are now a consistent top-six challenging team in the Premier League and a serious threat on a continental front too. At the centre of Moyes' West Ham revolution is their beating heart and captain, Declan Rice, who has led the team home and away this season and is a true role model for the team.


Surrounding the captain is a mix of sturdy, hard footballers and elegant, technically gifted artists that have meshed together into the side that we see now. The Irons have a strong core starting with goalkeeper Lucasz Fabianski, centre-backs Craig Dawson and Kurt Zouma and holding midfielders Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek. Leading their line is the man who sums up their entire side and philosophy - Michail Antonio. The striker has the classic strength and power of the English centre-forward whilst also having the technical ability, speed and agility of the modern striker. He's West Ham through and through and leads the line perfectly for Moyes.


West Ham have a core of essential, reliable cogs but surrounding them are the artists and the ones who lift the Irons' faithful off their seat whenever the ball caresses their foot. Behind Antonio are those exact players - the stylish Jarrod Bowen who was sensational in the Hammers' win over Liverpool and has been brilliant in Europe and on English turf this season, the Elegant Pablo Fornals who is robust whilst also having the panache that every Spaniard carries with them, and Said Benrahma, who has been a revelation this season after coming in from Brentford last January. Moyes' team have a perfect mix of talent and robustness and it's the mix that have built them into what they are today - a real, credible threat to the top six mould.

Photo courtesy of Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Michail Antonio is the perfect striker for Moyes and West Ham


Injury update:


- Angelo Ogbonna remains sidelined after suffering ACL damage


Potential XI; Fabianski; Johnson, Zouma, Dawson, Cresswell; Rice, Soucek; Bowen, Fornals, Benrahma; Antonio

 

The home side: Manchester City


City look irresistible at the moment. After stuttering at home to Crystal Palace, Guardiola's side have firmly put that performance behind them winning their last three in a row in dominant fashion - the carefully controlled domination of Manchester United, the blockbuster goals to claim all three points against Everton and the drama of coming from behind to beat PSG in midweek. This is a side who look back to their best and with Raheem Sterling scoring in two of the three games, it's quite fitting that his return to form is coinciding with the team's form.

Photo courtesy of Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Raheem Sterling's return to his best will give City a huge title boost


City beat West Ham in this fixture last season but it was a grinding victory that City deserved and got. Goals from both centre-backs - Ruben Dias and John Stones - were enough to seal the points after Michail Antonio had initially levelled before half-time after great work by on-loan signing Jesse Lingard. City are looking to avenge a penalty shootout loss in the Carabao Cup earlier this season when the two meet on Sunday while West Ham, who have already won at Manchester United in the Carabao cup and beaten Liverpool, will be hoping to end a torrid 5-year run at the Etihad.

Team News:


- Ferran Torres remains sidelined with a foot injury

- Jack Grealish and Phil Foden are getting better but are both unknowns for this clash

- Aymeric Laporte has only missed one Premier League game he's been fit for this season - Manchester United (A) through suspension

- Kevin De Bruyne remains sidelined after testing positive for COVID-19


Potential XI; Ederson, Walker, Dias, Laporte, Cancelo, Rodri, Gundogan (C), Bernardo, Mahrez, Jesus, Sterling.

 

Writer: @j2mcfc


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