Two-time defending champions, Manchester City kick off their quest for a third consecutive Premier League crown with a trip to West Ham United at the Olympic Stadium.
Only Manchester United has achieved three consecutive Premier League titles and did so on two separate occasions (1999-2001 & 2007-09), underlining the mammoth task that lies ahead for City this season.
West Ham meanwhile have spent heavily this summer so will be hoping to lay an early marker in their likely race for an Europa League spot, after injuries wrecked their chances last season.
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Lukasz Fabianski could be available for West Ham despite battling a groin injury in pre-season.
Skipper, Mark Noble however is ruled out as he struggles to overcome a dead leg suffered just before the Hammers met Fulham in a friendly.
New signings, Sebastien Haller and Pablo Fornals could make their Hammer debuts, although Goncalo Cardoso and Albian Ajeti are doubts after only making their moves in the past week,
Manchester City will be without Leroy Sane after needing surgery on a ruptured Anterior Cruciate Ligament injury.
Aymeric Laporte however could feature after recovering from a knock whilst Rodri and Joao Cancelo could make their debuts for City after joining this summer.
Benjamin Mendy meanwhile remains sidelined with a knee injury and won’t be available until after the September international break.
West Ham enter this season off the back of a relatively successful pre-season in which they netted in five of their six friendlies, with Manuel Lanzini scoring in his last three appearances.
Manchester City meanwhile come here currently unbeaten in their last 12 across all competitions (excluding penalty shootouts) stretching back to mid April, with four of their pre-season goals coming from Raheem Sterling whilst David Silva, Leroy Sane and Lukas Nmecha all scoring twice.
- West Ham have lost their last eight meetings with Manchester City, including a 4-1 defeat in the Premier League Asia Trophy last month.
- At home, the Hammers have conceded four in each of their last three league clashes with Man City, scoring just once themselves during those games.
- This fixture has been played on the opening weekend of the Premier League season once before, as Man City ran out 2-0 winners at Upton Park in August 2007 en route to an eventual ninth placed finish that season.
- West Ham will be facing a fifth consecutive opening weekend fixture against a member of the Bix Six, of which the previous four such occasions have been away from home with three defeats on the bounce since winning 2-0 at Arsenal in August 2015.
- Man City are unbeaten in their last ten opening league fixtures (W9, D1), with just the three conceded goals which came against clubs beginning with the letter ‘S’ (Southampton – 2012, Sunderland 2016).
Having seen highlights of Man City’s performance against Liverpool in the Community Shield last weekend, I can’t see West Ham stopping them here even despite their heavy spending unless they play a super counter attacking plan.
Add in the fact that the Hammers have lost their last two opening league fixtures by 4-0 results to the eventual runner-ups of the last two seasons, there is only one winner here and it won’t be pretty to say the least.
Prediction: West Ham United 0-3 Manchester City
Result: West Ham United 0-5 Manchester City