Manchester City vs West HamEnglish Premier League, KO: 19:30 Feb 19, 2020, Etihad Stadium
MANCHESTER CITY will be relieved to get back on a pitch again after the storm that erupted over their controversial Champions League ban.
And after drawing blanks in their last two matches, I fancy City to take their frustration out on a West Ham side that's hurtling towards relegation.
Despite having over 30 pops at goal across those matches with Manchester United and Tottenham, Pep Guardiola's men failed to get on the scoresheet as they crashed to successive defeats.
That loss in London was City's sixth of the Premier League season, leaving them 25 points adrift of leaders Liverpool.
There has been talk of unrest behind the scenes, with players reportedly unhappy with Guardiola's tinkering, and the future of several stars and the manager himself is up in the air following UEFA's heavy punishment for breaches of financial fair play rules.
But City still have a squad blessed with talent and I've a feeling they will get back on track by scoring a few goals against a West Ham side whose defensive deficiencies were exposed once more in their 3-3 draw with Brighton.
Having led 3-1, David Moyes' men should have shut up shop to claim three precious points in their survival scrap. Instead, they threw two away with some comical defending and now sit in the drop zone.
Manchester City have beaten the Hammers in their last eight games so it's hard to see the strugglers springing a shock.
How the bookies view it
It's no surprise to see West Ham as outsiders but I didn't expect them to be as big as 22/1 with BetVictor while even the draw is 8/1 with most firms. City are a best 1/7 at Unibet but backing them to win both halves increases the odds to 10/11 with 888Sport.
Recent head to head
West Ham can take some comfort from the fact this game is at the Etihad and not in London. They have lost at least four goals in their last five home games against City but have fared better on their travels.
It ended just 1-0 when the Hammers came here a year ago, with Sergio Aguero netting a penalty, and West Ham's last win in this fixture came at the Etihad, a 2-1 triumph in 2015 (below).
Players to watch
Guardiola is copping stick for being a tinker man but the one name that's always on his team sheet is Kevin De Bruyne.
The brilliant Belgian is decent value at 13/8 with 888Sport for anytime scorer and also appeals for an assist, although that market hasn't been priced up yet.
I'd be surprised if West Ham scored but they could be a threat from set-pieces. Stopper Issa Diop has two goals from his last five games and is a good long-odds option at 20/1 with Betfred for a goal.
Anything else catch the eye?
I'd expect Moyes to park the bus and attempt to frustrate City so see if you can get a bet on Guardiola's side having over 65 per cent possession. You can usually get possession bets with 888Sport on the day of the game.
West Ham's defenders look good candidates to be carded as they will face attack after attack. Diop is 2/1 with Unibet for his ninth card this term while Angleo Ogbonna is better value at 9/2 with the same firm.
I tipped over 2.5 City goals when they took on West Ham in London earlier in the season and it came up at 10/11. The odds are shorter here at 19/40 with Betway so try for over 3.5 strikes for the champions at 5/4 with Unibet.
This English Premier League match between Manchester City and West Ham will be played on Feb 19, 2020 and kick off at 19:30