PL Preview: Man City v. West Ham

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  • Man City has won 7 straight PL games v. West Ham
  • Sergio Aguero has scored 5 straight PL goals for Man City, a joint-club record
  • West Ham has scored 10 away goals, 19th in the Premier League

Two teams that desperately need a return to good form meet at the Etihad on Sunday as Manchester City hosts West Ham, with kickoff Sunday at 2:45 p.m. ET live on NBCSN or live online at NBCSports.com.

Manchester City returns home licking its wounds after a Premier League defeat to Tottenham that saw Pep Guardiola‘s side drop a massive 22 points back of Liverpool in the title race and leaves them just two points ahead of third-placed Leicester City. That loss came on the heels of a 1-0 defeat to rivals Manchester United in the second leg of their Carabao Cup semifinal matchup that adds to the struggles despite that fact the club still advanced to the final on aggregate.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

Guardiola will be without playmaker Raheem Sterling, who was injured in the Spurs loss and will be out “weeks” the boss confirmed Friday morning, and the suspended Oleksandr Zinchenko who was sent off in the match. Should Aymeric Laporte return to the lineup, it will be interesting to see whether he replaces natural center-back Nicolas Otamendi, or pushes Fernandinho into midfield.

West Ham is in far worse form, dropping into the relegation zone thanks to a stretch of eight league games with just one win and five total points gained. That point haul leaves the Hammers last in the Premier League form table over that stretch, and David Moyes continues to struggle finding his best eleven. It doesn’t help that playmaker Felipe Anderson is still a doubt for the match despite having returned to training after recovering from rib and back injuries.

Injuries/suspensions

Man City: OUT – Raheem Sterling (hamstring), Leroy Sane (knee), Oleksandr Zinchenko (suspended). QUESTIONABLE – Benjamin Mendy (muscle fatigue), Aymeric Laporte (fatigue).

West Ham: OUT – Andriy Yarmolenko (hamstring), Jack Wilshere (groin). QUESTIONABLE – Felipe Anderson (rib).


Probable lineups

Man City: Ederson; Mendy, Laporte, Otamendi, Walker; Fernandinho, Gundogan, De Bruyne; Mahrez, Silva, Aguero.

West Ham: Fabianski; Fredericks, Ogbonna, Balbuena, Cresswell; Rice, Soucek, Noble; Snodgrass, Antonio, Haller


What they’re saying

Man City manager Pep Guardiola on Liverpool title gap: “The last two seasons, an owner from the Premier League said: ‘That cannot happen again, it’s not good for the Premier League that City win the title in that way’ [by so many points]. So now, with Liverpool, you have to be concerned for the Premier League!”

West Ham manager David Moyes on brutal upcoming schedule: “What matters is where we are at the end, not the middle of February. You play everybody twice so come the end of the season we’ll give ourselves a good chance of being in a strong position but we have to win games.”


Prediction

West Ham is in a very bad way, and David Moyes has not figured out how best to organize his squad. That could prove to be dangerous because Man City is out for blood, having failed to win or even score a goal in its last two matches. Still, City was good against Spurs and simply failed to score. The hosts will get back on track before pausing for February break, winning 3-1. This is as good a team as any for Man City to have crop up on the schedule during a tough time…City has beaten West Ham in seven straight Premier League meetings, outscoring the Hammers 23-3 during that stretch.