Pablo Zabaleta

Premier League Preview: West Ham vs. Man City

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  • Man City has won five-straight vs. West Ham 
  • Boasts 18-3 combined score line in those matches
  • Man City leads all-time 53W-17D-37L

Longtime Man City men Manuel Pellegrini and Pablo Zabaleta welcome their old club to the London Stadium on Saturday when West Ham United looks to boost its unbeaten run to four (Watch live at 10 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

West Ham has drawn Leicester City and Huddersfield Town while defeating Burnley on its current run, though Man City is a different animal.

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

Pep Guardiola‘s City sits atop the Premier League and has won its last four by a combined score of 15-2.

Pellegrini led Man City to the 2013-14 Premier League title and two League Cups, while Zabaleta claimed two PL crowns, a League Cup, and an FA Cup from his 333 appearances in City’s colors.

What they’re saying

West Ham United’s Pablo Zabaleta on playing his former club“It’s special, but it is hard as well because I know most of the lads. When you play against some former teammates it’s difficult, but now I am a West Ham player and I want West Ham to win the game.”

Pep Guardiola on facing former Man City boss Pellegrini“His career speaks for itself in terms of the quality. When you see the teams of Manuel Pellegrini, when you are blind you recognize his style. He put this team on another level. The way they played and created a style was impressive. He went to Real Madrid [in 2009] and made 96 points. It was good. Here he won the league and helped this club be where we are right now. He will do well at West Ham where there are many good supporters.”

Prediction

The Hammers are improving for sure, but they aren’t quite ready to overturn their City fortunes. Man City 3-0.

VIDEO: West Ham takes early lead over Manchester United

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Manchester United went down early at West Ham United, the lively hosts finding a terrific sixth minute goal at the London Stadium.

[ STREAM: Watch every PL match live ]

Felipe Anderson is the goal scorer, nabbing his first Premier League marker.

Mark Noble played Pablo Zabaleta through the left side of the Manchester United defense, as Luke Shaw could not keep up with the Argentine’s run.

Zabaleta crossed for Anderson, who had an edge on Ander Herrera and pushed the ball past David De Gea.

Manchester United fell to Derby County at midweek in the League Cup, while West Ham clobbered Macclesfield Town 8-0.

Manuel Pellegrini takes the reins at West Ham United

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West Ham United was said to be chasing Rafa Benitez, and instead got a manager with more recent big time success.

Manuel Pellegrini is the new boss at West Ham, returning to the league which saw him guide Manchester City to a Premier League title and two League Cups.

[ MORE: Man Utd after pair of mids ]

The 64-year-old Chilean is well-traveled, and most recently managed Hebei China Fortune. He was released from his contract with the Chinese Super League side last week.

Pellegrini has also led Villarreal, Real Madrid, and Malaga since arriving from South America in 2004.

From WHUFC.com:

“I think that West Ham had a difficult season last season and I hope that next season we are going to play football that will delight the fans. I always play attacking football and we must try to reach important targets in the season.

“Every time you have a meeting you have feelings about whether it was a good meeting or a bad meeting and I had the meeting with him, just talking about football and talking about West Ham.  We agreed on a lot of things he wants for this Club in the way I think a football club must be managed, so we have a lot of common ideas.”

Pellegrini is missing more than a few elements to play the way he’d like to play, and his arrival could spell the end for long-time players like Mark Noble. It could also be a boon for Pablo Zabaleta as the former Man City pair is reunited in London.

West Ham has spent freely in recent years, and Pellegrini’s status could help it land a breed of player unavailable to Sam Allardyce, Slaven Bilic, and David Moyes.

Reports: West Ham will sign Evra for remainder of season

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Patrice Evra on one side and Pablo Zabaleta on the other?

What are Nemanja Vidic and Martin Demichelis up to?

That theoretical back four won’t be getting together at the London Stadium for West Ham United, but left back Evra could be joining right back Zabaleta with the Irons as soon as Wednesday.

[ MORE: USMNT’s Johannsson’s clever Bremen goal ]

Reports say Evra, who left Marseille earlier this season after kicking a fan in a disgraceful prematch incident, is set to join old boss David Moyes at West Ham for the rest of the season.

West Ham sits 12th, but is just three points out of 18th. Left-sided man Arthur Masuaku has been pretty darn good for the Irons, but was suspended for spitting at Nick Powell during FA Cup play. Aaron Cresswell played in his stead as the left wingback in a 3-5-2.

The 3-5-2 should provide Evra more comfort in building up his game, but will perhaps demand a bit more run-up to match fitness.

Like the move?

WATCH LIVE: Manchester City vs. West Ham

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Manchester City looks to keep its unbeaten season alive and push its Premier League lead to eight points as they host David Moyes and West Ham United at the Etihad live on NBCSN and live online at NBCSports.com.

With a win, Pep Guardiola can equal the record winning streak in Premier League history as City searches for its 13th straight victory. The team has dropped points in just a single game this season, a 1-1 draw with Everton in the second match of the campaign.

WATCH LIVE: Manchester City vs. West Ham live on NBCSports.com

Sergio Aguero starts up front for City, with Gabriel Jesus on the bench along with Vincent Kompany and Fernandinho. The Belgian defender is being rested after three straight starts, while Fernandinho is on a yellow card and will be saved for the Manchester United match. Leroy Sane has recovered from an illness to make the starting lineup.

For West Ham, Moyes has completely shuffled the deck. Adrian starts in goal for the first time this Premier League season in a forced change with Manchester City loanee Joe Hart ineligible to play against his parent club. Moyes has also decided to bench playmaker Marko Arnautovic in favor of 21-year-old Swiss winger Edimilson Fernandes, while Andy Carroll is injured and Andre Ayew is dropped, leaving Michail Antonio as the lone striker. Pablo Zabaleta captains the team for the first time, coming against his former club.

The Hammers will look to do better against City than last season, when they lost all three matches by a combined 12-1 score. Over their last 25 meetings, City has won 17 to just three for West Ham.

LINEUPS

Manchester City: Ederson, Walker, Mangala, Danilo, Otamendi, Delph, De Bruyne, D Silva, Sterling, Aguero, Sane.
Subs: Bravo, Kompany, Gundogan, B Silva, Fernandinho, Toure, Jesus.

West Ham: Adrian, Cresswell, Zabaleta, Obiang, Ogbonna, Kouyate, Rice, Antonio, Fernandes, Masuaku, Lanzini.
Subs: Trott, Johnson, Quina, Arnautovic, Ayew, Martinez, Sakho.