With Guardiola at the helm of Manchester City, the Citizens have proven to be in excellent form. The Hammers, on the other hand, have enjoyed an excellent recent record against City, winning two of their last four meetings, and Slaven Bilic’s aggressive football tore through Manuel Pellegrini’s tepid City team last campaign, however they are still recovering from Thursday night Europa League football.
Whether a repeat of their 2-1 triumph at the Etihad is likely remains to be seen, but one thing bettors could be expecting from the match is goals.
Whether a repeat of their 2-1 triumph at the Etihad is likely remains to be seen, but one thing bettors could be expecting from the match is goals. The use of full-backs as central midfielders during sustained periods of pressure has allowed Man City’s attacking players to sit in-between the lines, creating passing triangles that both Sunderland and Stoke struggled to halt.
The four goal haul at Stoke suggests City have begun to find fluency in the final third, and given that there has been over 2.5 goals in 16 of their last 18 home matches, they are expected to create plenty of chances this weekend. Currently priced at 1.757*, over three goals could be a valuable betting opportunity.
The key battle is likely to be between Sam Byram and Raheem Sterling. Byram is an inexperienced right-back and will be tested by a rejuvenated Sterling; the 21-year-old has come to life under Guardiola, finding more space in a wider position than under the previous tactical set-up.
West Ham had the fourth best away record in the league last year (28 points from 19 games) but eight first team injuries - including Andre Ayew and Andy Carroll - have left them in a weak position.
Bilic will be forced to play similar sides against both Astra Giurgiu and Man City, which is likely to leave them very tired when chasing the ball in Manchester.
Should the match not live up to the high goal expectation, the under three goals market is priced at 2.190*. Will the Hammers keep up with Guardiola’s quick tempo?