West Ham vs. Man City
Venue: London Stadium
Kick off: 3PM
Manchester City make the trip to the London Stadium to face West Ham United this afternoon looking to maintain their two-point advantage at the top of the Premier League standings.
West Ham have endured a relatively disappointing start to the campaign given their financial outlay during the summer, but Pellegrini will recognise that there is reason for optimism heading into the winter months.
The Hammers put together a three-match unbeaten run before the international break and although the opposition was not as difficult as it could have been, it was at a step in the right direction for a team who looked easy to beat throughout August.
The point at Leicester City could have been three but Manager Manuel Pellegrini would have been delighted with his side’s application after the first-half dismissal of Mark Noble, while the 4-2 success over Burnley was equally as clinical as it was dramatic.
Pellegrini would have been confident of a second successive win when facing Huddersfield Town at the John Smith’s Stadium, but a comeback draw against a team on the up was not the worst result heading into the two-week break.
West Ham are still five points away from a spot in the top half of the table but there is at least some distance – four points to be precise – between Pellegrini’s team and the relegation zone.
Manchester City are regarded as the toughest test in English football and Pellegrini would no doubt be delighted with any positive return this weekend, but the Chilean will also be aware that this is West Ham’s last fixture against a top-six team in 2018.
That should – in theory – take some of the pressure off West Ham, but this is a team who have already taken points off Chelsea and Manchester United in front of their own supporters and will relish the opportunity to raise their performance yet again.
West Ham have only kept one clean sheet all season and it will be a concern for Pellegrini going forward, but Saturday’s game is all about doing whatever it takes to try to disrupt a group of players who have been heavily involved in action with their nations over the past week.
West Ham possible XI: Fabianski, Zabaleta, Balbuena, Diop, Cresswell, Noble, Rice, Obiang, Antonio, Arnautovic, Anderson.
Man City possible XI: Ederson, Walker, Stones, Laporte, Zinchenko, Gundogan, Fernandinho, D.Silva, Sterling, Aguero, Sane.