West Ham United-Manchester City Preview
David Moyes believes Pep Guardiola is the only candidate to be named the manager of the season after guiding Manchester City back to the top of the Premier League.
City, on a 19-match winning run in all competitions, host Moyes' high-flying West Ham on Saturday in the first game of the Premier League weekend.
Guardiola has built another outstanding City side, but Moyes might also be considered among the league's best bosses as West Ham sit fourth.
"There is only one candidate and that is Pep," Moyes said. "This is the best chance Manchester City have had of winning the Champions League and everybody is sure Man City are going to win the league. They are in one cup final and in with a chance of another. You would have to be football-stupid not to recognise their quality."
Guardiola raised eyebrows in midweek when he acknowledged this quality was due to vast expenditure.
Speaking ahead of the West Ham game, the City manager insisted he was not being sarcastic, even if there is more to the team's success.
"We have this (spending) history behind us," Guardiola said. "It will always be with us. Not just one journalist, many. 'The only reason why we win is the money.' We accept that. Other clubs have a higher budget than us but we have to live with this.
"We have an incredibly strong organisation, backroom staff, work ethic in all departments is incredible - as it was at Barcelona and Bayern. It is not just me talking about myself. All the departments in the club are a machine. The last four seasons, we've won a lot of titles, you have to have top players. It is impossible to do it and sustain it.
"Top players cost, but when people say the only reason why you win is money, you accept and try to do better. It comes for us."
Manchester City – Raheem Sterling
Sterling has been in involved in 14 goals (eight goals, six assists) against West Ham in the Premier League, the most he has against any opponent in the competition. But home goals are relatively rare for the forward now. He scored 34 of his 48 City league goals at the Etihad Stadium over his first four seasons with the club yet just nine of 29 at home since then.
West Ham – Jesse Lingard
Manchester United loanee Lingard has been in outstanding form for West Ham, already scoring three times in four league appearances - as many as in his past 36 games for the Old Trafford outfit. But he has never scored or assisted a goal against City in the league, failing to do so in nine meetings, his worst such record.
- City are unbeaten in their past 10 Premier League meetings with West Ham (W8 D2) since a 2-1 home loss in September 2015.
- Since losing 5-2 against Leicester City in September, City have conceded just three goals in 15 home games in all competitions (W13 D2). They have won their past six Premier League home games without conceding, with Chelsea the last team to have a longer such run in the competition (nine between April 2010 and November 2010).
- Only City (33) have won more Premier League points so far in 2021 than West Ham (22). The Hammers have won seven of their nine league games in this calendar year; they did not reach their seventh win until their 23rd match in 2020.
- West Ham have won just two of their 23 Premier League away games against the league leaders (D3 L18), although both of those victories came in Manchester (against United in May 2007 and City in September 2015).
- City are looking to record the sixth run of 14 consecutive victories in the history of England's top flight. This had happened just once across the first 118 seasons of top-flight football (by Arsenal in 2002), with the past four such runs occurring over the past four campaigns (twice Liverpool, twice City).
Updated February 26, 2021