In the 36th round of matches of the 2017/2018 Premier League season, David Moyes’ West Ham United entertain Pep Guardiola’s title-winning Manchester City in what promises to be an intriguing matchup, with plenty still at stake for either team.
The Hammers go into the clash off the back of last Sunday’s disappointing away thrashing at the hands of Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium, while the Citizens celebrated the title in style last time out in their first match since being crowned, drubbing Swansea City 5-0 at the Etihad Stadium, the visitors are the overwhelming favourites for this one.
The encounter is scheduled to kick-off at 2:15 PM BST tomorrow afternoon (Sunday 29 April 2018), and will be televised live in the United Kingdom by Sky Sports, on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Premier League.
There will also be live radio commentary in the UK being provided by TalkSport and BBC Radio London, but if you don’t have access to a TV or radio device on Sunday, never fear, you can stay with us right here on West Ham Matters for a Live Blog of the match, featuring live and exclusive build-up, text commentary and reaction, live from the London Stadium Press Box and starting at 12:15 PM.
The visit of Guardiola’s Blue Moon will take place at the home club’s London Stadium, with a capacity of 57,000 and the option to go high into the 70,000s it is one of the most spectacular and newest arenas in English Football.
Originally opening in 2012 for the London Olympics, the ground has now been a Premier League stadium for nearly two years, and as well as football hosted rugby, athletics and concerts among other events, but hasn’t always been popular with supporters who were reluctant to leave the Irons’ former home of the Boleyn Ground.
Their discontent was catalysed early in this season when the first-team stars, then under Slaven Bilic, were forced to play the first four games of the season away from home due to Stratford hosting the World Athletics Championships and World Para Athletics Championships.
But, the stadium is slowly starting to feel more like home for the Claret & Blue Army, and today will be only the third time that the team from Manchester have visited Stratford, winning 0-5 in the Emirates FA Cup third round and 0-4 in the Premier League there last season on their previous two visits, a happy hunting ground for the Sky Blues so far.
Home manager Moyes has seen many of his longer-term injury worries return in the last few weeks including the likes of Andy Carroll and Manuel Lanzini and provided another positive injury update during his pre-Manchester City press conference at Rush Green training ground on Friday afternoon.
It concerned the fitness of midfielder Pedro Obiang, this match may come too soon for him, but the Spaniard is set to return for a busy final week of the campaign, his fellow countryman Adrian San-Miguel will be back in goal with City loanee Joe Hart ineligible to face his parent club.
Meanwhile, away boss Guardiola’s squad has been hit by injuries as their incredible season draws to a close with the recent news that star striker Sergio Aguero will miss the rest of the term, it is also looking like John Stones will suffer the same fate.
However, midfielder Fernandinho is coming back from suspension due to the accumulation of yellow cards for the visitors, while popular full-back Benjamin Mendy returned from a long-term absence in the Swans victory and may get his first start since September.
The first-teams of West Ham United and Manchester City have met before a staggering 106 times in competition football, a fixture that has been being played since all the way back in the year of 1924.
Sunday’s away side uninspiringly have the edge on the overall record with a total of 52 victories to the Hammers’ 37, remarkably, the points and the spoils have only been shared with a draw on 17 occasions.
In terms of the recent matchups between these two, the side from Manchester have also been dominant, winning four of the last five meetings, the solitary draw coming in the form of a 2-2 at the Boleyn Ground during the 2015/2016 season, the Irons will be looking for their first triumph against them since September 2015.
Last time out, in December 2017, Guardiola’s soon to be champions continued their astounding winning run with a 2-1 win at the Etihad Stadium, Angelo Ogbonna had put Moyes’ side ahead at the end of the first half, only for Nicolas Otamendi and a late David Silva volley to give the hosts the three points.
Manchester City Football Club was originally founded n 1880 as St Mark’s FC and then renamed to the current namesake 14 years later, enjoying a roller-coaster of a ride in English football ever since.
The Blue Moon (one of their many nicknames) are fast becoming one of the most successful clubs in European football history, enjoying much of their domestic triumphs since their controversial 2008 takeover by the Abu Dhabi Untied Group.
Their trophy cabinet contains five Premier Leagues or English Top-Flights, after this season’s achievement, the same number of FA Cups, the most recent one coming during the 2010.2011 campaign, coincidently, five League Cups, the latest one coming this term and a single European Cup Winners’ Cup, among other smaller prizes.
Nowadays, under former Barcelona manager Guardiola, the Sky Blues are chasing all kinds of PL records including highest points tally in a single season and most goals in a single season having secured the title 14 days ago, the only disappointment for them this campaign would have been UEFA Champions League and FA Cup exits, they are 14 places and 55 points above their Sunday opponents.
Who Is Officiating?
Experienced Select Group referee Neil Swarbrick will be the man in the middle in Stratford tomorrow afternoon, with the duo of Scott Ledger and Marc Perry assisting him and the role of Fourth Official being taken up by fellow Premier League referee Bobby Madley.
So, now that the London Stadium scene has been well and truly set for the visit of the Premier League champions to East London, can Moyes’ Hammers become only the third team to beat them this season and boost their hopes of survival?
Or, will Guardiola’s City roll into town and do what they do best at London Stadium, winning convincingly to spoil the party and increase the home side’s relegation fears? Think you know? Find us on Twitter @WestHamMatters_ to cast your score predictions and join the pre-match discussion.