Manchester City vs West Ham: Match preview and predicted line-ups
Pep Guardiola will be seeking to take his run of consecutive victories to five as the Citizens welcome West Ham United to the Etihad Stadium for the late kick-off on Sunday afternoon. However, the Hammers proved last season to be far from afraid of the underdog role as they proved with a 2-1 victory in September last year, when they last came to the blue half of Manchester.
Manchester City have been in unstoppable form since the start of the season, with 12 goals scored in four games in all competitions. With qualification to the Champions League group stages with a 6-0 aggregate victory over Steau Bucharest either side of a convincing victory over Stoke, Pep Guardiola has enjoyed a good start to life in Manchester after his first game at the Etihad saw a late win over Sunderland thanks to a Paddy McNair own goal. Most importantly for Guardiola, Sergio Aguero has been in superb form, with six goals in just three games.
Conversely, West Ham have had a slow start to the season, with defeat at Stamford Bridge and a late winner earning three points in a dull victory to welcome the London Stadium to the Premier League. Performances are yet to excite Hammers fans, who also face a Europa League qualifier on Thursday evening as they hope to reach the group stages of European competition.
Manchester City predicted starting XI West Ham predicted starting XI
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Claudio Bravo is expected to make his debut in goal for Manchester City having completed a move to the club from Barcelona this week. Following rest and rotations for the Champions League qualifier second leg, the likes of Sergio Aguero, Fernandinho and David Silva are expected to return in a line-up very similar to that which beat Stoke last weekend. Nolito is also expected to replace Jesus Navas following his impressive substitute display last weekend.
For West Ham, injuries and a shallow squad mean that there are not a great deal of changes possible. The fixture is likely to come too soon for the likes of Dimitri Payet and Manuel Lanzini to start the game, though they could make an appearance from the bench as they near a return to full fitness.
Suspensions and injuries
The Citizens continue to be without some of their biggest stars, but all are now nearing a return to action. Summer additions Ilkay Gundogan and Leroy Sane are back in training alongside captain Vincent Kompany, but all three are likely to be limited to action from the bench should they play a part on Sunday. Bacary Sagna is out with a muscle injury and the extent of Kelechi Iheanacho’s hamstring strain picked up in Champions League action is unclear but likely to keep him out this weekend. Claudio Bravo should be available following his signing from Barcelona if completed in time.
West Ham are currently in the midst of a striker crisis of their own. Debutant Andre Ayew tore his hamstring less than an hour into his first appearance for the club after breaking their transfer record, and Andy Carroll has picked up a knee injury set to keep him out until mid-September. Want-away forward Diafra Sakho is also out with a back injury. Influential midfielders Dimitri Payet and Manuel Lanzini are both expected to return but are unlikely to start due to a shortage of match fitness, but this game comes too soon for summer signing Sofiane Feghouli, who is expected to return after the international break for the Irons. Edimilson Fernandes may be available in midfield if he completes a medical and signs a deal in time.
At their best, West Ham could put up a challenge to the title favourites, but they aren’t at their best with so many injuries to key players. With Enner Valencia and an inexperienced Jonathan Calleri the only strikers currently available, it is hard to see Slaven Bilic’s team outscoring a free flowing Manchester City with Sergio Aguero enjoying a brilliant start to the season. West Ham will be hoping their resilience is enough, but we can’t see past a Manchester City win.
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