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Five years since they last lost a League Cup tie, a record-equalling four trophies in a row and six titles in the last eight seasons – Man City’s domination in this tournament over recent years has been quite remarkable.
Another success this year would see them become the first to win it five seasons in a row and would also see them move out on their own as the most successful club in the competition’s history, overtaking the current records they share with Liverpool on both fronts.
Liverpool are the only team to have enjoyed a longer unbeaten run in the competition, going 25 ties without being knocked out between 1980 and 1984, but Man City are also closing in on that record and victory on Wednesday would see their streak extend to 22.
Such success belies the perception that the big teams do not take this competition particularly seriously, with Pep Guardiola developing a philosophy within his squad that every piece of silverware is both winnable and desirable.
The visitors go into this last-16 tie on a run of three successive wins across all competitions, scoring 11 goals in that time, including nine in their last two away outings.
Arsenal in 1977-78 are the only team to have eliminated both Manchester clubs in the same League Cup campaign before, and should West Ham join that very short list then they would make it into the quarter-finals for the first time since 2017-18.
David Moyes‘s men have so far made light work of their busy schedule this season, posting a perfect Europa League record in addition to their top-four Premier League spot, so another game in quick succession will not faze them on Wednesday.
However, while they have won more often than not in front of their own fans so far in 2021-22, their two defeats this season have also come at the London Stadium, and their record in matches against Manchester City does not bode well.
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The Hammers are winless in their last 12 meetings with Guardiola’s men, losing 10 of those and conceding 35 goals in the process, while they have not won at home to Wednesday’s opponents for more than seven years.
Their two previous League Cup ties with Man City have also ended in defeat – including a 9-0 aggregate loss in the 2013-14 semi-finals – although they have won two of their last three League Cup ties against the reigning holders of the trophy.
This West Ham side is one which has far more belief than any of their recent predecessors too, and with Moyes recently setting his sights on a top-four finish, Wednesday could give him the opportunity to prove that they belong in the conversation.