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In the late kickoff on Sunday, David Moyes’ West Ham United side kick off a new Premier League season, at home, against reigning- (and four-time-in-five-year-) league champions, Manchester City.
West Ham are coming off of a season that they and their fans will long remember, both for it spectacular highs (the run to the Europa League semifinals) and disappointments (the slip-ups down the stretch the cost them a top-six finish).
Man City, meanwhile, took care of business in the Premier League, winning 29 times and losing just three in 38 outings, and nipping Liverpool by a single point for the league title. City, of course, have a monumental disappointment of their own from last season upon which to reflect. Theirs comes from the semifinals of the Champions League, in which despite seemingly
having Real Madrid down for the count, with a 5-3 aggregate lead with less than seven minutes to play, City conceded twice, allowing extra time, during which Real Madrid scored the decisive goal that sent them to the Champions League Final.
These sides met three times last season: first, in late October in the Carabao Cup, and then in November and May in the Premier League. West Ham emerged victorious in the League Cup (1-0), before falling 2-1 to City a month later at the Etihad and then holding the champions to a 2-2 draw at the London Stadium late in the year. Looking back a bit further, these sides produced an identical set of league results in 2020-21, with Man City winning 2-1 at home, and the sides drawing, this time 1-1, in London.
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Both of these sides have made a relatively small number of acquisitions in this summer transfer window, but the moves that have made promise to be hugely impactful.
West Ham made four acquisitions: 23-year-old striker Gianluca Scamacca, who scored 25 goals in 64 appearances (all competitions) over the past two years in loan spells with Genoa in Serie A and Ascoli in Serie B, was acquired for roughly £28 million from his parent club, Sassuolo. Center back Nayef Aguerd was acquired for a similar fee from French Stade Rennais, while goalkeeper Alphonse Areola’s loan from PSG was made permanent for a fee of just under £8 million pounds. Additionally, the hammers acquired 23-year-old central midfielder Flynn Downes from Swansea for a fee of roughly £9 million. Meanwhile the most notable losses for the Hammers were club talisman Mark Noble, who retired at the age of 35, and winger Andriy Yarmolenko, who, at age 32, left on a free for Al-Ain FC in the United Arab Emirates.
Man City, meanwhile, have made a relatively small number of additions to their Premier League-winning side. However, what they lack numbers, they’re likely to make up for in impact. First and foremost, up front, City were the winners in the seemingly years-long sweepstakes to sign 21-year-old Norwegian phenom Erling Braut Haaland, who they signed for a fee of £51 million (or, apparently, £85.5 million, with all costs factored in), from Borussia Dortmund. Secondly, they added standout central midfielder Kalvin Phillips from Leeds United, for a fee of £42 million.
City’s departures, it must be said, promise to be far more impactful. Perhaps most notably, Raheem Sterling is off to Chelsea for a fee of roughly £45 million pounds, while Gabrielle Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko also left for London, joining Arsenal in separate deals for a combined total of just over £70 million. Finally, City farewell to its own midfield mainstay, as Fernandinho, Man City’s rock in the middle for nearly a decade, was allowed to leave on a free transfer. At age 37, he’s returned to his native Brazil, where he joined Serie A side Athletico Paranaense.
There’s no denying that both the on-pitch tangibles and the host of intangibles that leave with that quartet will be misssed at the Etihad. At the same time, however, there’s simply no getting past just how hilariously loaded this team is. For most clubs, losing this volume of talent to league rivals, even over a half decade period, would require a period of rebuilding. Not so for City, who will roll into this season with a preposterous lineup, with Haaland up front, Ederson in goal, and som combination of Phil Foden, Kevin De Bruyne, Rodri, Bernardo Silva, Jack Grealish, Ruben Diaz, Ilkay Gundogan, Nathan Aki, Riyad Mahrez, John Stones, and seemingly a cast of thousands more in between. To have these thoughts and then pick anything but a Man City feels crazy.
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West Ham sit seventh in the table and know a victory here would move them ahead of Man United in sixth place and into a European qualification spot. Man City are three points ahead of Liverpool and with their title rivals not playing until Tuesday can go six clear.
The Hammers have had a week to rest as their last game was last weekend when they eased to a 4-0 defeat of Norwich. Man City were in action in midweek when they comfortably beat Wolves 5-1 thanks to an inspired Kevin De Bruyne who grabbed four.
At home, the London side are winless in two but have lost just one of their last seven which came against Arsenal. On the road, the Manchester outfit have won their last five league matches scoring a combined 22 goals and conceding just two.
Five of the last eight West Ham games have seen both teams score and it is all four when looking at just home fixtures. The last six Man City Premier League fixtures have gone over 2.5 goals.
Jarrod Bowen is the main man for West Ham with ten goals and ten assists for the league campaign. Kevin De Bruyne is obviously the lead for Man City and has 15 goals and seven assists this season.
Squawka Says: West Ham United 0-2 Manchester City
Let’s be clear, West Ham will absolutely battle City at every turn, and make Guardiola’s charges work for everything they get. However, working in key figures, both up front and in the back, even for a quality Premier League team, is a challenge under favorable circumstances. Against that loaded City lineup, it will simply be too difficult to stay the course without a slip-up or two.
4:30 pm Sunday August 07
Erling Braut Haaland to score 2 or more goalsPremier League
15 May 2022: West Ham 2-2 Manchester City- Premier League
28 November 2021: Manchester City 2-1 West Ham- Premier League
27 October 2021: West Ham 0-0 Manchester City- League Cup
27 February 2021: Manchester City 2-1 West Ham United – Premier League
24 October 2020: West Ham United 1-1 Manchester City – Premier League
19 February 2020: Manchester City 2-0 West Ham United – Premier League
You have to go back to September 2015 for the last time that Man City lost to West Ham in the Premier League. City have though been held on their last two visits to the London Stadium.