Now here come the teams!
Here come Noble now, walking out into the London Stadium alone as the crowd cheer. He’s made 548 West Ham appearances, a ridiculous effort which puts him joint-sixth on the all-time list, and there are tears in his eyes as he applauds the supporters who hold him in such high regard.
Geoff Shreeves is sitting in a cafe with Mark Noble. It’s well authentic, and Noble says he’s left the club in a much better state than he found it, which is, well, a take.
Gabriel Jesus leads the line for City today – probably, as it’s also possible Jack Grealish plays through the middle. He might only have two games left as a City player, given the arrival of Erling Haaland will limit his opportunities even further. Ultimately, he’s not a good enough finisher or all-round striker to demand better, but his knack of making things happen is a useful one, and at 25, he’s still got time to improve, especially if he’s playing every week.
Moyes tells Sky that it’s a really big game for both teams – more news as I get it. He notes that City have scored a lot of goals lately, but West Ham will need to get at them.
Guardiola says he wants to involve everyone, which is why he’s made the attacking changes he has. He congratulates West Ham for two amazing seasons, identifying set-pieces and transitions as particular threats.
The more I look at the two teams, the more I can see a way for West Ham today – City are vulnerable in the middle of their defence. But looking at the two teams is very different to looking at the game as it unfolds on the pitch, and City just have so much attacking class that if they play even reasonably well, West Ham will probably have to score twice to get a draw.
Eesh, Ashley Barnes has just hit the post for Burnley. This one isn’t over – not by a long chalk.
Elsewhere: a Harry Kane penalty, in the eighth minute of first-half injury-time, sees Spurs lead Burnley with an hour gone. If they can hang on, Arsenal will be under pressure at Newcastle tomorrow night, while Everton will be closer to safe.
Noble’s best moment in a West Ham shirt? Surely this.
Mark Noble plays his final home game for West Ham this afternoon. He’s on the bench, but I’m sure we’ll be seeing him at some point.
I do wonder why Foden isn’t playing today – with just two games left, resting him doesn’t make that much sense. But perhaps Guardiola wants to have him in reserve, to come on fresh after an hour or so as West Ham legs tire.
City, meanwhile, are without Kyle Walker, John Stones and Ruben Dias, all out for the season, but Fernandinho and Aymeric Laporte both passed fitness tests and will play in the middle of defence. Otherwise, Riyad Mahrez, Gabriel Jesus and Jack Grealish replace Ilkay Gundogan, Raheem Sterling and Phil Foden.
Moyes makes one change from last week’s 4-0 over Norwich, Tomas Soucek replaces Said Benrahma. There’s a very solid look to their side, and they won’t be giving this away.
West Ham United (a blanketing 4-5-1): Fabianski; Coufal, Zouma, Dawson, Cresswell; Rice, Soucek, Lanzini, Fornals, Bowen; Antonio. Subs: Areola, Yarmolenko, Vlasic, Noble, Fredericks, Masuaku, Johnson, Kral, Oko-Flex.
Manchester City (an implacable 4-3-3-): Ederson; Cancelo, Fernandinho, Laporte, Zinchenko; Rodri, De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva; Mahrez, Jesus, Grealish. Subs: Steffen, Ake, Sterling, Gundogan, Foden, Egan-Riley, Mbete, Palmer, Lavia.
one hundred points; 98 points; 81 points; 86 points; 89 points and counting; however you slice it, the evidence insists that Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City have near enough mastered domestic football. Never before has a team accumulated such tallies, nor demanded such tallies of opponents simply to get in the race. Frankly, it’s ridiculous
And, should City win today, they’ll be on the cusp of a second successive title, a fourth in five years. They’ll not want to allow Jürgen Klopp’s messianic monsters even the prospect of a final-day goal-race, so won’t be celebrating if they get a result this afternoon, but it’s impossible to see them not getting the four points they need to be champions just as it’s been impossible to see them dropping points in the run-in; domestic football, near enough mastered.
So what can West Ham do to stop them? Er, maybe a lot and maybe a little. David Moyes’ men have enjoyed another superb season, and on a good day are a brutal prospect for any side, especially given their need to qualify for the Europa League. But over the last few weeks they’ve been slowly seeping gas, and the disappointment of semi-final defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt will be still extremely sore. They’ll need to mine their deepest recesses of nastiness and remorselessness to dredge up a performance today – but make no mistake, they are capable.
Kick-off: 2pm BST