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Tuesday, 18 December, 2018

Desperate West Ham could make Man City work for victory

Citizens on target for record-breaking season

Fabian Delph of Manchester City in action
1 of 1

Premier League
Sky Sports Premier League & Main Event, 2.15pm Sunday

Manchester City are showing no signs of easing up during the Premier League run-in and they can collect their 30th league win of the campaign against West Ham at the London Stadium.

The title was secured a fortnight ago but City kept their foot on the gas as they romped to a 5-0 victory at home to Swansea last Sunday.

Pep Guardiola always demands high standards and his players have a few records to chase before the end of the season.

Two more wins are needed for City to eclipse Chelsea's record Premier League points tally of 95 from 2005-06, while six more goals will surpass the 103 achieved by the Blues in 2009-10.

Those targets are highly likely to be achieved and there is every chance City will also accumulate the ten points required to become the first Premier League team to reach 100.

West Ham's need is greater. They may require a few more points to ensure survival and their run-in looks tough with home matches against City and Manchester United, a trip to Leicester and a home game against Everton.

Last month's 3-0 loss at home to Burnley stands out as their low point of the season but West Ham have recovered well and were competitive for large parts of their 4-1 loss at Arsenal last Sunday.

West Ham are the joint-highest scorers among the teams outside the top nine and David Moyes has plenty of attacking options with Marko Arnautovic, Javier Hernandez and Andy Carroll vying for places.

Arnautovic has been the Irons' standout player, scoring ten goals, and will be full of confidence after supplying a superb finish against the Gunners.

The Austrian may get better service against City, with injury-free schemer Manuel Lanzini primed for his first start in six weeks, and it will not be a major surprise if he gets on the scoresheet.

City are not always watertight in defence and were given a major scare by an injury-ravaged West Ham at the Etihad in December before fighting back to secure a 2-1 victory.

West Ham have scored in 16 of their last 17 Premier League games but their defence may let them down against the division's best attack.

Central defensive options have been limited by injuries to James Collins and Winston Reid and the departure of Jose Fonte to the Chinese Super League.

And there has been a vulnerability about the Hammers' recent defending with three or more goals conceded in five of their last nine fixtures.

City should take advantage of West Ham's leaky rearguard but there could be goals at both ends in an entertaining contest.

Manchester City to win & both teams to score
1pt 9-5 general

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Premier League standings

Team news
West Ham
Joe Hart is ineligible to face his parent club so Adrian will return between the sticks. Pedro Obiang (knee) is not quite ready to return. Winston Reid (knee), James Collins, Michail Antonio (both hamstring) and Sam Byram (ankle) are out. 

Manchester City
John Stones and Sergio Aguero are still on the sidelines.

Key stat
Manchester City have kept only one clean sheet in their last six fixtures.


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West Ham have scored in 16 of their last 17 Premier League games
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