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Stemming blue tide not impossible for resolute West Ham at Manchester City

17 Sep | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Stemming blue tide not impossible for resolute West Ham at Manchester City

The Hammers must continue to make a case for their defence and hope the league leaders suffer from their European anguish in midweek

At the beginning of the season, saying that Manchester City v West Ham would be a game of two solid defences might have earned more than a few strange looks.

Yet here we are.

City are yet to concede in their opening five Premier League fixtures, and their back four have formed an excellent understanding.

Although West Ham have been somewhat porous at home – conceding four to a rampant Bournemouth – their away form has been rigidly impressive.

The Hammers have kept clean sheets on both occasions they have travelled this season, both against high calibre opposition in Arsenal and Liverpool.

Can Slaven Bilic’s side continue their fine defensive form against yet another top team?

It may seem a little far-flung, but a price of 16/1 for neither team to concede is tempting.  

Might they even go one better and earn an unlikely victory at the Etihad?

There could be reason yet for the travelling supporters to dream.

Manuel Pellegrini’s men continue to struggle in Europe’s top competition and their midweek defeat to Juventus in the Champions League will have left them physically and mentally weary.

There may still be a hangover when the Premier League comes around on Saturday.

Conversely, the defeat by Astra Giurgiu in the Europa League qualifiers could prove to be a blessing for West Ham.

Bilic now has the luxury of working with his team for the whole week, preparing them for the specific threats that City will pose.

New loan signing Victor Moses caused Newcastle endless problems on Monday night with his pace and direct play and can trouble the steadily ageing legs of right-back Bacary Sagna.

Moses was unlucky to only hit the bar on his debut and is 15/2 to score anytime.

The Hammers, meanwhile, are 9/1 to make it three out of three away victories this season.

But there is no denying that City will still be feeling extremely confident going into Saturday’s match.

And rightly so.

The Citizens have been rewarded – in the Premier League at least – by keeping the faith with Pellegrini.

There was an understandably dubious response when the club announced his contract extension just before the season began, but the team has benefited from this increased stability.

A few big-money signings always help as well, of course.

Kevin De Bruyne started on the bench against Crystal Palace but should find himself in the starting line up in place of Jesus Navas, who may still be trying to dig a hole to hide in after that miss against Crystal Palace.

The £55million man from Wolfsburg is 6/4 to open his account for the club.

City have an average of just over two goals a game so far, although they may struggle to maintain their goal scoring rate if Sergio Aguero isn’t fully fit after his knee injury.

The Argentinean came on from the bench in midweek, but couldn’t help City’s toothless finishing and the Manchester club are 17/20 to score fewer than 2.5 goals on Saturday evening.

The two teams shared the spoils last year in the league – City winning at the Etihad and West Ham the victors at Upton Park.

Three points for Pellegrini would prove a welcome tonic after their continued Champions League frustrations.

But if Bilic can mastermind another impressive away victory, the Hammers might justifiably begin to dream of a special final season at the Boleyn.

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