West Ham reward the players who came back from three down at Spurs by naming the same XI. There’s no Said Benrahma yet; he’s not fully fit. But Sebastien Haller is on the bench.
Manchester City are unchanged too. They pick the same XI that won 3-1 against Porto. There’s some big news on the bench, though, and it’s good: Kevin De Bruyne is back.
West Ham United: Fabianski, Coufal, Balbuena, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Masuaku, Bowen, Soucek, Rice, Fornals, Antonio.
Subs: Yarmolenko, Lanzini, Noble, Haller, Diop, Fredericks, Randolph.
Manchester City: Ederson, Walker, Dias, Garcia, Joao Cancelo, Bernardo Silva, Rodri, Gundogan, Mahrez, Aguero, Sterling.
Subs: Stones, Zinchenko, Steffen, De Bruyne, Torres, Foden, Palmer.
Referee: Anthony Taylor (Cheshire).
If recent history is any guide whatsoever, this is only going to end one way. Since drawing 2-2 with Manchester City in January 2016, West Ham United have met the Citizens on nine occasions. They’ve lost every game, a sorry sequence that has them on the wrong end of an aggregate 30-4 scoreline.
But losing runs are there to be snapped, and West Ham have reason to believe this could be their day. They’ve put in some impressive performances so far this season: a 3-0 win at Leicester, a 4-0 rout of Wolves, and that absurd three-goal comeback at Spurs last weekend. They’re as high on life as they’ve been for quite some time.
City by contrast haven’t been at their best so far this season. They’ve been routed by Leicester, held by Leeds, and weren’t particularly impressive in edging past Arsenal last weekend. They’ll also be missing their star man in Kevin De Bruyne and the influential Fernandinho. However, they moved smoothly through the gears in the second half against Porto the other night, suggesting the old confidence is flooding back. Momentum is building, a return to top form surely imminent. No better time to meet their bunnies again.
It’s perfectly balanced, in other words … and it’s on! Kick off is at 12.30pm.