Manchester City are looking to maintain their perfect start to the Premier League season, but they should face a stern test against unbeaten West Ham. We look ahead to Saturday’s fixture at the London Stadium with our West Ham vs Manchester City prediction and preview.
West Ham vs Manchester City: The Quick Hits
- The Opta supercomputer predicts Manchester City will make it five wins from five Premier League games, assigning them a 59.5% chance of victory over West Ham.
- West Ham have failed to win any of their last 15 Premier League games against Man City. Only against Manchester United (16 between 1993 and 2001) have they endured a longer winless run in the competition.
- Erling Haaland’s record over the first four games of the Premier League season mirrors that from his first four outings of 2022-23. He scored a hat-trick on Matchday 5 last term.
Manchester City have started their latest Premier League title defence ominously, setting the pace at the top of the league table with four consecutive wins. However, if anyone can stop Pep Guardiola’s winning machine, it might just be in-form West Ham.
David Moyes’ Hammers are flying high in fourth with 10 points from four games, matching their best-ever start to a Premier League campaign (in 1999-00) with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Luton Town prior to the international break, with Jarrod Bowen and Kurt Zouma on the scoresheet.
West Ham’s start is made all the more impressive by the identities of their opponents, upsetting Chelsea and Brighton and Hove Albion before their win at Kenilworth Road. They could win four successive Premier League games for the first time since November 2021 on Saturday, when they will hope to triumph in a stark clash of styles.
While only Chelsea (70.8%) have averaged a greater possession share than Man City’s 67.5% in the Premier League this season, only Nottingham Forest (32.0%) and Luton (33.8%) have seen less of the ball than West Ham (36.2%). The Hammers have moved the ball forwards at a speed of 2.29 metres per second in 2023-24, making them the most unashamedly direct side in the top flight. City sit at the other end of that table, attacking with a direct speed of just 1.11 metres per second.
The power of Michail Antonio and the set-piece prowess of James Ward-Prowse have been key to West Ham’s approach, with the latter recording his third assist of the season – a Premier League joint-high – from a corner at Luton for Zouma’s goal.
Ward-Prowse has ably filled the Declan Rice-shaped hole in West Ham’s midfield, either scoring or assisting in five successive Premier League games (two goals, four assists) for the second time, having also done so between December 2021 and January 2022 for Southampton. He has never been directly involved in a goal in six consecutive Premier League matches.
Fellow new recruit Edson Álvarez could partner Ward-Prowse in midfield again, though Tomáš Souček is in contention after missing West Ham’s last match with a concussion. Injuries have delayed Konstantinos Mavropanos’ debut, but he is available after scoring twice for Greece during the international break.
Man City are the only Premier League team with a perfect record after Erling Haaland’s hat-trick – as well as goals from Julián Álvarez and Nathan Aké – helped them beat Fulham in a 5-1 win at the Etihad Stadium a fortnight ago.
That result made City the 26th team to start a Premier League season with four consecutive victories, but that may not be a good omen as just eight of the previous 25 went on to be champions. Only one of City’s seven Premier League titles have arrived in a campaign in which they started with four wins (2011-12).
However, none of that will concern Guardiola, who will be back in the dugout after missing two games to recover from back surgery. He is unbeaten in his 14 Premier League games against West Ham, winning 12 and drawing two. Sir Alex Ferguson is the only manager to face a single club more often without losing in the competition’s history (16 against Charlton Athletic).
With Kevin De Bruyne and Jack Grealish sidelined, and Mateo Kovačić missing both of Croatia’s fixtures during the international break, Guardiola may lean on Phil Foden’s creativity. Only Brighton duo Kaoru Mitoma (14) and Pervis Estupiñán (12) have bettered Foden’s 11 chances created from open play in the Premier League this season.
John Stones – who hasn’t played since August’s FA Community Shield defeat to Arsenal due to a hip injury – remains absent, but deadline-day acquisition Matheus Nunes could make his City debut after joining from Wolves.
As ever, Haaland will provide City’s chief goal threat. His record across the first four matchdays of 2023-24 mirrors his return from last season, when he scored twice on Matchday 1, failed to net on Matchday 2, scored once on Matchday 3 and hit a hat-trick in City’s fourth game. West Ham fans might want to look away – Haaland hit a first-half treble against Forest on Matchday 5 last term.
West Ham vs Manchester City Head-to-Head
West Ham are winless in their last 15 Premier League games against Man City (three draws, 12 defeats), last beating them at the Etihad in September 2015 (2-1). Only once have the Hammers endured a longer winless run against a specific team in the Premier League, going 16 without victory against Manchester United between 1993 and 2001.
The omens aren’t great for Moyes on a personal level, either. Having picked up 40 points from 22 Premier League games against City while in charge of Everton (12 wins, four draws, six defeats), he has earned just two points from 13 combined matches against them with Manchester United, Sunderland and West Ham.
The London side have beaten the reigning Premier League champions five times in total, with the last four instances coming at home – two against Chelsea, one apiece against City and United. However, they have lost nine of their last 10 meetings with the title holders, drawing once.
Man City enjoyed a memorable success when they visited the London Stadium on the opening weekend of last season, Haaland marking his Premier League debut with a brace in a 2-0 win.
Haaland then broke the record for most goals in a single Premier League season when City last met West Ham in May, with a 3-0 triumph at the Etihad helping City inch towards the title.
West Ham have only lost one of their last six Premier League games in a run stretching back to May, winning four times during that span.
At home, the Hammers have won three league matches on the spin, overcoming Manchester United and Leeds United in May before downing London rivals Chelsea last month.
Man City, however, have won 16 of their last 18 Premier League matches (one draw, one defeat), and they will relish the challenge of facing their in-form hosts.
Guardiola’s side have only lost one of their last 11 Premier League games against teams starting the day inside the top four when at least five matches into a season (eight wins, two draws), with Man Utd inflicting that defeat in January.
Opta Power Rankings
The Opta Power Rankings are a global team ranking system that assigns an ability score to over 13,000 domestic football teams on a scale between zero and 100, where zero is the worst-ranked team in the world and 100 is the best team in the world.
Ahead of kick-off this weekend, here is the Opta Power Ranking for both sides.
West Ham vs Manchester City Prediction
Despite West Ham’s promising start, the Opta supercomputer is backing Manchester City to stay perfect on Saturday, giving the champions a 59.5% chance of making it a fifth win in five games to start the 2023-24 Premier League campaign.
West Ham are assigned a 16.6% chance of the win, with the likelihood of a draw rated at 23.9%.
The Opta supercomputer considers Man City overwhelming favourites to retain their title, with Guardiola’s men emerging victorious in 90.9% of 10,000 season simulations conducted ahead of kick-off. West Ham are given a 15.7% chance of a surprise top-four finish, which would bring UEFA Champions League qualification.