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City look capable of winning every game between now and the end of the season at the moment and are almost certain to extend their staggering winning run to 20 games when they take on West Ham on Saturday afternoon.
Pep Guardiola’s side have won their last 13 league games since their surprise draw with West Brom in mid-December and have rarely looked like dropping points since. Having said that, City have not hammered every team they have faced into submission and there have been certain games that they have won by narrower margins than expected.
The runaway league leaders could only beat basement side Sheffield United 1-0 at home, for example, while they similarly struggled to run up a big score against Brighton and Aston Villa at the Etihad Stadium.
City have scored 19 goals in their seven away games during their 13-game winning league compared to 13 in their six home games and they seem more dangerous away from the Etihad. Additionally, West Ham have picked up 22 points from their last available 27 and are no mugs. David Moyes’ charges will make it difficult for City to break them down and should keep this one relatively close.
Sunday 12:30pm – Man City v West Ham
BT Sport 1
Sterling has managed to get his season back on track after a forgettable first half of the campaign and can continue his recent form against a side that he historically does well against. The English forward has scored five goals in his last nine appearances in all competitions for City – a significant increase on his nine goals in his 24 games of the season.
He has scored eight goals in 14 career appearances against West Ham – only scoring more against Bournemouth and Watford – and seems to flourish against the Hammers. With City likely to dominate proceedings, Sterling has an excellent chance of improving that record on Saturday.
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Along with Aston Villa, West Ham have been the surprise package of the Premier League this season and deserve enormous credit for their consistency over the first 25 games of the campaign. However, the Hammers boast the worst attacking record of the top six and could really struggle to break down the league’s best defence on Saturday.
City have conceded just 15 goals in the league this year – at least ten fewer goals than any other team – and have improved enormously since the arrival of Ruben Dias. In fact, City have conceded just nine goals in 23 games since Dias arrived at the club and will prove an exceptionally tough nut to crack for West Ham on Saturday.
They have not conceded in each of their last six home games and will look to extend that to seven against the high-flying Hammers.
As devastating as City have been over the past two months, they have failed to really kick on in the second half on a number of occasions.
Guardiola’s side scored in the first half against both Sheffield United and Brighton last month, but failed to kick on and drew a blank in the second period on both occasions. They also failed to score in the second period against Burnley at Turf Moor and against Arsenal at the Emirates last week.
Conserving energy is key in such a congested season and City are perhaps taking their foot off the pedal in certain games to maintain fitness. They will face a stubborn defence when they take on West Ham and are unlikely to throw too much into this game if the points are already in the bag.
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