Manchester City welcome David Moyes' West Ham United to the Etihad Stadium on Saturday morning, as their quest for a third Premier League title in four years continues.
The Hammers sit fourth in the league after enjoying a stellar season - winning 13 game and only losing six. To give you all the information on this weekends opponents, Rank and Report Football have you covered...
Opposition Report: West Ham United [PL]
LEAGUE POSITION: 4th
SEASON BREAKDOWN: 13W – 6D – 6L
MANAGER: David Moyes
STAR PLAYER: Tomas Soucek
One could make an excellent case for David Moyes being named manager of the season for 2020/21. If that is a stretch too far, it is not a stretch at all to say that West Ham United are, so far, the biggest over-achievers of the season.
With only 13 games remaining, the Hammers rightly sit in the Champions League places while the likes of Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham attempt to hunt them down.
Statistics show that West Ham have the lowest goals scored of any side in the top six, and the second most goals conceded. Their fourth place standing, therefore, is down to Moyes’ ability to eek every last drop out of his side – most of those 39 goals have had a crucial part to play in putting points on the board.
Throughout February, the Hammers have gone unbeaten in the league including impressive wins over Tottenham, Aston Villa and Sheffield United.
Have no doubts about it, David Moyes’ renaissance is at the heart of West Ham’s recent success. He has put together a team firmly in his own mould as he seeks to establish a reign as long and successful as his spell with Everton where they continually punched above their weight for over a decade.
West Ham will be a tricky obstacle as Manchester City seek to extend their incredible winning run to 20.
The West Ham Threat
The Moyes philosophy has always been about balancing physicality with creativity, with particular emphasis on the former.
Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek are big, physical destroyers to contend with in the middle of the park. Soucek has been employed as a 6’4” battering ram with fantastic results, racking up the kind and volume of goals reminiscent of Marouanne Fellaini at Everton.
Combined with a sizeable defence and a dead ball specialist in Aaron Cresswell, West Ham are a real danger from set-pieces. Manchester City have effectively become a team full of technicians, so the onus will be on the handful of scrappers still in the XI to keep the Hammers at bay.
Going forward, Michail Antonio is the epitome of a handful. He has mastered putting his 13-stone frame to good use, while the fact he still has the pace to show defenders a clean pair of heals highlights his fantastic athletic ability. From a Championship winger to a Premier League striker, Antonio’s six league goals in this injury-hit campaign make him one of Moyes’ star performers.
Behind him, Said Benrahma is a box of tricks while Jarrod Bowen has adapted well to life on the wing, but the real surprise package has been Jesse Lingard. The Manchester United loanee has hit the ground sprinting since his January move, scoring three in his first four games after not featuring in the league for United all season.
Lingard has proven to be a streaky player during his career, playing a pivotal role in taking England to the 2018 World Cup semi-final and showing brief flashes of brilliance for United, albeit surrounded by a whole lot of nothing.
Now, though, Lingard is bang in form with a point to prove. Overall, West Ham represent dangerous territory for Manchester City who have threats to contend with all over the pitch.
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