Manchester United beating Arsenal in one of the all-time great Premier League games on Saturday put a lot of pressure on Pep Guardiola and his men, who HAVE to beat the Hammers to finish the weekend eight points ahead of their biggest rivals just a week before the Manchester Derby at Old Trafford.
Because there’s a completely meaningless Champions League match away to Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday, Pep can afford to rest all of his main players in that game and go with his strongest possible team in this one. It’s a little risky especially after the intensity of the game against Southampton, but that was on Wednesday and the team had three full days to rest before facing West Ham.
Also, Pep already made a few rotations in that midweek game and will probably go with his best players for this one. The only real doubt is whether Vincent Kompany starts his third game in a row, but resting him for 10 days before playing United doesn’t sound like a smart plan. It’s better to keep his rhythm and rest him against Shakhtar, so Vincent probably starts here too.
The other doubt is Leroy Sané, who missed the Saints game with an illness but should be ready to go for Sunday.
Predicted XI: Ederson; Walker, Kompany, Otamendi, Delph; De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Silva; Sterling, Agüero, Sané
Bitter and Blue Lineup (as chosen by you!):
Ederson; Walker, Kompany, Otamendi, Delph; De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Silva; Sterling, Jesus, Sané
Things haven’t improved for West Ham under new manager David Moyes, who took charge three weeks ago and is yet to get a victory. The latest game was a terrible one, a 4-0 loss to Everton at Goodison Park in which the team looked quite poor for most of the 90 minutes.
They’re also dealing with some important injuries and will not have goalkeeper Joe Hart, who is on loan from City and cannot face his parent club. Andy Carroll and Winston Reid, two key parts of the attack and defense, are huge doubts because of injury. Top scorer Javier Hernández is also out, with Diafra Sakho probable to start up front.
The two danger men will be Marko Arnautovic and Manuel Lanzini, who have played quite well under Moyes and are talented enough to cause City problems on the counter. But the biggest news about West Ham’s starting lineup is at right-back: City legend Pablo Zabaleta will return to the Etihad for the first time on Sunday, and that will no doubt be an emotional day for him and for City fans.
Predicted XI: Adrián; Zabaleta, Rice, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Kouyaté, Obiang; Arnautovic, Lanzini, Masuaku; Sakho
Man City: Ederson; Walker, Otamendi, Mangala, Delph; De Bruyne, Danilo, Silva; Sterling, Agüero, Sané
West Ham: Adrián; Zabaleta, Rice, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Kouyaté, Obiang; Fernandes, Lanzini, Masuaku; Antonio