- West Ham has not completed a league double over Manchester City since 1962/63
- Manchester City has won 7 of their last 10 vs West Ham, but have lost 2 of the last 3
- A win gives West Ham its highest-ever point total for this point in the season
Two teams navigating a pivotal moment in their respective seasons meet as West Ham hosts Manchester City from Upton Park on Saturday (Watch live at 12:30 p.m. ET, on NBC and online via Live Extra)
Manchester City is riding a five-match unbeaten streak in Premier League play which has seen their title challenge renewed, but still sit in a precarious position in the table, and could finish the weekend a game from falling out of the top four. With a February slate of Leicester City, Tottenham, and Liverpool on the horizon, it’s imperative that City take advantage of the rest of January that features a fixture list of West Ham, Everton, Aston Villa, and Sunderland.
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The Citizens are still banged up, with Vincent Kompany, Eliaquim Mangala, Wilfried Bony, and Aleksandar Kolarov all listed as out. Even with the defensive injuries, the team has held opponents to just two goals over their five-match unbeaten streak. Nicolas Otamendi has stepped up for Manchester City during that time, partnering with Martin Demichelis for the last two Mangala sidelined, keeping two clean sheets. While Demichelis has appeared shaky at times, Otamendi is on top of his game.
West Ham, meanwhile, is on a streak of their own, having won three of their last four, a road loss to Newcastle last time out the only blemish. It’s no surprise that their uptick has coincided with the return of midfield engine Dimitri Payet, but he has struggled to return to early-season form. Payet struggled in the Newcastle loss, and will need to be a better distributor if West Ham expects to beat one of the league’s top teams.
What they’re saying
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini: “We have a difficult game against a very good team. They beat us here at home earlier this season in a match I think we had 20 chances to score but we didn’t do it. I hope we will go for the three points and that we will demonstrate why we’re involved in the title.”
West Ham manager Slaven Bilic on City striker Sergio Aguero: “For me he is definitely of the top five strikers in the world. He wasn’t out of form, but he was injured and he also needed a few games to get back. But he is unbelievable. He is quick, he is lethal, he is very clever and very patient in the box and his movement is unbelievable. If you add to that the service from Yaya Toure, David Silva and De Bruyne, they have amazing quality.”
Manchester City is playing well, and their back line seems to be in form. But City have a habit of stumbling when they seem to be picking up steam, and with Payet looking for his first standout performance since his return from injury, this would be the perfect time to do it. West Ham holds serve at home, and the two draw 1-1 in a match that features a slugfest in the middle of the pitch.