West Ham v Man City – London Stadium at 19:55 live on BBC One
The third round of the FA Cup gets underway on Friday night as West Ham host Man City at the London Stadium.
Both managers will feel they are under-performing in the Premier League this season, so the Cup may not be their main focus. And, due to the fact they are coming into this tie immediately after the busy festive period, we could see the managers rest some players.
With team selection key to finding some value on the Asian Handicap market, this is a difficult one to call. However, I expect this match to be decided in attack so we should see goals.
It’s been a frustrating season for the Hammers. Performances have been below par compared to last year and they are struggling with consistency.
They come into this tie having suffered back to back league defeats and sit 13th in the table having lost half of their 20 matches.
Slaven Bilic has been frustrated by injuries in recent weeks and now loses Andre Ayew and Cheikhou Kouyate to the African Cup of Nations.
On a positive note, Andy Carroll should return to the starting line-up and has the ability to cause City’s shaky defence some trouble, especially in the air. Michail Antonio looks sharp and should provide Carroll with good support in attack along with Dimitri Payet.
Payet hasn’t been at his best so far this term, but in the FA Cup has had a hand in 5 goals in 6 appearances.
The two clubs have already met once this season, with West Ham losing at the Etihad 3-1. However, they have avoided defeat in their last two contests on home soil.
After an incredible start to life in England, winning his first 10 matches in charge, (6 League games), Pep Guardiola is now struggling somewhat.
December was not a kind month to the Citizens, losing 3 of their 6 league games, which has left them in 4th, 7 points behind league leaders Chelsea.
His players are also struggling with discipline, losing Aguero for four matches recently. The Argentine striker should be back in the starting line-up for this one after being left out against Burnley. However, Fernandinho is once again suspended after receiving yet another red card last time out.
Their defence is a major concern, continuing to look frail. They have managed just 4 clean sheets in the Premier League this season from 20 matches.
Man City hold a dominant record over West Ham in the past 10 years, winning 15 of their last 23 meetings in all competitions.
The last time they met in the FA Cup, back in 2008, the Citizens progressed but needed a replay. Pep will be hoping his side can ge tthe job done tomorrow as an extra game is the last thing they need right now.
Asian Handicap & Total Goals
The visitors come into this match as odds on favourties and understandably so. They are by far the better team although far from their best at the moment.
That being said, this a cup tie and although Pep would love to lift a trophy in his first season, it can’t be his priority.
With team selection not known, it’s a difficult one to call, however, with a goal advantage on the Asian Handicap market at 1.91, the hosts offer some value. They may just be more up for it than City and should cause their shaky defence so problems.
For my official recommendation though, I’m backing Over 3 goals at a juicy looking 2.12.
Both defences are leaky and this fixture historically see’s goals. Ten of the last 13 matches have seen 3 goals or more.
Asian Handicap Recommendation: Over 3 at 1.93
Prices correct at time of writing.
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