West Ham has found the form and belief that they can beat almost anyone this season as they sit 4th in the Premier League, but coming up against Man City will likely prove their toughest test yet.
The Citizens are now on a 19 (NINETEEN) game-winning run in all competitions and don’t look like slowing down as they lie ten points clear of Manchester United and Leicester City at the top of the table.
There are a lot of factors that point to their recent dominance but one key reasoning behind it is the vast improvement of their defence, especially in contrast to as recently as the beginning of the season – where they let in five goals at home to Leicester which had many questioning the future of City boss Pep Guardiola.
The purchase of Ruben Dias and revival of John Stones has laid to bed those doubts, though, as they have become the formidable centre back partnership in the Premier League as they have registered 10 clean sheets in 12 games together in the top-flight – with just two goals conceded within that timeframe.
This has laid a foundation for other offensive players to shine, with Ilkay Gundogan and Joao Cancelo standing out for Guardiola’s men during this winning run.
West Ham and Manchester City are the two form teams in the Premier League and the Hammers visit the Etihad Stadium on Saturday in what could be an engaging affair.
Tactically, it is somewhat of a headache for Hammers boss David Moyes as he prepares his side for the trip to the runaway leaders.
Some may argue that it would be best for West Ham to sit deep and soak up the pressure that Man City provides, whilst hoping that the likes of Jesse Lingard and Michail Antonio supply enough ammunition on the counter-attack that could hurt their back-line.
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This approach, however, provides the problem that, ultimately, it is near impossible to keep their attack out for 90 minutes as they boast the likes of Raheem Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne, and Bernardo Silva who can all unlock any defence within the blink of an eye.
An alternative game-plan – which could be seen as either brave or naive depending on how you look at it – is the option to play more expansively and in a sense attempt to go toe-to-toe with Man City.
This has the potential to see more attacking play from the Irons but at the same time would leave acres of room for City’s offensive talent to hurt their defence and quite feasibly score goals at will.
While West Ham fans may be eager for their team to have a go, Moyes will realistically likely opt for the more conservative approach of trying to contain Manchester City – which is entirely understandable.
Without sounding defeatist, if the Hammers can come away from this game without their +10 goal difference lowering too much, Moyes’ men can then continue on their path for European football knowing that their most difficult fixture is out of the way.
In dreamland, however, no records last forever, and if any team in the league should have the confidence and belief to end Man City’s winning run, look no further than David Moyes’ hearty Hammers.