Scotland V England Saturday 24th February. 4:45PM. BBC One Scotland v England renew their rivalry…
Manchester City V West Ham United
Sunday 28th August. 4PM. Sky Sports 1
The final Premier League clash before the international break sees Pep Guariola’s Manchester City take on Slaven Bilic’s West Ham in what should be a cracking Super Sunday showdown at the Etihad.
Both teams will be eager to end the month of August on a high. Will Manchester City maintain their 100% record, or will the Hammers record three points at the Etihad for the second year in a row?
Here’s what you need to know.
Sergeant Pep’s Men Looking Well Drilled
It may have taken a late winner to grab the points in the seasons opener against Sunderland, but it’s already clear to see how Guardiola’s influence has impacted the Citizens in the early weeks of 2016-17. And if they continue to grow with swagger, they could well be in the hunt for trophies come the business end.
To challenge for the title, a strong home record will be imperative. With star striker Sergio Aguero already among the goals in both the league and Europe, goals should’t be an issue against the Hammers – especially if the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva can fire the ammunition.
The biggest questions for the hosts have surrounded the goalkeeper situation. However, this week’s arrival of Claudio Bravo from Barcelona should draw a line under that, and could spell the end for Joe Hart too. Meanwhile, summer signing John Stones has looked particularly assured at the heart of defence, making City a formidable force already.
Guardiola has already found that no Premier League game is easy. But if his side are at their best, it should be a routine three points for the hosts.
Unhappy Hammers In Desperate Need Of Payet
Life at the London Stadium started with a win against Bournemouth last weekend, but the Hammers were hardly impressive. Following Thursday’s disaster against Astra in the Europa League, combined with a host of attacking injuries, the bubbles are already in the verge of bursting for West Ham’s hopes of improving on last year’s showing.
Manager Slaven Bilic will be relieved to have star man Dimitri Payet back in action, though. The Hammers have truly missed the Frenchman’s creativity. However, he couldn’t have picked a tougher game to mark his return.
Even if Payet is at his best, the Hammers have major improvement to do. Chelsea dominated the visitors at Stamford Bridge a fortnight ago while the whole team still looks a little off the pace since returning from the summer break.
On their day, though, Bilic’s Hammers are capable of magic – as they showed on the road on several occasions last term, including at the Etihad. Don’t write them off completely.
Manchester City V West Ham United Betting
Unsurprisingly, it’s Manchester City who enter Sunday’s showdown as the overwhelming favourites at just 2/7 with Bet365. West Ham, meanwhile, are available at 11/1 and the draw can be backed at 5/1.
Guardiola’s men are already looking quite assured in possession, and are likely to enjoy large amount of the ball against the Hammers. If new arrival Bravo does make his debut, he could be in for a fairly comfortable afternoon against a blunted attacking unit.
The hosts will almost certainly score. With chances likely to be few and far between for the visitors, a home win via shutout could be a fantastic shout.
Manchester City win-to-nil @ 13/10 with Unibet
If the Citizens hit top gear, any of their attacking stars could be the hero. However, we think it’s Silva who will provide the magic needed to unlock the door.
The skilled Spaniard might not score, but we wouldn’t be surprised if he runs the show and caps it with an assist. We’re backing him to be named the WhoScored.com Man of the Match.
David Silva to be named Man of the Match @ 9/1 with BetVictor