West Ham vs Manchester City by PatrickBateman
After three straight wins West Ham recorded two losses in a row, against Leicester City and Manchester United, without scoring a single goal. It has to be said, however, that they were not that bad in those games. Against Leicester they were equal as their opponents, and were really unlucky to leave with nothing. While against United, they were the victims of terrible officiating by Mike Dean. He undeservedly sent off Feghouli in 15th minute, and West Ham had almost the whole game to play with man down. They were holding up until 63rd minute when Mata found a net, and Ibrahimovic`s goal in 78th minute only confirmed that it is really hard in today`s football play with 10 men on the field. For this game they will miss number of players, which will make thier task of beating City even harder. Sakho, Collins, Masuaku, Arbeloa and Tore are injured, while Kouyate and Ayew have left for Africa Nations Cup. The good news for them is that Feghouli`s aforementioned red card has been rescinded and he will be available for selection.
Manchester City have beaten Burnley at home in the last league fixture 2:1. They weren`t really convincing in that game, but since they played with 10 man since 32nd minute, when Fernandinho got sent off, they will look at that game as a success. Before that they lost against Liverpool at Anfield 1:0, which was their first competitive game since October in which they haven`t found a net. They will be without Kompany who returned to training but is still not ready, as well as without suspended Fernandinho. Guardiola also said it is unlikely that he will rotate squad too much considering strength of West Ham, but could name Caballero instead of Bravo in the starting line-up.
This will be Guardiola`s first FA Cup game and he will surely want to make it a memorable one. City should have the edge considering West Ham`s missings combined with the fact that they played four games in twelve days. However, West Ham lead by Slaven Bilic have a history of respectable FA Cup performances. City remain favourites, but they will hardly leave Olympic Stadium with clean sheet. There are no solid favourites in FA Cup games, and even though some managers don`t care too much about competition and choose to rotate and name "weaker" squads, whichever player comes on the field is sure to be motivated and give all they got. Therefore I can`t see past both teams scoring here, and I think that the expected tempo of the game should ensure us bigger result than 1:1. Both teams to score and over 2.5 goals here.
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|BTTS and over 2.5 goals||Bet365||1.95||8||0-5 LOST (-8 units)|