Premier League Betting: West Ham v Man City - Fan v Fan Preview



West Ham perspective: Graeme Howlett, Knees Up Mother Brown.

Team news

Olympian James Tomkins - who scored a late consolation goal at Wigan last weekend - will be hoping to continue in the right-back spot in the absence of regular full back Guy Demel (hernia), although he faces stiff opposition from Joey O'Brien. Long-term absentees Jack Collison (knee) and Ricardo Vaz Te (dislocated shoulder) are likely to be joined on the sidelines by Matt Taylor, who is still absent with a calf problem.
 
Form

Sam Allardyce's side had been flying along until last weekend's extremely disappointing 2-1 reversal at Wigan - the worst possible way to approach a string of tough-looking fixtures. However, those important early season wins against the likes of Aston Villa, Queens Park Rangers and Southampton have given us a cushion as we approach those games, which begin with the visit of the reigning champions tomorrow.

Head-to-head

You have to go back to March 2009 for the last United victory against City; a 1-0 win at the Boleyn Ground courtesy of a second-half Jack Collison strike. Since then, the two sides have met four times with the Mancunians triumphing on three occasions - the other meeting, back in May 2010, ending in a 1-1 draw. Former Hammer Carlos Tevez, who cited Upton Park as his spiritual birthplace earlier this week, is guaranteed to receive a good reception on Saturday, despite having failed to score in his first 19 games as a Hammer and having eventually cost the club in the region of £35million...
 
Best bets

Both teams to score at 1.60. The quality of Man City's strike force mean they are always likely to score, and I think we'll do likewise.

The draw at 3.90. With West Ham always able to up their game against top opposition I'd never bet against the Irons getting something out of a game like this.

Man City/Draw HT/FT. West Ham hit four goals in the second half against Southampton in their last outing at the Boleyn Ground so it may be worth backing a second-half fightback.
 
Score prediction: West Ham 2-2 Man City (14.00)
 
Predicted side

Man City perspective: Ric Turner, BlueMoon.

Team news

Micah Richards will be absent for up to four months following the knee injury he sustained last weekend, joining the likes of Maicon, Jack Rodwell and David Silva in the treatment room. On a more positive note, Javi Garcia and Pablo Zabaleta are close to regaining fitness, and James Milner is available once more following suspension.

Form

City continued their unbeaten start to the season with a 1-0 victory over Swansea last weekend. Again, the performance was unconvincing but it was a fourth straight win for Mancini’s side. Perhaps the media talk of a “crisis” at City was a touch premature. Tougher challenges lie ahead, however, and the trip to Upton Park won’t be easy.

Head-to-head

Our overall record against West Ham is fairly even, with City having won 42 games compared to West Ham’s 35. During the Premiership era our record at Upton Park is fairly poor, although our last visit there in 2010 saw us emerge with a well-deserved 3-1 victory.

Best bets

The draw at 3.90. City occasionally struggle against big, physical sides, particularly away from home, and this represents good value.

Both teams to score at 1.60. I expect our attack to trouble the West Ham defence, and vice versa.

Yaya Toure to score first. With James Milner returning to the side, expect Yaya Toure to start in a more advanced role - and to profit.

Score prediction: West Ham 1-1 Man City (7.75)

Predicted side