Why West Ham’s competition exits will benefit them this season.
With David Moyes West Ham team being on such a fantastic run to start the New Year, winning 7 of the nine league game and are set to go against one of the best teams in the world on Saturday, looking to continue their winning streak of 19 in all competitions.
West Ham would surely have to be looking at the opportunity to win with Manchester City only playing 60 hours earlier in Budapest against Borussia Monchengladbach. It's almost perfect for West Ham who has had six days to recuperate ahead of the early game and should look to target the fitness of the Cityzen's.
So far, the Cityzen's have been ruthless this season with a 100% win record and have only conceded eight goals in their last 32 games since these two teams met in October. Man City have proved their excellence across Europe as Guardiola looks for his 3 Premier League trophy in 4 years.
The Hammers will be looking to win their first game against Man City for the first time since 2015, winning the game 2-1, with West Ham finishing 7th that season. Moyes will be looking at their previous meeting at the London Stadium where they drew 1-1 with a Michail Antonio goal opening the scoring and Phil Foden getting the only goal for City despite having 14 shots.
This West Ham side has come a long way since the previous meeting, with Jesse Lingard, who since arriving has added to the momentum of the West Ham team and looking ever so hungry now for a European place. But they have to be worried about their record against the top 6 beating Leicester 3-0 at the beginning of the season.
Why has West Ham benefited from the lack of competition this season?
With West Ham eliminated from both the Carabao Cup with a loss to Everton 4-2 and a recent loss to Manchester United in the FA Cup 1-0, they are now the only top 7 teams this season not in a competition. The run of success could be helped through their fitness especially in the tight schedule this season.
The run of competitions alongside the congested fixture list has been damaging to teams who have sat at the top of the table proving that it has taken a toll on the players with the high demands.
This already has been proved by Southampton who typically a high press style under Hasenhüttl are being weakened by the schedule and have had a dramatic fall from 1st to now 14th only 8 points of the relegation places and losing an embarrassing 9-0 to Manchester United.
Another team hit by the injury crisis is now Liverpool, who has been the most vocal of their injuries losing all three main centre backs and now Jordan Henderson due to a groin injury that could see him out for up to 12 weeks.
Tottenham another team that has had such a dramatic fall from the praise they had at the beginning of the season coming off the back of winning 6-1 at Old Trafford. The Mourinho team have fallen to 9th and are unable to maintain the intensity that they showed previously rushing Harry Kane back from injury, the Spurs side have become too dependent on the pairing of Son and Kane to heavily.
For West Ham, the number of games and low-intensity playing style has gone hand in hand with the midfield partnership of Soucek and Rice proving Moyes awaits the opposition’s mistakes.
According to the Michael Cox Athletic article, the two West Ham midfielders proving that their amount of rest is paying off, Soucek leads the league in winning 45 aerial duels and Rice leads the numbers for interceptions with 49. The pairing has been irreplaceable and proving it by playing all 25 games this season together and completing the 120 minutes in the FA Cup against Manchester United. The pairing proves to have had a positive impact on the lack of Europe has had on the pair and something Moyes would have to consider if they were to qualify.
Prediction for Man City vs West Ham – 12:30 pm – Man City 2 -1 West Ham
West Ham are in good form with seven wins from 9 games I can’t see the Hammers not scoring as they have been brilliant in front of the goal. Despite this, Manchester City has the largest squad and is on a fantastic run of 19 wins in a row, and I wouldn’t put it past them to secure their 20th this weekend despite the tight congestion of fixtures.