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West Ham United v Manchester City
EPL Match Preview
West Ham United will try to complete the double over Manchester City this season, when the two teams meet at Upton Park on Saturday evening.
HAMMERS LOOKING TO GET BACK ON TRACK AFTER NEWCASTLE DEFEAT
A 2-1 defeat away to Newcastle United last weekend, ended a run of three consecutive wins for Slaven Bilic’s side as they look to qualify for a European place next season. In the club’s final season at their famous old ground before they move into the Olympic Stadium in Stratford, the East London team have played some delightful football and took some big scalps along the way; none more so than Saturday’s visitors, who they beat 2-1 back in September. The club have exceeded all expectations this season and the best football betting sites currently price them at *21.00 to finish in the top-four, which would at least get them into the qualifying stages of the Champions League. Whilst this may be stuff of dreams for the Upton Park faithful, the reality is that only currently being four points off fourth place, it would be a fool who rules that scenario out at this stage.
TITLE FAVOURITES BEGINNING TO FLEX THEIR MUSCLES
Whatever happens in the summer, Manuel Pellegrini has got his Manchester City team hitting top-form at just the right time in the season. With the resumption of Champions League football just around the corner, the Citizens are just a point behind the top two in the Premier League and could even end the weekend looking down on the 19 other teams in the division. Argentine striker Sergio Aguero’s timely return to first-team action seems to have galvanised the club but they will have to improve on their travels, having only picked up two wins since September away from the Etihad Stadium. Their most recent trip south culminated in a 2-1 win at Watford, Pellegrini will be hoping for more of the same in the capital on Saturday.
West Ham have injury concerns ahead of the game, with James Tomkins struggling for fitness, whilst Diafra Sakho, Andy Carroll and Manuel Lanzini are all unavailable. Defender Joey O’Brien is now fit again he will be back in the squad for the visit of the title favourites.
Pellegrini also has injury concerns, none more so than captain Vincent Kompany, who is still out with a calf strain. Other absentees include Samir Nasri, Eliaquim Mangala and Wilfried Bony with midfielder Fernandinho, only just returning to training after his three-match lay-off.
PROBABLE STARTING XI’S
West Ham United (4-3-3) Adrian; Cresswell, Ogbonna, Collins, Tomkins; Noble, Kouyate, Song; Payet, Valencia, Antonio
Manchester City (4-2-3-1) Hart; Clichy, Demichelis, Otamendi, Sagna; Toure, Delph; Sterling, Silva, De Bruyne; Aguero
HEAD TO HEAD
After winning just one of the previous 14 Barclays Premier League matches against Manchester City, West Ham United have now won two of the last three meetings between the two sides. The Hammers are also unbeaten in their last eight home league games. Manchester City’s 2-1 win at Watford on January 2, ended a run of six away matches without a win. Aguero likes playing West Ham, the Argentine having scored four goals and assisted in another two in his last seven matches against the side from East London. The best online sports betting sites fancy him to continue that run on Saturday, currently pricing him at *1.95 to be an anytime scorer.
West Ham United 5.00 Draw 4.00 Manchester City 1.72
*odds courtesy of Bet365
Steve Mitchell (@barafundler)