West Ham vs Man.City: Citizens look set for a Premier League boost at the BoleynPublished January 21, 2016
It’s been an unpredictable Premier League season so far, but Manchester City’s trip to West Ham United on Saturday evening (5.30pm kick off) looks to be the type of game from which they really need to be taking maximum points from if they are to win a third title in five seasons.
Having won their opening five matches without conceding a goal, it had looked as if the Citizens were on course to dominate proceedings in the Premier League this season. That was until they were beaten 2-1 by West Ham United at the Etihad Stadium, since when (an excellent October notwithstanding) Manuel Pellegrini’s men have struggled to find any consistency.
It’s no coincidence that, having played in all those opening victories, City’s captain and defensive linchpin, Vincent Kompany, was absent for that West Ham defeat and has barely featured since.
With 11-points from their last five games, City appear to be coming into form at the right time. Even in the continued absence of their Belgian defender, they’ve also managed to keep three consecutive clean sheets in all competitions for the first time since making that blistering start to the season.
The Hammers defeat at Newcastle United last weekend ended an unbeaten run of nine matches in all competitions and saw them lose ground in their quest for a Champions League spot. They are still sixth in the table and a top four finish can’t be discounted, although it’s worth noting that they are actually a point worse off than they were at this stage last season under Sam Allardyce (when they eventually fell away to finish 12th).
Of course, West Ham have claimed some notable scalps besides City in the Premier League this season, but Slaven Bilic is now hampered with some key absences among his attacking players, with Diafra Sakho, Andy Carroll and Manuel Lanzini all out. They may lack a genuine central striker, but there are still goals in a team that could feature Enner Valencia, Nikica Jelavic, Victor Moses and the excellent Dimitri Payet.
City are the Premier League’s top goalscorers though, with 43 goals coming at a rate of very nearly two per game. Sergio Aguero’s two goals against Crystal Palace at the weekend suggests that the Argentinean is now back to full match sharpness too. With a supporting cast including David Silva, Kevin de Bruyne, Yaya Toure and Raheem Sterling, it’s difficult to see West Ham being able to contain the visitors.