West Ham United continue their 2020/21 Premier League campaign with trip to leaders Manchester City on Saturday 27 February at 12.30pm.
The Hammers visit Etihad Stadium seeking to consolidate their place in the top four, having won seven of their previous nine top-flight matches and collected 45 points from 25 matches overall. That record has David Moyes' men fourth in the table, two points ahead of Chelsea in fifth, with 13 games to play.
City, meanwhile, have won 12 Premier League games in a row - and 19 in a row in all competitions - to go top of the table. Pep Guardiola's side kick-off ten points clear of second-place Manchester City and third-place Leicester City.
The reverse fixture at London Stadium back on 24 October ended in a 1-1 draw, with Michail Antonio putting the Hammers into an 18th-minute lead, before Phil Foden equalised six minutes into the second half.
With England now back under a national lockdown due to the ongoing pandemic, this means the game will be played without supporters present. However, the match will be shown live in the UK by BT Sport 1 and BT Sport Ultimate, meaning our fans will be able to follow the action, safely, from home.
West Ham United manager David Moyes will definitely be without Angelo Ogbonna (high ankle sprain) and long-term absentee Arthur Masuaku (knee).
It is not known if Andriy Yarmolenko will be fit to return from a knee injury suffered in the FA Cup fifth-round defeat at Manchester United earlier this month.
Pep Guardiola has just one injury concern, with Netherlands defender Nathan Ake not expected to be available.
The opposition – Manchester City
After drawing 1-1 at home to West Bromwich Albion on 15 December, Manchester City were ninth in the Premier League table after 13 rounds of fixtures.
Two-and-a-half months later, City are ten points clear at the top and go into Saturday's game on a 19-match unbeaten run in all competitoins.
City are also through to the EFL Cup final and FA Cup sixth round and have one foot in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals after a 2-0 round of 16 first leg win at Borussia Moenchengladbach in midweek.
And when it looked like City might struggle to mount a sustained title challenge in December, Pep Guardiola's men are now being seriously tipped for an unprecedented quadruple.
With striker Sergio Aguero being sidelined by injury and COVID-19 this season, City's success has been built on a phenomenal team effort, led by England's Raheem Sterling, Phil Foden and a resurgent John Stones, Germany midfielder Ilkay Gundogan, Belgium playmaker Kevin De Bruyne and impressive Portugal defender Rúben Dias, among others.
City have rediscovered the relentless style of play that won them back-to-back Premier League titles in 2017/18 and 2018/19, and they now look unstoppable as they seek a fifth title in the last eleven seasons.
However, while domestic glory is always welcome, Guardiola and the club's owners will be desperate to lift the Champions League trophy for the first time in City's 141-year history.
How will they play?
According to WhoScored.com, Manchester City have 'no significant weaknesses'.
When it comes to strengths, City keep the ball better (61.1% possession), create chances more regularly (15.4 goal attempts per game) and concede fewer goals (15) than any other team in the Premier League this season.
As they have done for the vast majority of Pep Guardiola's reign, City rely on a short passing (91% of passes are less than 20 metres in length) and high pressing (33% of the game is played in the opposition's final third) game.
Those numbers have, so far this season at least, been a recipe for success.
West Ham United and Manchester City will meet in the Premier League for the 40th time.
City have had the best of things down the years, winning 23 of the previous 39 meetings between the two, while West Ham have won just nine, with seven draws.
The most recent, as mentioned, ended in a 1-1 draw at London Stadium back in October, when Michail Antonio scored a superb overhead kick from Vladimir Coufal's cross before Phil Foden equalised from close range.
West Ham have lost on their four most recent visits to Etihad Stadium, with their last and only Premier League victory at City's new ground coming in the shape of a 2-1 win on 19 September 2015, when Victor Moses and Diafra Sakho got the goals.
The Hammers also tasted victory at the Etihad in March 2006, when Dean Ashton scored both goals in a 2-1 FA Cup sixth round success.
However, West Ham manager David Moyes will not be intimidated by facing City as he has a decent career record against them, with 13 wins, five draws and 14 defeats.
By the numbers
10 Geoff Hurst scored ten goals in 16 career appearances for West Ham United against Manchester City. The England striker netted his first in a 6-1 First Division win at Maine Road in September 1962, before grabbing two as the Hammers won by the same scoreline in the reverse fixture at the Boleyn Ground in May 1963. Hurst bagged another brace in a 4-1 win at Maine Road in September 1966, and another in a 2-1 victory over the Citizens at the Boleyn in November 1968. Hurst marked Jimmy Greaves’ debut with two goals in a 5-1 victory at Maine Road in March 1970, before signing off his West Ham career with his 249th and last goal for the Club in a 3-1 defeat in Manchester in April 1972.
6-1 West Ham United’s biggest home and away top-flight wins over Manchester City both occurred in the same season, 1962/63. Malcolm Musgrove (two), Martin Peters, Johnny Byrne, Geoff Hurst and Tony Scott were on target in a 6-1 victory at Maine Road on 8 September 1962. Hurst and Alan Sealey both scored twice, alongside strikes from Peter Brabrook and Ronnie Boyce, then completed a victory by the same scoreline in May 1963. Manchester City ended a forgettable season by being relegated from the First Division.
3 Three former West Ham United players have managed Manchester City. The first was Malcolm Allison, who played 265 games in Claret and Blue between 1951-57, while also being a formative figure at the Academy of Football during the same decade, mentoring a young Bobby Moore. He joined Manchester City as assistant to Joe Mercer in 1965 and helped the club win the Second and First Division titles, FA Cup, League Cup and European Cup Winners’ Cup, before succeeding Mercer in 1972. He returned for a short second spell in 1979. Allison’s long-time teammate John Bond won the FA Cup with the Irons in 1964 and made 449 appearances between 1952-65, before going on to manage Manchester City between 1980-83, leading the Citizens to the 1981 FA Cup final, which they lost to Tottenham Hotspur in a replay. And finally, current West Ham first-team coach and 2001 Hammer of the Year Stuart Pearce managed City for almost two full seasons between 2005-07.
4 No fewer than four members of the current West Ham United squad made their Irons debuts against Manchester City. Michail Antonio was introduced as a substitute for Victor Moses during the 2-1 Premier League win at Etihad Stadium on 19 September 2015. Ben Johnson was next, making his debut in a 1-0 Premier League defeat in Manchester on 27 February 2019. He was followed by Pablo Fornals, who appeared in the 5-0 home defeat by Pep Guardiola’s side at London Stadium on 10 August 2019, replacing Antonio. And finally, Jarrod Bowen was introduced as a late substitute for Robert Snodgrass in the 2-0 defeat at Etihad Stadium on 19 February 2020.
Referee: Michael Oliver
Assistant Referees: Stuart Burt and Simon Bennett
Fourth Official: Paul Tierney
VAR: Andre Marriner
Assistant VAR: Edward Smart
Born in Ashington, Northumberland in February 1985, Michael Oliver has been a member of the Select Group of Referees since August 2010, when he was just 25.
Oliver started refereeing in the Northern Premier League from 2003 to 2005 before quickly working his way up through the National League and EFL to reach the Premier League in January 2010.
The 36-year-old refereed the 2007 Conference National and 2009 League One Play-Off finals and controlled the 2016 EFL Cup final and 2018 FA Cup final – all at Wembley Stadium.
Oliver was appointed to the FIFA List in 2012 and has since refereed competitive and friendly international, UEFA Champions League and Europa League fixtures.
He has refereed West Ham United on 27 occasions, most recently in the 2-1 Premier League win at Leeds United on 11 December 2020.