Victory will all but nail it for City

Beat West Ham and Guardiola's men will go 6 points clear of Reds, who have 2 games left

LONDON • Manchester City travel to West Ham tomorrow for a game that could see Pep Guardiola's men put one hand, and perhaps a few fingers as well, on a fourth Premier League title in five years.

With rivals Liverpool playing Chelsea in the FA Cup final at Wembley today, the leaders could surge six points clear with one game remaining and a significantly superior goal difference.

Liverpool are back in league action at Southampton on Tuesday.

Guardiola, however, is remaining cautious despite needing just four points in his team's last two matches to seal the title.

"Two games to go, every three points we win is so important. Still we need six points, we have to make the three then after try to do the last one at home (against Aston Villa)," he said yesterday.

"Just focus on ourselves. West Ham done two extraordinary seasons, this season in the Europa League. An incredible season, so strong in all departments, set pieces, the quality up front.

"They are a top side, difficult, but we know how important it is to get three points. An incredible step to try and finish the job."

City midfielder Kevin de Bruyne, who banged four past Wolverhampton Wanderers in a 5-1 win on Wednesday, has also called for caution even if his side need only a win and a draw.

"West Ham have had a great season and played really well," he said. "It is their last home game of the season so we know it will be a tough one. We don't have a lot of players - it is about commitment, but it is going to be hard."

City are facing injury problems. Aymeric Laporte and Fernandinho are doubts after Wednesday's game, while Ruben Dias, John Stones and Kyle Walker are out.

West Ham have proved that they can take on the big sides. The Hammers, with Leicester, are one of only two teams to have beaten Liverpool in the league this season - winning 3-2 last November at home - and also still have something to play for.

Manchester United, who have played one game more, are three points ahead in sixth place and occupying the last slot for the Europa League group stage.

The Hammers knocked City out of the League Cup fourth round earlier this season after a penalty shoot-out, but have not beaten them in the league since 2015.

The match is also a home farewell, in a competitive match, to the fans for captain Mark Noble after 22 years at the club.

"We're looking forward to it. A tough game against a good team, but hopefully we'll be ready to go come Sunday," said West Ham manager David Moyes.

"We want to be in European football - if that could be the Europa League, that would be fantastic, but the Conference League would be great as well."

Michail Antonio, Craig Dawson and Said Benrahma all face late fitness tests, while Angelo Ogbonna is ruled out.

The focus this weekend will also be on the final relegation slot, with Leeds in danger of joining Watford and Norwich in the Championship next season after a 3-0 home mauling by Chelsea on Wednesday.

Leeds, in 18th, are at home to ninth-placed Brighton while 17th-placed Burnley, ahead only on goal difference but with a game in hand, are at Tottenham who are chasing a Champions League slot.

Everton, two points clear of Leeds and Burnley and edging away from what would be their first relegation since 1951, are at home to Brentford.

REUTERS


WEST HAM V MAN CITY

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 14, 2022, with the headline Victory will all but nail it for City. Subscribe