Manchester City travel to our London friends West Ham United, looking to maintain their 100% start to the season.
City have won all four of the opening fixtures and sit pretty at the top of the table. The Hammers though, are not far behind in fourth and are looking good at the start of the season. They won three of their opening four fixtures and, like City, are unbeaten so far this season.
The blues have had indifferent result at West Ham over the years, although they are currently enjoying a decent run of form at the home of the Hammers.
Currently Unbeaten - Sort Of...
It would be false to claim that the blues are unbeaten in their last 10 matches at West ham, but technically, it is correct...if we classify losing as an outright defeat! Okay, okay. In October 2021, West ham were the team that broke City’s stranglehold on the League Cup. A goalless draw resulted in a penalty shoot-out, which the Hammers won. But they didn’t win in normal team so we’re still unbeaten, right? Right?
In the last 16 matches, City have lost just once (outright, yes I know, clutching at straws) in addition to the penalty shoot-out defeat, winning nine by an aggregate of 33-3. This includes a winning streak of five straight matches, in which we recorded two 5-0 wins, two 4-0 wins and a 4-1 victory.
Before the Premier League
It’s safe to say that City had a torrid time at Upton Park before and after the Premier League was created. In the 33 matches played at West Ham’s old ground, City won just nine, but when we won, we won in style. City won the first meeting between the two in April 1924 and hit four goals on three separate occasions.
Sadly for City, they lost 18, including two of the heaviest defeats to the Hammers. In April 1959, West Ham thrashed the blues 5-1, and when City returned seven months later, they came home with a 4-1 hiding. But, in May 1963, the Hammers hit City for six as the blues lost 6-1 on their way out of the First Division.
City’s fortunes changed a little under Mercer and Allison, but the bleus still struggled to get some decent results there. In the 59 games played so far, West ham have won 26 to City’s 20.
Yes, there are. Matches between City and West Ham rarely finish goalless. The League Cup match of 2021 was the first 0-0 draw at West ham since 2012 and there have only been another four since 1924.
Between them, the two teams have scored 170 goals at the home of the Hammers, with City grabbing 83 to West Ham’s 87. Incredibly, both teams have kept 18 clean sheets in this fixture.
The last time City failed to score at West Ham in the league was 2009, when the Hammers won 1-0 and their biggest win in East London is 5-0.
And now the fun part - freaking out the superstitious.
City and West Ham have met four times in September with the Hammers winning two to City’s one. They’ve never met on the 16th of the month but the dates haven’t been far away.
On 6th September 1965, the Hammers won 1-0, while on the 25th September 1982, the blues were battered 4-1 at Upton Park. City won 2-1 in September 1991 while the same date in 2002 saw a rare goalless draw.
That result in 1991 saw what is probably the most bizarrely scored penalty and a defender who turned into a prime striker. After an even first half, City were awarded a penalty when Niall Quinn outfoxed the keeper and saw his shot palmed away by Colin Foster, who was then sent off. The blues had had trouble from the penalty spot and new taker Stevie Redmond stepped up to take responsibility.
The reliable defender stepped up and slipped as he was about to take the kick. However, he still made contact with the ball, which went straight down the middle as the keeper dived to his right.
The Hammers levelled late on with decent finish, but City won it in the final minute. Tony Coton leathered the ball upfield, which went past the entire defence and found, for some reason, Colin Hendry of all people, the highest up the field. Hendry’s first time, left foot shot was parried by the keeper, but the ball rolled home and City won 2-1.
What the hell Hendry was doing there we neither knew or cared. The blues had won 2-1!