Pep Guardiola will be glad of some respite from the harsh dogfight of the Premier League when West Ham United host Manchester City in the FA Cup on Friday (January 6).
The Catalan may now be looking at the cup as his best chance of claiming silverware in his debut season at the Etihad, and this will be another stern test for Slaven Bilic’s Irons.
After two dismal defeats around the turn of the year, Bilic is once again facing down the wrong end of the league table and question marks surround his future at the London Stadium.
Just as things had seemed to take a turn for the better, the Irons lost 1-0 to Leicester City and 2-0 to Manchester United, albeit in controversial circumstances. Bilic was right to protest the sending off of Sofiane Feghouli which totally changed the complexion of the game and allowed Jose Mourinho’s side to dominate.
But the cup is also a chance for West Ham to salvage something from a season where they seem destined for a mid-table finish. And with both teams afforded a week long break until the following Premier League fixture, expect the managers to name near to full strength sides.
After his three-match ban, this is the perfect opportunity for Sergio Aguero to get back into his groove and remind everyone who the most dangerous striker in England is.
On his return against Burnley the Argentine fired away the winner after coming off the bench at half time. His Man of the Match performance gives him a strong claim to start in Stratford. Aguero tends to embark on goalscoring runs and a punt on him To Score Two Goals or More at 4/1 could be a wise option.
Andy Carroll was omitted from the starting line-up against United, but may be reinstated for his aerial threat against a side that has conceded 33 headed goal attempts and 46 attempts from set plays this season.
Seeing as City have only kept two clean sheets away from home all season, we like the look of the Anytime Scorer Double with Andy Carroll and Sergio Aguero to score any time at 5/1.
In terms of result, a Man City win and Both Teams to Score at 9/4 appears to be good value. With West Ham’s serious lack of form or consistency this season, City should have far too much quality for them to handle.
Odds supplied by Oddschecker