Premier League champions Manchester City will kick off their 2019-20 campaign with an away trip to West Ham United.
Manchester City will begin their Premier League title defense at the London Stadium in the capital, as they face West Ham United on Saturday.
The Citizens will have a unique chance to become only the second team with three consecutive league crowns in the new format of the competition.
Manuel Pellegrini and his West Ham United side will be their first obstacle on the road. The former Manchester City coach won the Premier League and two League Cups during his three-year spell at the Etihad.
Captain Mark Noble will miss the encounter against the champions through injury, while Lukasz Fabianski has overcome a groin problem and is expected to start the Hammers’ season opener.
West Ham’s record signing Sebastien Haller is expected to make his Premier League debut, alongside Spanish midfielder Pablo Fornals who joined from Villarreal this summer.
Manchester City will travel to London without French full-back Benjamin Mendy and Leroy Sane, who suffered a knee injury in the Community Shield win against Liverpool.
Fernandinho and Laporte are doubtful for Pep Guardiola, while Rodri and Joao Cancelo could make their debut in top-flight English football.
What did the managers say
Manuel Pellegrini said he is finally happy with his squad before the start of the 2019-20 Premier League campaign.
“I’m happy with our strength in depth. I’m happy because we’ve completed the squad in the way I wanted: we have two players in each position – good players,” he said at a press conference.
“I always think that the best way to deliver good performances from players is to have competition for their positions in the starting eleven, so we’ve done all that we needed to do.
“In the Premier League, some of the twenty teams have stronger squads. We know that here, there are six big teams who have a lot of good players. Other than that, we have four or five clubs that are very near their quality, so it will be, as always, a very tight Premier League [season].”
Opening weekends normally go well for @ManCity…
— Premier League (@premierleague) August 9, 2019
Pep Guardiola confirmed Leroy Sane will miss the next six months after suffering damage to the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee against Liverpool. He also confirmed who will replace Kompany as the club’s captain next season.
“I don’t know. Normally, with this kind of injury – it’s six or seven months. Hopefully, in February or March, he will come back with us,” said Guardiola via Manchester City’s official website.
“He played all of pre-season and in the Community Shield Final, he played. It’s incredibly bad news. In three pre-seasons, we have had three ACLs. He is a young player and hopefully, he will recover well.
“David Silva will be our captain. Then Fernandinho, Kevin De Bruyne, and Sergio Aguero. The captain has to be what he is. He knows the Club, the Premier League… he has big respect.”
Stats (via BBC)
Manchester City have earned seven successive victories against West Ham in all competitions, including 4-0 in last season’s corresponding league fixture.
West Ham have not kept a clean sheet against Manchester City in 16 competitive fixtures since a 0-0 Premier League draw at Upton Park in November 2012.
The Citizens are unbeaten in their past 10 opening Premier League fixtures, winning for eight seasons in a row.
Sergio Aguero has scored six goals on the opening weekend of the Premier League season. The record is eight, jointly held by Wayne Rooney, Alan Shearer and Frank Lampard.
West Ham United are beginning the season against an established top-six side for the sixth successive year. They lost four of their previous five, with the exception being a 2-0 win at Arsenal in 2015.
Their only Premier League home defeat in 2019 came against Everton in March (W5, D3, L1).
David Silva has scored in all three of his appearances at the London Stadium and has six goals against West Ham in all competitions, more than versus any other side.