PREVIEW: West Ham United vs Manchester City

Manchester City will travel to the London Stadium to face West Ham United for the second time this month on Wednesday evening.

City were in action elsewhere in London at the weekend, when they won 3-0 at Crystal Palace in the FA Cup fourth round.

Meanwhile, West Ham had the weekend off after being knocked out of the cup by City in the last round, meaning their last game was the 3-1 win away at Middlesbrough on 21st January.

City’s 5-0 victory on their first and, so far, only visit to the London Stadium was the Hammers’ biggest margin of defeat at home in a competitive fixture since May 1967 (1-6 v Manchester United). The Blues also beat Slaven Bilic’s side 3-1 at the Etihad Stadium back in August.

However, since the start of the 2014/15 season, City have won just four of their 13 Premier League away games in the capital (W4 D4 L5) and haven’t won away at West Ham in the league since a David Silva goal and a Sergio Aguero brace helped them to a 3-1 victory in October 2013.

Aguero has six goals and two assists in nine Premier League appearances against West Ham. He’s attempted four shots on target and scored one goal in two games against them this season, which is the exact same tally that West Ham have managed as a team against City in 2016/17.

City will have to be wary of Andy Carroll in this match. The in-form striker has scored four goals in his last five Premier League appearances and has five career goals against City to his name – his joint-highest tally against Premier League opposition (Arsenal and Swansea are the others).

Kevin De Bruyne will make his 50th Premier League appearance if he plays in this match. The Belgian has 19 assists in his first 49 games and only Eric Cantona (23) and Juan Mata (20) made more assists in their first 50 PL games.

Pep Guardiola has taken 43 points from his first 22 games as a Premier League manager. He took 62 points from his first 22 Bundesliga games and 59 points from his first 22 in La Liga.

Predicted City line-up:

Player to watch: Claudio Bravo

Bravo has faced nine shots on target since 31st December 2016 and saved only one of them, conceding eight goals. He hasn’t made a save since 2nd January, having conceded from the last six shots on target he’s had to face. That last stat is somewhat misleading given he’s only played two games in that period and could have done little about both of Tottenham’s goals in his last match, but it’s damning nonetheless and assuming the Chilean is reinstated to the team against West Ham, it’s nigh time he started making some saves and proving his worth. Bravo’s kicking ability has never been in doubt but his understudy Willy Caballero has looked a much more assured presence in goal when he’s played this season and if Bravo doesn’t start bucking his ideas up soon, his manager will be left with little choice but to drop him to the bench.

Prediction: West Ham 2-3 Manchester City

Written by Dan Burke

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Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow

HALCYON DIGEST: Tottenham Hotspur, May 1977

PLAYER RATINGS: Manchester City 2-2 Tottenham Hotspur

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