MX23RW : Wednesday, February 19 15:55:53| >> :600:979679:979679:
Feb 19, 2020 at 7.30pm UK at ​Etihad Stadium
Man CityManchester City
West HamWest Ham United

Preview: Manchester City vs. West Ham United - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole provides team news, predicted lineups and a full preview of Sunday's Premier League fixture between Manchester City and West Ham United.

Manchester City head into Sunday's Premier League fixture with West Ham United looking to extend their advantage over third-placed Leicester City to five points.

Meanwhile, West Ham make the daunting trip to the Etihad Stadium requiring at least a point to move outside of the relegation zone.

Match preview

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola on January 26, 2020© Reuters

With Man City sitting 22 points adrift of leaders Liverpool, Pep Guardiola has been the first to acknowledge that his side are not active in the title race, effectively bringing to an end their two-year reign with three months of the season remaining.

Nevertheless, City's recent setbacks, in theory, will only provide extra motivation for Guardiola as he attempts to win silverware in other competitions and begin to contemplate ways to improve his squad in the summer.

Strengthening a defence which has missed Aymeric Laporte for the majority of the season will be at the top of his list of priorities, rather than having concerns over a misfiring attack.

While City thrashed a Fulham side who were hindered by a sixth-minute dismissal, they have netted just three times in their other four matches, which includes drawing a blank against Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur.

However, on another day, the likes of Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling could have netted at least two goals apiece, instead of squandering opportunities which kept their respective opponents in the contest.

Manchester City's Sergio Aguero on January 21, 2020© Reuters

Sterling will miss out at the weekend through injury - likely a consequence of being involved in 40 matches for club and country since the beginning of August.

That said, his absence provides Guardiola with a chance to rid himself of an over-reliance on the winger, potentially providing Phil Foden with a pathway to make just his third Premier League start of the season.

If the young Englishman is to replace the departing David Silva next season, matches such as this one are perfect opportunities for Guardiola to hand the academy graduate further experience in the top flight.

Despite City being able to play with a certain degree of freedom at the weekend, the same cannot be said of West Ham, who travel to the Etihad desperately short of confidence.

For the majority of their contest with Brighton & Hove Albion last weekend, it appeared that David Moyes was going to see his side end a five-match winless streak in all competitions.

West Ham boss David Moyes on February 1, 2020© Reuters

However, conceding two late goals resulted in the game ending in a 3-3 draw, leaving Moyes torn as to how to approach a game of this level after dropping into the bottom three.

In their recent games with Leicester City and Liverpool, Moyes has struggled to find the correct balance, with a significant change in strategy being required at the midway point of the first of those fixtures.

The Scot will probably feel that there is enough quality in his attack to score goals against a struggling City backline, although the newly-appointed boss may be lacking faith in his own defenders to put up enough of a fight at the other end.

The sole plus point from last week's game was Robert Snodgrass contributing two goals and an assist, extending his tally to five and four in those respective categories for the campaign.

While there have been several big-name arrivals over the last 18 months, the 32-year-old has emerged as West Ham's most creative player this season, effectively making him the most important attacker in the squad.

However, with trips to City, Liverpool and Arsenal all to come in their next four games, there is the possibility of Snodgrass being left powerless to prevent West Ham from being cut adrift in the battle to avoid relegation to the Championship.

Manchester City Premier League form: WWWDWL
Manchester City form (all competitions): WDWWLL

West Ham United Premier League form: WLDLLD
West Ham United form (all competitions): LDLLLD

Team News

Manchester City's Aymeric Laporte pictured on January 21, 2020© Reuters

After missing a number of games due to muscle fatigue, Laporte is expected to return to the centre of the City defence, potentially in place of Nicolas Otamendi.

With Oleksandr Zinchenko serving a one-match ban, Benjamin Mendy should line up at left-back, while Foden may replace Ilkay Gundogan in central midfield.

As a result of Sterling's hamstring injury, Bernardo Silva and Riyad Mahrez could be given responsibility on the flanks.

Moyes will be able to call upon new signing Jarrod Bowen for this contest, although it would come as a surprise if the winger featured in the first XI.

After mistakes were made in defence last weekend, one of Issa Diop or Angelo Ogbonna could drop down to the substitutes' bench.

Manchester City possible starting lineup:
Ederson; Walker, Fernandinho, Laporte, Mendy; De Bruyne, Rodri, Foden; Bernardo, Aguero, Mahrez

West Ham United possible starting lineup:
Fabianski; Fredericks, Diop, Balbuena, Cresswell; Soucek, Rice, Noble; Snodgrass, Antonio, Haller

Head To Head

Sunday's encounter will represent the 111th competitive meeting between the two sides, with City registering 56 wins in comparison to 37 victories for West Ham.

Despite giving good accounts of themselves at the Etihad in recent years, West Ham have lost their last eight games against City, a run stretching back to the start of 2016.

Their last success came in September of the previous year as Victor Moses and Diafra Sakho helped the Hammers to a 2-1 triumph in the North-West.

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We say: Manchester City 4-1 West Ham United

While West Ham have troubled City in front of their own supporters in the past, we are predicting one-way traffic this weekend. Guardiola will expect a positive response from his team, and they could deliver with a relentless attacking performance.

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Who will win Sunday's Premier League clash between Manchester City and West Ham United?

Manchester City
West Ham United
Manchester City
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Manchester City's Sergio Aguero on January 21, 2020
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rhs 2.0
2Manchester CityMan City25163665293651
3Leicester CityLeicester26155654262850
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs2611784334940
6Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd2610972824439
7Manchester UnitedMan Utd2610883829938
8Wolverhampton WanderersWolves2681263532336
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2687112440-1631
14Crystal Palace2679102332-930
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2669113138-727
17Aston Villa2674153450-1625
18West Ham UnitedWest Ham2566133043-1324
20Norwich CityNorwich2646162448-2418

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