Mancehster City have made their intentions clear with an imposing start to the new season. The club has won five consecutive games, having scored 11 goals and conceded none, one of which includes an emphatic 3-0 victory at home against reigning champions Chelsea. While they come into the game on the back of impressive performances, they have yet again begun life in Champions League with a loss at home against Juventus. The manager, Manuel Pellegrini, will be hoping to have the issues that appeared against the Turin side sorted before other teams further capitalise on them.
West Ham, on the other hand, have been topsy turvy so far with losses to Leicester and Bournemouth taking some sheen out of their impressive wins over Arsenal and Liverpool. The club currently sits 5th in the league, just a point behind Arsenal. The manager Slaven Bilic will be hoping his team can pull off yet another giant killing win and disrupt the rhythm of the high flying Manchester club.
We expect Sergio Aguero to return to the starting line-up after starting from the bench against Juventus. Vincent Kompany had to go off on Tuesday with a calf problem and could have a very limited part to play on Saturday. The club is already without the services of Delph (Hamstring), Clichy (Ankle) and Zabaleta (Knee) as they recover from their respective injuries.
West Ham United
Enner Valencia (Knee) and Alexandre Song (Ankle) will be missing the game as they are still recovering from their long term injuries. With Adrian available for the fixture, having served his suspension, Bilic will be looking to get his No. 1 back in between the posts come Saturday.
This will be the 97th meeting between these two sides in all competition. While Manchester City have won 45 of the previous games, West Ham have emerged victorious on 36 occasions.
The last time West Ham won a league game at the Etihad (Erstwhile City of Manchester Stadium) was in the 2005-06 season.
Hart, Sagna, Ottamendi, Mangala, Kolarov, Toure, Fernandinho, De Bruyne, Silva, Sterling, Aguero
Adrian, Reid, Tomkins, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Noble, Kouyate, Lanzini, Moses, Payet, Sakho
The Argentine striker would feature amongst the top 3 strikers in the English leagues in most people’s view. Despite being hindered by constant injuries and niggles, Aguero has never lost his fine finishing abilities. He might be short of some match fitness following his injury at Crystal Palace, but will remain a critical area of concern for the West Ham defence, should he feature. He has found the back of the net just once, albeit in a critical game against defending champions Chelsea. With David Silva, Raheem Sterling and De Bruyne in fine form, Aguero will be presented with numerous chances and the Hammers’ defence will need to up their game a notch higher to deny the Argentine from being his prolific self.
Dimitri Payet has taken to the Premier League like a fish to water. He has taken the games against top opponents by the scruff of their neck and emerged victorious. With an apt mix of attacking flair combined with tenacity in the middle of the park, Payet could be counted as one of the few complete midfielders in the league. He has scored 3 goals, created 16 chances apart from making 6 critical interceptions and 5 successful tackles so far. He will be up against Yaya Toure, who had a touch Champions League outing and could well take the chance to pile further misery on the Ivorian.
While Manchester City might have lost in the midweek, they have enough firepower in the squad to overcome any adverse results. However, West Ham are turning out to be gritty opponents for the top sides in the league and we expect them to continue with the trend. I expect Manchester City to win the game 2-1.