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West Ham v Man City: Over-reliance on home comforts may tell for Citizens

| 23.01.2016

After winning their last three games in all competitions without conceding a goal, you could expect West Ham to feel some trepidation ahead of Manchester City’s visit to east London, but the Hammers have plenty going in their favour.

The Citizens come into Saturday’s late kick-off as 4/6 favourites, with the draw a 14/5 shot and the hosts 15/4 outsiders.

However, with City not the best travellers in the league by any stretch of the imagination, an upset could well be on the cards.

Prior to their last-gasp come-from-behind victory at Watford on January 2, Manuel Pellegrini’s men were without a win in six away league fixtures.

Furthermore, they had scored just one goal in their five previous road trips in the top-flight.

Compare that to their home form that has seen them pick 13 points from a possible 15 at the Etihad since the end of November, and it’s clear that home comforts are a big thing for the north west outfit.

And although they put three past Norwich in the FA Cup at Carrow Road two weeks ago their potency in front of goal has been somewhat limited on the road.

Their top three goalscorers in the Premier League, Sergio Aguero (10), Raheem Sterling (five) and Yaya Toure (five) have netted just four of their 20 goals outside of the confines of the City of Manchester Stadium.

Slaven Bilic’s men are the perfect side to expose any weakness when it comes to visitors to the Boleyn Ground.

The Hammers haven’t tasted defeat on their own patch since Bournemouth took advantage of numerous defensive blunders in a 4-3 victory back in August.

That run of eight matches without defeat in east London has been part of the reason the capital club find themselves as high as sixth in the table.

And with City showing they can go through a dry spell in front of goal away from home, the fact that Bilic’s men have conceded one in their last four in all competitions at Upton Park strengthens their case further.

Dimitri Payet is likely to play a major part if the Hammers are to do the double over City for the first time in 53 years, having won 2-1 at the Etihad in September.

The Frenchman has netted six times and provided four assists from just 15 appearances since his arrival in the summer and is likely to be a hot property in the summer.

He is 9/1 to add to his tally in London with the first strike on Saturday, and with the game set to be screen live on Sky Sports, Ladbrokes’ Double Odds offer comes into play.

Back Payet to net first and if he opens the scoring inside the first 25 minutes, you will be paid out at a whopping 18/1!

City will represent fearsome opponents, but with their over-dependence on home form, and the Hammers’ strong record in front of their own fans, taking the hosts in the Draw No Bet market at 13/5 looks excellent value.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.