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Preview: Manchester City vs. West Ham United - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Premier League clash between Manchester City and West Ham United, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Manchester City will be looking to make it 20 straight wins in all competitions when they continue their Premier League campaign at home to top-four chasing West Ham United on Saturday afternoon.

The Citizens made it 19 straight victories with a 2-0 success away to Borussia Monchengladbach in the Champions League on Wednesday night, while West Ham will enter the contest off the back of a 2-1 home success over Tottenham Hotspur in the league last weekend.


Match preview

Raheem Sterling celebrates scoring for Manchester City against Arsenal in the Premier League on February 21, 2021© Reuters

City found it difficult to reach their top level in the opening months of the 2020-21 campaign, but Pep Guardiola's side have been on a winning run in all competitions since the middle of December.

Indeed, since being held at home by West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League on December 15, the Citizens have posted 19 straight wins in all competitions, including 13 in England's top flight, which has seen them rise to the top of the division and open up a 10-point advantage over second-placed Manchester United.

Guardiola's team recorded a 1-0 victory over Arsenal in the league last weekend before winning 2-0 away to Monchengladbach in the first leg of their last-16 Champions League clash on Wednesday, which has left them in an excellent position to reach the next round of the competition.

It is difficult to see where the next defeat is coming from for City, and they could effectively wrap up the title if they manage to triumph in their next two in the league against West Ham and Wolverhampton Wanderers and then overcome bitter rivals United at the Etihad Stadium on March 7.

The Citizens have the best home record in England's top flight this term, picking up 29 points from 12 matches, while they have not lost to West Ham in the Premier League for almost six years.

West Ham United's Jesse Lingard celebrates scoring against Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League on February 21, 2021© Reuters

West Ham will be the underdogs this weekend as they travel to the runaway leaders, but the Hammers are in desperate need of the points as they battle to secure an unlikely top-four finish.

An excellent campaign to date has seen David Moyes's side collect 45 points from their 25 matches to occupy fourth position in the table, just four points behind second-placed Man United.

The Hammers are only two points clear of fifth-placed Chelsea, though, and sit just five points clear of seventh-placed Everton, who have a game in hand, indicating that plenty could change in the coming weeks.

West Ham will arrive at the Etihad Stadium full of confidence, having won three of their last four in the Premier League, including a 2-1 home success over Tottenham last time out.

Moyes's team have been excellent at the London Stadium this term, boasting the second best home record in the division, but they have dropped points in half of their 12 away league fixtures, losing at Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea this season.

Manchester City Premier League form: WWWWWW
Manchester City form (all competitions): WWWWWW

West Ham United Premier League form: WLWDWW
West Ham United form (all competitions): LWDLWW


Team News

Manchester City defender Nathan Ake pictured in October 2020© Reuters

City will again be without the services of Nathan Ake through injury, but the Citizens are otherwise in excellent shape heading into the contest at the Etihad Stadium.

Guardiola will make changes from the side that started against Monchengladbach, with Riyad Mahrez, Kevin De Bruyne, John Stones and Oleksandr Zinchenko set to return to the side.

Raheem Sterling could play through the middle with Mahrez and Phil Foden operating in the wide positions, which could see Gabriel Jesus and Bernardo Silva drop down to the bench.

As for West Ham, Arthur Masuaku, Angelo Ogbonna and Andriy Yarmolenko are all unavailable for selection, but the Hammers did not pick up any fresh concerns against Tottenham.

Moyes could decide to select the same XI from the clash with Spurs last time out, with Jesse Lingard, Pablo Fornals and Jarrod Bowen operating behind lone forward Michail Antonio.

Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek are certain starters in the middle of the park, while Issa Diop is expected to continue alongside Craig Dawson at centre-back due to Ogbonna's absence.

Manchester City possible starting lineup:
Ederson; Cancelo, Stones, Dias, Zinchenko; De Bruyne, Rodri, Gundogan; Mahrez, Sterling, Foden

West Ham United possible starting lineup:
Fabianski; Coufal, Dawson, Diop, Cresswell; Soucek, Rice; Bowen, Fornals, Lingard; Antonio


SM words green background

We say: Manchester City 2-1 West Ham United

West Ham deserve a lot of respect, and there is no question that the Hammers are currently in the race for a Champions League spot. It is just so difficult to back against City at the moment, though, and we fancy Guardiola's side to collect all three points courtesy of a narrow success at the Etihad Stadium.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a draw in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Draw:data


Video prediction

Watch the Sports Mole Football Shorts prediction for this game below:


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Todays Game Header Right
Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City32235467234474
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd32199464352966
3Leicester CityLeicester31175955371856
4West Ham UnitedWest Ham32167953421155
5Chelsea31159750311954
6Liverpool31157953371652
7Tottenham HotspurSpurs321481054371750
8Everton31147104340349
9Arsenal32137124436846
10Leeds UnitedLeeds31143144949045
11Aston Villa301351243331044
12Wolverhampton WanderersWolves32118133241-941
13Crystal Palace31108133352-1938
14Southampton31106153956-1736
15Newcastle UnitedNewcastle3298153553-1835
16Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton31712123338-533
17Burnley3289152645-1933
18Fulham33512162543-1827
19West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom3159172859-3124
RSheffield UnitedSheff Utd3242261756-3914

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