West Ham United vs Manchester City Preview: Champions look to begin title defence with three points in the capital 
(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

West Ham United vs Manchester City Preview: Champions look to begin title defence with three points in the capital 

Manchester City will begin the defence of their title against West Ham at the London Stadium on Saturday.

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Josh Slinger

Manchester City will be looking to make it a third successive title under Pep Guardiola this season, with their defence starting at the London Stadium against West Ham United.

This will be the Irons' second season under Manuel Pellegrini, who will be looking to build on last seasons 10th place finish.

Both sides hit with early injuries

Usually going into a fresh Premier League season, very few teams are hit with injuries, meaning managers have a larger selection of players to choose from. However, both West Ham and City are without key names.

Captain Mark Noble is unlikely to have recovered from a knock in time for the season opener, whilst Lukasz Fabianski is also doubtful having missed the final two pre-season fixtures.

City received a huge blow this week as they found out that Leroy Sane will require surgery after he sustained an anterior cruciate ligament injury in the Blues' Community Shield win over Liverpool.

​Benjamin Mendy is also continuing his recovery from a knee injury and seems unlikely to be involved in the early stages of the season, whilst Ayermic Laporte should be available to start following his recovery from a knock.

Sebastian Haller is likely to start up top in a competitive game for the first time for the Hammers. Rodri could also start his first league game for City following an impressive performance last weekend in the Community Shield.

West Ham predicted XI: Fabianski; Fredericks, Diop, Balbuena, Cresswell; Rice; Antonio, Fornals, Lanzini, Anderson; Haller.

 

Man City predicted XI: Ederson; Walker, Laporte, Stones, Zinchenko; David Silva, Rodri, De Bruyne; Bernardo Silva, Aguero, Sterling.

History favours City

Whilst a new season brings new hope to every team across every league, the Hammers couldn't have started with a harder opposition, and their record shows they don't often fare well against the Premier League champions.

City have won their last seven encounters with West Ham, with the Irons' last victory coming in September 2015. On their last four trips to West Ham, Guardiola's side have really turned on the style - scoring 17 and conceding just once.

Overall, the Blues have also have won more than half of the previous 109 meetings, prevailing 55 times in comparison to West Ham's 37 wins. 

Despite all these stats heading in City's favour, the opening day of the season can often throw up surprises, and with the London Stadium faithful undoubtedly in full support of their side in the sunshine in London, it is likely to be a cracking encounter to kick off the new season.

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