View of the opposition: Manchester City v West Ham
We provide analysis and best bets for the Hammers' toughest game of the season as they head to the runaway league leaders.
West Ham fans could be forgiven for fearing the worst from their trip to the Etihad on Sunday.
Manchester City’s start to the season – which has seen them drop just two of a possible 42 points – is already the best ever recorded in the Premier League.
Their current club-record run of 12 consecutive victories, meanwhile, is only two short of the division’s longest-ever winning streak, which was set by Arsenal more than 15 years ago.
But that’s not to say that there’s no chance of making money on the game, even if you can’t quite bring yourself to bet against the Hammers in their hardest game of the season.
The goals have not exactly dried up for City but, after hitting five or more on four separate occasions earlier in the campaign, they have certainly been slightly harder to come by.
Pep Guardiola’s side have not managed more than two in their last four games in all competitions, while they haven’t scored more than three in their last six league outings.
David Moyes is sure to try and frustrate the hosts by packing players behind the ball, so that trend could well continue this weekend.
Clean sheets have also become an increasingly rare occurrence for the Premier League’s runaway leaders, who are missing first-choice centre-back John Stones through injury.
His replacement, Vincent Kompany, has not been the calming influence you might expect, either, having been booked in four of his six appearances.
As a result, City, who kept five clean sheets in their first seven games of the season, have kept just two more in their seven games since.
That run has seen them concede in each of their last two games against Southampton and Huddersfield – neither of whom have been prolific this season – and ship two against struggling sides in Stoke and West Brom.
A bet on both teams to score, then, as has been the case in six of West Ham’s last eight visits to the Etihad, looks excellent value at odds-against.
When it comes to working out who might get on the scoresheet, it makes sense to think outside the box.
Southampton caused all manner of problems from corners on Wednesday night, with Virgil van Dijk wasting two excellent chances.
Angelo Ogbonna is probably West Ham’s biggest threat from set pieces, having scored two goals already this season, and his price to get on the end of another is certainly worth a punt.
Manchester City to score under 3.5 –
Both teams to score –
Angelo Ogbonna to score at any time –