Erling Haaland scored his 50th competitive goal of the season in Manchester City’s 2-1 victory over Fulham on Sunday, becoming the first player in England to do so since 1931. Man City had just started an eight games winless streak in head to head matches against West Ham United at the time, but things have changed significantly since then, as they have only dropped one of the previous 16 encounters (W13, D3).
The City citizens have now won seven straight home league games after defeating Arsenal 4-1 last week, which might have determined the Premier League (PL) title. The last three of those victories all saw at least three goals scored. While Man City has won their last six home games, none of the last five have seen them score more than twice, West Ham has recently proven to be a worthy opponent.
The last thing West Ham manager David Moyes needed was Saturday’s 4-3 loss to Crystal Palace, their first ever Premier League away defeat after scoring three goals. He may face the wrath of the FA for suggesting that his team has been “disrespected” by officials recently, so ahead of a taxing schedule that included both Manchester clubs and the UEFA Europa Conference League semi final against AZ Alkmaar, it was unfortunate.
Despite winning two of their last three league away games (L1), the Hammers have traveled poorly this season (W3, D3, L10) and are still nervously eyeing the relegation zone. Since Sir Geoff Hurst continues to score three goals in their away head to head matches, this is another difficult task for them.
Three of Haaland’s previous four Premier League goals have come inside the first 30 minutes, leaving even Hurst unable to achieve the Norwegian’s feat of 50 goals in a season (his best was 40 in 1965/66). Ukasz Fabiaski (WHU), who has preserved clean sheets in two of his last three road games, will try to stop him.
After recovering from a hamstring injury, Man City defender Nathan Ake could play against West Ham on Wednesday. Kevin De Bruyne, who missed the win at Fulham due to an injury of unknown nature, has yet to participate in training and is questionable.
In the last two games without Ake, Manuel Akanji has performed brilliantly in the makeshift left back position. If City’s No. 6 is not healthy enough to play, he might stay in that position alongside teammates Kyle Walker, John Stones, and Ruben Dias.
Riyad Mahrez, Phil Foden, and Bernardo Silva are expected to compete for a spot on the right flank, while Alvarez, who was chosen to start in De Bruyne’s stead against Fulham, might earn another start in attack with Haaland.
Kurt Zouma was substituted from West Ham’s match against Palace in the first half after twisting his ankle while attempting to block a shot. Moyes has said that the center back may be out for at least a few weeks.
Due to knee surgery, Gianluca Scamacca is the only other absentee for the Hammers, so Michail Antonio and Danny Ings will continue to compete for a position as the team’s center forward.
Due to the expected unavailability of Zouma, Angelo Ogbonna might start alongside Nayef Aguerd in the first XI. Thilo Kehrer might also be added at center back if Moyes opts for a back three or back five.
Manchester City possible starting lineup
Ederson, Walker, Stones, Dias, Akanji, Rodri, Gundogan, Foden, Alvarez, Grealish and Haaland.
West Ham United possible starting lineup
Fabianski, Coufal, Kehrer, Aguerd, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Soucek, Rice, Paqueta, Bowen and Antonio.
We predict: Manchester City 4-0 West Ham United
Even though the Premier League has a reputation for being unpredictable, given their unwavering recent form, it is tough to anticipate anything other than a Man City triumph on Wednesday.
West Ham will be confident of scoring and creating some issues on the break, but they will probably find it difficult to contain a raging Citizens attack at the other end of the Etihad Stadium.