The EFL Cup returns in midweek and there are three exciting matches on the programme. One of the standout games comes from London, where Premier League rivals West Ham United take on Manchester City at the London Stadium in Stratford.
This game is set for a 19:45 kickoff and will be played out in front of a capacity crowd at the former Olympic Stadium in East London, as well as a live TV audience in the millions. Followers can look forward to an exciting match with neutrals hoping to see plenty of goals.
The Hammers and Cityzens are both involved in the race to win the Premier League title. Still, they must put their pursuit of points to one side for the evening and concentrate on winning this match and securing a place in the next round of the English League Cup.
Both sides are capable of winning this trophy. They will be eager to show it, sending out a message of intent to the rest of the competition by beating a Premier League opponent convincingly.
West Ham and City last met in Stratford back in October 2020 when playing out at tense 1-1 finish in the Premier League, sharing the points. Man City won the game at the Etihad Stadium 2-1 earlier this year, but that was another tense 90 minutes that hung in the balance for large periods of play. Another exciting and tense evening awaits, but which side will hold their nerve and break through to the next round of the competition?
West Ham aiming to do the double
The home team enter this match with confidence and are aiming to complete the Manchester double, having eliminated Manchester United in the previous round. They did that at Old Trafford, winning 1-0 against all the odds to keep alive their cup dreams.
The winning goal that day was scored by Lanzini on nine minutes, silencing the bulk of those packed into the Theatre of Dreams. Man Utd created plenty of chances to draw level in that match and make things interesting but lacked the composure in the final third to find the net and make things interesting.
David Moyes’ men are now in the last 16 and will believe they are good enough to go all the way. They face a huge obstacle here in the form of Manchester City but know this is cup football, and anything can happen.
At home and with the team and fans full of belief, there’s no reason why Man City can’t win this game in regulation time and march into the next round of the cup, securing a return to Wembley Stadium across the city next time out. To achieve that, the locals must be strong in defence against the might of the Man City attack and must take any chances that come their way.
We last saw the Hammers in action at the weekend when collecting three Premier League points to move into the top four of the division, occupying one of the Champions League qualification places. That victory came in a London Derby when beating Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 at this venue on Sunday.
Antonio scored the winning goal that day with 72 minutes on the clock, and it was difficult to grudge West Ham that victory as they rode their luck at times but never stopped working, believing they could win the match.
Man City glide into the last 16
A much-changed Manchester City last appeared in this competition at the Etihad Stadium in September when making light work of lower league opposition Wycome Wanderers. It was a match the Premier League champions were expected to win at a canter, and they set about doing just that early on.
Man City hammered Wycombe 6-1 that day but were forced to battle back from a goal down with Hanlan scoring to put Wycombe ahead on 22 minutes. Mahrez scored a double in that match with the other strikes credited to De Bruyne, Foden, Torres and Palmer.
This is a competition Man City are good enough to win but know they face a much tougher opponent in this round than they did last time out. Going to the London Stadium with the home crowd in high spirits is never welcomed by any team, and Man City are no different.
It’s unlikely they will replicate the win over Wycombe and put six past West Ham, but Pep Guardiola, his players and the fans will expect to win this match and book a place amongst the last eight teams in the tournament, ensuring a return to Wembley.
Manchester City were last seen in action claiming their sixth Premier League win in nine games at the weekend when beating Brighton 4-1 away from home on Saturday. The Seagulls are an opponent Man City were expected to beat.
The victors lived up to expectations without much fuss, bagging another three points and continuing their hot run of form to stay on the heels of Chelsea and Liverpool.
West Ham v Man City prediction
Here we have a meeting of two sides who believe they will win this match and are certainly capable of achieving just that. A home match against Man City comes at exactly the right time for Moyes and his boys as confidence is high in the camp.
The EFL isn’t at the top of their priorities this season, pushing for a top-four finish in the league and pushing for the latter stages of the Europa League is, but a win at home over City would be a reward for the dedication of their fans.
Man City face nothing new here. They arrive in town expecting to be put under pressure by a form opponent punching above their weight, but the Premier League champions enter without fear. They are the best team in England and will be eager to prove it by shooting down the Hammers on their patch.
EFL Cup prediction
The pre-match betting odds available at 22bet had West Ham trading at 7.3 with Man City 1.44 and the draw 4.5.
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