West Ham vs. Man City
Venue: London Stadium
Kick off: 12:30PM
West Ham United welcome Manchester City to the London Stadium at lunchtime looking to extend an impressive three-game unbeaten run in the Premier League.
The Hammers have a dreadful record against this today’s opponents in recent times, but go into this game sitting above them in the table for the first time since March 2009.
When it comes to bogey teams, they do not come much more obvious than Man City for West Ham when they welcome them to the London Stadium.
The Hammers’ new home has been one of the happiest hunting grounds for Man City in recent years, with Pep Guardiola’s side winning all five of their previous visits – including four in the league – scoring at least four times in all of those games and netting 22 overall, while conceding only once.
For comparison, Man City scored the same number of goals in their last 20 visits to West Ham’s previous stadium Upton Park, and a continuation of their free-scoring form at the former Olympic Stadium could see West Ham succumb to an unwanted record.
No team in the history of the Football League, stretching back to 1888, has ever shipped four or more goals in five successive home matches against a particular opponent, with West Ham currently jointly holding that dubious honour alongside Man City themselves, who conceded at least four goals in four consecutive home games against Wolverhampton Wanderers from 1957 to 1960.
Man City’s dominance over Saturday’s hosts is by no means confined to the London Stadium, though; they have won all nine meetings during the Guardiola era, and a 10th on Saturday would also see West Ham equal their longest ever losing run against a particular opponent.
There are plenty of reasons for West Ham to be optimistic that they can stop that rot this time around, though, not least that they currently sit above the former champions in the table – the first time for more than 11-and-a-half years that has been the case heading into this fixture.
David Moyes’s side will still be flying high after their unforgettable showdown against bitter rivals Tottenham Hotspur last weekend too, with Manuel Lanzini’s stunning 94th-minute equaliser sealing one of the all-time great Premier League comebacks.
The Hammers became the first team in Premier League history to avoid defeat after trailing by three or more goals as late as the 81st minute, somehow turning things around after Spurs had blitzed them with three goals in the opening 16 minutes.
West Ham have now scored 10 goals in their last three Premier League outings and could score three or more goals in four consecutive league games for the first time since September 1928.
By sheer coincidence, the first three results of that run 92 years ago were identical to the last three results for West Ham – a 4-0 home win, a 3-0 away win and a 3-3 draw; for that remarkable pattern to continue this weekend, West Ham would need to beat Man City 4-1.
Moyes – now back on the touchline after recovering from coronavirus – will not be getting carried away enough to expect that, but he has now seen his side score three or more goals in a league-high nine different top-flight games this calendar year – as many in 24 league games since the Scot’s return as they managed in their last 50 under Manuel Pellegrini.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of that run is that the last two of those have come away at Leicester City and Spurs, but their most recent home game was also memorable as they thrashed Wolves 4-0.
Indeed, they have now scored 12 goals in their last three home games across all competitions, netting three or more times on their own turf in three consecutive games for the first time since March 2011.
There is plenty for Manchester City to be worried about, then, particularly as they have already conceded seven times this season and could be without Aymeric Laporte, Nathan Ake, Benjamin Mendy and Fernandinho from their defensive ranks.
Question marks were raised over their defence again when Porto took the lead during Wednesday’s Champions League clash, although City did hit back to win 3-1 and get their latest quest for European glory off to what Guardiola described as a “perfect” start.
Man City also returned to winning ways in the Premier League with a 1-0 victory over Arsenal last weekend, lifting them up to 11th place with a game in hand over most of the teams in the division.
Guardiola’s side are now unbeaten in their last five away games across all competitions, although they have lost on their last two league visits to London – against Tottenham and Chelsea.
Man City only lost two of their previous 18 trips to the capital prior to that and have not lost three successive top-flight matches in London since 2009, so they will be hoping that their incredible record at West Ham continues in this game.
Should that be the case then they could lift themselves as high as third temporarily and would have the same record as they had after five games of last season.
However, rarely during Guardiola’s time in England will he have come up against a West Ham side with such confidence, and Saturday’s showdown promises to be a much tougher test than they have experienced on their previous trips to the London Stadium.
West Ham United possible XI: Fabianski, Coufal, Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Masuaku, Bowen, Soucek, Rice, Lanzini, Antonio.
Manchester City possible XI: Ederson, Walker, Dias, Ake, Zinchenko, De Bruyne, Rodri, Foden, Mahrez, Aguero, Sterling.