Fresh from an enthralling Champions League victory over Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City welcome fellow high-flyers West Ham United to the Etihad for Sunday’s Premier League battle.
David Moyes’s side also produced the goods in continental competition in midweek, seeing off Rapid Vienna with ease in the Europa League.
Pep Guardiola must be thanking his lucky stars that wantaway midfielder Bernardo Silva did not leave the club over the summer, as the Portuguese – along with compatriot Joao Cancelo – ran PSG ragged during a 2-1 Champions League success.
After failing to take their bountiful opportunities in the first half, City fell behind through Kylian Mbappe’s opener, but Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus responded for last season’s beaten finalists in front of a jubilant home crowd.
The Citizens can now afford to take their foot off the gas in Europe after sealing progress to the last-16 of the competition, and Guardiola’s side also eased to a 3-0 win over Everton in last weekend’s Premier League battle, with Rodri scoring a thunderbolt on the day.
In doing so, City have kept the pressure on leaders Chelsea and lie second in the table – three points adrift of the European champions – but Liverpool are only one point behind the reigning champions and ready to take advantage of any slip-ups.
Victory over PSG represented City’s fourth win in a row across all competitions – as well as their eighth triumph from 10 home matches – and West Ham are fighting an uphill battle to become just the second side in the Premier League to find the net against City at the Etihad this season.
An ever-impressive West Ham have largely swept aside the competition in the Europa League with aplomb this year – even with Moyes rotating his resources on a consistent basis – as Mark Noble and Andriy Yarmolenko both netted in a routine 2-0 success over Rapid Vienna in midweek.
The Hammers go into Sunday’s game having sealed their place in the last-16 of Europe’s secondary competition, but there was little to celebrate during their most recent Premier League battle as Raul Jimenez’s effort won the day for Wolverhampton Wanderers in a 1-0 defeat at Molineux.
Having now lost a bit of ground on the teams above them, West Ham remain firmly in contention for a Champions League place as they occupy fourth spot in the rankings, but Arsenal could move level on points with their London counterparts this weekend.
Defeat to Wolves ended a four-game winning streak for West Ham in the top flight and marked the first time that they had lost a Premier League game away from home since April, and not since beating Manchester United in 2001 have the capital outfit won against the reigning champions away from home.
The Hammers have already claimed a memorable scalp over City this term – ending their perennial reign of dominance in the EFL Cup via a penalty shoot-out – but they are winless in 11 Premier League matches versus the Citizens since a 2-1 Etihad win in September 2015.
Manchester City Premier League form:
Manchester City form (all competitions):
West Ham United Premier League form:
West Ham United form (all competitions):
We say: Manchester City 2-1 West Ham United
A first-choice City backline will still have a hard time keeping out Moyes’s inspired attackers on home soil, and injuries to the hosts could have the travelling contingent feeling confident about their prospects of a shock result.
The visitors’ established names will certainly have the fresher legs on the pitch too and should give the champions a good run for their money, but City’s goal threats in all areas of the pitch should help get them over the line.