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Man City to drop points at West Ham: Paul Merson and Mark Lawrenson predict

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Man City to drop points at West Ham: Paul Merson and Mark Lawrenson predict

Pep Guardiola and his star-studded Manchester City team will kick off their latest Premier League title defence against West Ham at the London Stadium  today.

Despite defeating Liverpool to win their fourth English title in five seasons, City chose to restructure their squad over the summer, with Erling Haaland and Kalvin Phillips among those who joined. 

Raheem Sterling, Oleksandr Zinchenko, and Gabriel Jesus all took the opposite path.

Here are three high-profile pundits’ predictions for what will happen at the London Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Chris Sutton – BBC Sport

Writing in his first BBC Sport predictions column, Sutton said:

 “West Ham have signed striker Gianluca Scamacca from Sassuolo, but I don’t think he’s up to speed just yet. My main worry with the Hammers, though, is at the back and they spent a few quid on defender Nayef Aguerd earlier this summer, but he’s out injured.

“So I don’t see the Hammers causing City problems like they did when they drew 2-2 at London Stadium at the end of last season. City hit five past them there on the opening day a couple of years ago, and I think they will get a few goals this time, too.

“Pep Guardiola’s side were not at their best in the Community Shield, but I’m expecting an improvement this time, while I also think Erling Haaland will open his account.”

Score prediction: West Ham 0-3 Manchester City

Paul Merson – Sportskeeda

Sharing his predictions for the opener, Merson told Sportskeeda

“This is a tough Premier League game for both teams. Manchester City employ a strong press and this game could work out well for West Ham United with the way they play on the counter.

“West Ham are going to have 11 men behind the ball and I’m not sure where [Erling] Haaland’s power and pace will fit in there. When was the last time somebody scored a 1v1 for City? It’s very rare. I think he’s going to score a lot of Premier League goals, but they’ll be different to the goals he’s scored for Borussia Dortmund and Norway.

“I think City are slightly weaker than they were last year. Between [Gabriel] Jesus and [Raheem] Sterling, you knew you were getting at least 25 goals each season. With Haaland and [Julian] Alvarez, who knows? They could have 30 Premier League goals before Christmas, but they’ll need to prove their mettle.

“I think this game will end in a draw. I say that only because I can see how this game’s going to pan out.”

Score prediction: West Ham 1-1 Manchester City

Mark Lawrenson – Paddy Power

Paddy Power pundit Lawrenson added: “I think with Erling Haaland you’ve got to play it into him. As good as City are playing the ball around, he wants it early with the grass in front of him so it’s going to be interesting to see how that plays out.

“West Ham did so well the last couple of years and have made a few decent signings. I’m going to go for a bit of an upset here.”

Score prediction: West Ham 1-1 Manchester City

Man City to drop points at West Ham: Paul Merson and Mark Lawrenson predict

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