Manchester City vs West Ham United
Saturday lunchtime in the Premier League, just two days after the runaway league leaders have flown back from European exertions in Germany, may give opponents of Manchester City hope they are there for the taking.
Perhaps against most clubs that lack recovery time would be an advantage.
But such is the strength of squad and player at Eastlands that Pep Guardiola’s men are favourites in virtually every match they play on planet football.
You only had to look at the calibre of player on their bench in midweek – Sergio Aguero, Kevin de Bruyne, John Stones, Fernandinho and Riyad Mahrez among them – to see why they so often have players fresh and rested for their next line of duty.
West Ham – who didn’t have a midweek match – come to town in fine form, but are they really ready to upset the odds?
David Moyes’s men have created their own Premier League highlights of late.
The Hammers produced a statement of intent in the way they not only took a two-goal lead against Spurs last Sunday but held out when the visitors hit back.
Not quite the wingless wonders as the world champions were once described but certainly strikerless wonders with loan signing Jesse Lingard making a fine start to his spell in East London.
However, as a lad used to life in Manchester, Lingard and his new team-mates will know this game represents another test altogether.
Aside from Lingard and Said Benrahma, whose loan move was turned into a £25 million permanent deal last month to make room for Lingard’s arrival, it is arguably the first loan deal of the season who has impressed most of all this term.
When Craig Dawson arrived from newly relegated Watford on a season-long deal, there was little fanfare and it took Moyes two months to hand the centre back his debut.
Since then, the 30-year-old has missed only one match, an FA Cup tie against League One outfit Doncaster Rovers, and has played 10 league matches – half of which have resulted in clean sheets and just one defeat as West Ham have climbed into the fourth spot.
Now he prepares to possibly come up against the toughest opponent he has ever faced, Aguero.
To have any kind of chance of getting a positive result, West Ham will have to keep Michail Antonio fit. His pace and skill has meant he has developed into the club’s first choice and most dangerous forward by far. A player who, on his day, can trouble any backline in the league.
Realistically, no-one expects the ‘east enders’ to return home with anything on Saturday.
The league leaders were on a run of 18 consecutive wins in all competitions before their midweek Champions League duties.
City are also the only team above West Ham in the 2021 form table. The Hammers have taken 21 points so far this year with Guardiola’s team way out ahead with a maximum 30 out of 30.
Given that backdrop, West Ham have nothing to lose. It’s possible (though unlikely) that could just help them.
City have scored in 19 consecutive matches against West Ham in all competitions, dating back to November 2012.
They won the corresponding fixture last season with Rodri and Kevin de Bruyne scoring the goals in each half in a 2-0 success.
City have actually won nine of the last 10 meetings with West Ham in all competitions – the exception being the draw earlier this term – scoring 31 goals and conceding just four.
Overall, West Ham have won on 37 occasions with 58 City triumphs and 18 draws.
|Manchester City vs West Ham United||Specials – Manchester City to Kick-Off @ 2.21|
|February 27, 20:30 (GMT+8)|
Considering one side is first and the other is fourth, the gap in the Sbotop Premier League betting odds is far wider.
Man City are priced 1X2 @ 1.26 and Asian Handicap -2.00 @ 2.33.
For the Hammers to upset the odds and shock the rest of the league, a 1X2 payday of @ 11.00 awaits, with the alternative Asian Handicap +1.50 @ 2.13.
A re-run of the 1-1 draw from earlier this term will pay out on correct score @ 11.50.
Goals are commonplace in City games. Indeed, not since a defeat at Spurs in mid-November have they failed to score in a contest.
Just to make things a bit more interesting, I’m going to opt for a * bet of Specials Man City to kick off @ 2.21.
|A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR () BETS ARE WORTH:|
|= €20 (Highly confident)||= €10 (CONFIDENT)||= €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)|
Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.
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