Manchester City visit West Ham United on Sunday afternoon in what is set to be a riveting clash between two of the Premier League’s current top four.
Pep Guardiola’s team has spun through their last four matches, passing and seeking their way to successive victories in strict adherence to every letter of their Catalan coaches’ philosophy.
However, West Ham themselves are on their way to Champions League qualification and have proved to be disgusting opponents for City as late as October when they sent the perennial League Cup winners out of their favorite tournament via penalty kicks.
Here’s everything you need to know about this fascinating matchup.
When is the kick off? Sunday, November 28 at 14:00 (GMT)
Where is the match played? Etihad Stadium
Which TV channel is it on? BBC Radio Manchester, Sports Sunday – Sky Sports (UK), Peacock (US), DAZN (Canada)
Highlights? Sky Sports YouTube Channel (UK), Today’s Match 2 (BBC – UK, 10.30pm)
Judging? Michael Oliver
WHERE? Jarred Gillett
Manchester City are still feeling the effects of November’s international break. While Kevin De Bruyne is waiting for the end of his ten-day isolation after testing positive for COVID-19 during his time with Belgium, Jack Grealish has not yet joined City’s squad since leaving England.
Phil Foden suffered a blow to Everton last weekend, which he aggravated in Tuesday’s training session, forcing him to sit out the midweek triumph over PSG. Both he and Grealish may be available on Sunday, but Spanish striker Ferran Torres has been ruled out until New Year with a ‘small fracture’ on his right foot.
Despite the much-discussed influence of the Europa League matches, David Moyes has largely been spared a wave of injuries. Angelo Ogbonna represents the notable exception and will be missed at the heart of the defense as injury to his ACL has ruled him out for the rest of the campaign.
Manchester By: Ederson; Walker, Dias, Laporte, Cancelo; Silva, Rodri, Gundogan; Mahrez, Jesus, Sterling.
West ham: Fabianski; Johnson, Dawson, Zouma, Cresswell; Ris, Soucek; Bowen, Benrahma, Fornals; Antonio.
What was once a steady rivalry of ebb and flow between a few clubs, where past triumphs were more easily remembered than current successes (or lack thereof), has turned into a one-sided affair in City’s favor.
As recently as 2006, West Ham and Manchester City both had 34 wins against each other in all tournaments. But since Sheikh Mansour took over the club two years later, the Hammers have won just three Premier League victories – none during Guardiola’s tenure.
Despite all of City’s historic dominance under their current ownership, this elaborate Champions League-challenging iteration of West Ham has proved to be a difficult opponent for almost everyone they have met.
West Ham have certainly expanded their repertoire this season, but are leaning towards their two favorite routes to goal, especially against sides that dominate the ball – set pieces and counter-attacks.
City are one of only two Premier League teams that have not yet given in via any of these avenues. It’s an often overlooked quality of a Guardiola team, but City have been hugely impressive defensively this season and have conceded just six goals from twice as many games.
In what will certainly be a gripping competition, City may just be able to cope with a West Ham team that rarely loses, and never by a large margin.
Prediction: Manchester City 1-0 West Ham