West Ham endured a good season last time out - a season that saw David Moyes’ side finish 7th in the league whilst reaching a European final, but they will certainly be wanting to push on and challenge those above.
However, they face tricky opposition in Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City in their opening game of the season. City ended last season on a high after winning the Premier League trophy on a dramatic final day, and with their recent additions, it is fair to say they will be up there once more.
The biggest concern for West Ham is the lack of a recognised left-back coming into this game, with Aaron Cresswell not a part of their squad in their final friendly of pre-season. Ben Johnson could be expected to fill in.
Michail Antonio was the other notable absence from their final pre-season fixture, so there is a doubt he will lead the line against the champions.
However, the new signing of Gianluca Scamacca could be the man featuring up top for the Hammers after signing a week ago.
A big, but good, selection issue for Pep Guardiola will be whether to start Phil Foden or Jack Grealish from the off on Sunday. Grealish started in the community shield, but Foden did impress off the bench.
West Ham: Areola, Coufal, Zouma, Dawson, Johnson, Soucek, Rice, Bowen, Fornals, Benrahma and Scamacca
Man City: Ederson, Walker, Dias, Ake, Cancelo, Rodri, De Bruyne, Silva, Mahrez, Grealish and Haaland
Ones to Watch
Scamacca signed for West Ham from Sassuolo for a fee of around £35.5 million in a deal that will certainly get fans excited. The 23-year-old managed a respectable 16 goals in 36 Serie A games last season - a feat that would have lured David Moyes’ into completing the signing.
As per Understat, Scamacca outperformed his xG by 4.87 last season, which is impressive, but he struggled to create for others with an xA of 2.16, which resulted in him striking out in terms of assists.
There are doubts over whether the Italian can adapt to the Premier League with Serie A considered a slower league in comparison to the top division in England. However, it is clear the striker has an eye for goal and is very capable of creating goalscoring opportunities for himself, something West Ham fans can feel optimistic about.
On the other side, Man City fans will be excited to see how their £85 million signing Erling Haaland fairs in his first match in the Premier League. After failing to score in his first match in a city shirt, the Norweigan will be eager to get off the mark on his debut in the league.
The undoubted quality of Haaland is common knowledge across Europe after his exploits in the Bundesliga for Borussia Dortmund and RB Salzburg, scoring plenty of goals wherever he has been. He managed 62 goals in 67 games in his time at Dortmund whilst producing 15 assists for his teammates. As per Understat, this was 12.48 more than his xG.
There is a lot to be excited about this signing, with many anticipating his eventual arrival in the Premier League. As with most signings, however, there are always doubts. In this instance, the doubts lie about whether the striker will fit into how Guardiola likes his teams to play.
A possession-based side certainly does not suit Haaland’s fast and explosive play style, which brings him plenty of goals. Although, it can be said the quality he brings in putting away chances will see him still bring goals to this city team, and with players like Kevin De Bruyne and Jack Grealish laying them on a plate for him, he will not be short of chances.
This fixture is never an easy ride for both sides in this fixture, so it is set to be an exciting contest on Sunday afternoon.
Where to watch
The opening fixture for both sides will be available to watch on Sky Sport's main event and Sky Sports Premier League as part of Super Sunday. Coverage will start from 4 pm on Sunday, August 7th, with a kick-off time of 4.30 pm.