Three Key Battles - Manchester City

West Ham United will look to continue their excellent form and make it three wins in three matches when Manchester City travel to the capital on Wednesday evening.

It’s worth remembering, however, the last club to beat the Hammers were of course the east Londoners’ next opponents, who bagged an FA Cup win at London Stadium at the start of the month.

Slaven Bilic has already noted work has been done on the training ground to ensure his side’s shape and decision making will have improved from the teams’ last meeting, but the two-time Premier League winners of course represent an outfit who can cause West Ham problems.

We’ve taken a look at three key battles on the pitch at London Stadium which, depending on who comes out on top, could swing the balance in the Premier League clash.


Cress v Clichy

Starting at the back, Aaron Cresswell and Gael Clichy are likely to be the two sides’ left-backs on the night.

Clichy grabbed a vital goal recently for City in the side’s 2-1 victory over Burnley, though he hasn’t set one up as England full-back Cresswell has; back in October’s away win at Selhurst Park.

The statistics suggest that Cresswell has more impact going forward than his French counterpart; the 27-year-old delivers more crosses per game and also has a pop at goal more frequently.

He’ll certainly be hoping that one of those attempts on goal can pay dividends like it did on a number of occasions last season, notably at both Villa Park and the King Power Stadium.


Obiang v Toure

Moving into midfield, Pedro Obiang and Yaya Toure are almost certain starters for the respective clubs these days, with the latter coming in from the cold after that early season falling out with manager Pep Guardiola.

As is the case with most of the visitors’ squad, Toure has made far more passes than the West Ham midfielder, which is almost a given with the style of football Guardiola’s outfit like to play.

However it’s clear how great an influence Obiang has had since he was promoted to the starting XI early in the season. He breaks up play fantastically and puts his body on the line for the Hammers, represented by his interception and blocking stats above.

The Spaniard will be, like Cresswell, hoping to grab his first goal of the season sooner rather than later.


Antonio v Navas

Finally, we look at the influence of Michail Antonio for West Ham this season while Jesus Navas often plays a similar position for Manchester City.

The Spaniard has admittedly only started six times in the Premier League for Wednesday’s visitors this season, however he has come on from the bench a further eight times and remains a key member of Guardiola’s squad.

Similarly, Antonio is at the heart of West Ham’s team; he scores and makes goals and that’s proven by his goals and assists stats for this campaign.

It’s not only that he offers, however; Antonio is prepared to take people on, make things happen and risk getting it wrong. That’s needed in any team and the winger always causes problems for any opposition, no matter who they are.