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Jul 17, 2019 at 1.30pm UK
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Preview: Manchester City vs. West Ham United - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Manchester City vs. West Ham United - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews the pre-season clash between Manchester City and West Ham United, including team news and predicted lineups.

Manchester City will kick off their preparations for the 2019-20 campaign with a clash against fellow English side West Ham United in the Premier League Asia Trophy on Wednesday.

West Ham opened their pre-season with a 3-2 win against Rheindorf Altach on Thursday. However, Wednesday's clash will represent City's first fixture since the FA Cup final almost two months ago.

Manchester City

City's preparations for Wednesday's match have been far from ideal, considering that the Premier League champions saw their plane grounded for two consecutive days as they attempted to fly to China.

Their game against West Ham was seen as a huge doubt after an administrative error meant that Pep Guardiola's side were unable to enter Chinese airspace. The domestic-treble winners eventually took off on Monday morning, but having initially been expected to arrive in Shanghai on Sunday, will now have little over 24 hours to prepare for the clash with West Ham.

The Citizens will face the Hammers in the semi-finals of the Premier League Asia Cup before taking on either Wolverhampton Wanderers or Newcastle United in the final or indeed third-placed playoff at the weekend.

Guardiola's team will then face Kitchee and Yokohama F Marinos in their final two pre-season matches ahead of their clash with Liverpool in the Community Shield on August 4. One week later, the reigning champions will open their title defence with a trip to West Ham.

It does seem to be an incredibly quick turnaround ahead of the new campaign, but despite City landing a domestic treble last season, it is almost two months since the FA Cup final and a number of players have been able to rest this summer, with the exception of those on international duty.

Guardiola has taken a 27-man squad to China, but Sergio Aguero and Nicolas Otamendi are both missing following their exertions for Argentina at the 2019 Copa America. Brazil trio Gabriel Jesus, Fernandinho and Ederson are missing for the same reason, while Riyad Mahrez has been in action for Algeria at the Africa Cup of Nations.

Elsewhere, Benjamin Mendy misses out through injury, while Fabian Delph has been left out as the former Leeds United youngster nears a move away from the club. Eliaquim Mangala is also absent as the speculation surrounding the centre-back's future gathers pace. Phil Foden, meanwhile, will not meet up with the squad until later this month having been in action for England's Under-21s at the Under-21 European Championships.

New signing Rodri has made the trip, though, and the City fans will be desperate to catch a glimpse of the big-money arrival from Atletico Madrid as Guardiola's side build towards the start of another new season.

Recent form: WWWWWW

West Ham

Unlike City, West Ham's preparations for this match have been fairly calm when considering that they arrived in the Chinese city of Nanjing on Sunday ahead of their clash with the Premier League champions.

Head coach Manuel Pellegrini has named a strong 23-man squad for this summer's Premier League Asia Trophy, with new signings Roberto and David Martin included by the Argentine.

Declan Rice and Mark Noble have also been selected in the travelling party, but Pablo Fornals, Fabian Balbuena and Arthur Masuaku have been left out due to their international commitments this summer. Jordan Hugill and Reece Oxford are also amongst those to have been omitted from the squad.

West Ham are slightly ahead of City when it comes to their preparations for the new campaign having recorded a 3-2 win over Rheindorf Altach last week at the end of their training camp in Switzerland.

The club's desperate need for a new striker is shown by their bottom-heavy squad which includes just one recognised striker - Javier Hernandez. The Mexican was strongly linked with a move away from the Hammers last season, but it now appears that he will be staying at the London Stadium this summer.

Elsewhere things are looking positive, though, with Andriy Yarmolenko now back from an Achilles injury and Jack Wilshere also making a number of strong steps in the right direction.

Having finished last season in 10th spot in the Premier League table, there is a feeling that the addition of a top-quality centre-forward could see Pellegrini's side break into the top half in the coming season. That said, for all of his baggage, Marko Arnautovic's goals will be missed at the London Stadium.

It is difficult to read too much into pre-season results, but a strong performance at the Premier League Asia Trophy would lead Pellegrini's team nicely into their final three friendly games against Fulham, Hertha Berlin and Athletic Bilbao ahead of their league opener against City on August 10.

Recent form: LDWWWW

Team News

As mentioned above, City do have some key players missing for the clash with West Ham, but Guardiola has still been able to select an incredibly strong squad with plenty of experience.

There is every chance that Rodri could be handed his debut from the start, while Claudio Bravo will be looking to make the most of Ederson's absence to impress between the sticks.

John Stones also has the chance to potentially nail down a starting spot in central defence following Vincent Kompany's departure, while the absence of Aguero could see Raheem Sterling play through the middle.

Pre-season will give Guardiola the chance to try new things, but it is difficult to imagine that the Spaniard will move too far away from the formation and style that has brought the team so much success.

As for West Ham, it seems likely that Hernandez will lead the line in a 4-5-1 formation, with Wilshere, Felipe Anderson and Michail Antonio all expected to be handed starting roles.

Central defender Winston Reid could also be in line for some minutes having recovered from the knee injury that forced him to miss the entirety of the 2018-19 campaign.

Meanwhile, youngsters Grady Diangana Ben Johnson will be hoping to be given opportunities to impress for the capital outfit ahead of the new season.

Man City possible starting lineup:
Bravo; Walker, Stones, Laporte, Zinchenko; Gundogan, Rodri, De Bruyne; Bernardo, Sterling, Sane

West Ham possible starting lineup:
Fabianski; Fredericks, Diop, Reid, Cresswell; Noble; Antonio, Rice, Wilshere, Anderson; Hernandez

Head To Head

These two teams have locked horns on 109 occasions in all competitions and City lead the head-to-head 55 wins to West Ham's 37, with the remaining 17 games finishing level.

City have actually won each of the last seven clashes between the pair in all competitions, including 4-0 and 1-0 victories during the 2018-19 Premier League campaign.

The last time that the Hammers overcame the Citizens was in September 2015, when goals from Victor Moses and Diafra Sakho handed them a 2-1 victory at the Etihad Stadium.

We say: Manchester City 2-0 West Ham

West Ham are slightly ahead of City in their preparations for the new campaign and the delay in Guardiola's side arriving in Shanghai is far from ideal. That said, the Premier League champions have so much quality that it is difficult to back against them starting their pre-season with a win.

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