Speaking to the club’s official website, the former West Ham attacker claimed he isn’t worried about the East London outfit facing Man City as he felt the Hammers always had a performance in them when facing one of the top-six.
“Luckily, I played Manchester City when they weren’t quite the team they are now, which is something I’m most definitely glad about, the 35-year-old said.
“They’re a totally different proposition nowadays.
“I’m sure the players will be looking forward to the start of the season and what the campaign can bring. There’s no doubt it will be a difficult game though. It’s a chance to see the new faces given an opportunity.
“I don’t really worry about West Ham against the bigger teams. I always feel the side has a performance in them in these sorts of games.”
And Ashton is exactly right to think this if you look at West Ham’s record against the top six last term.
Things didn’t start well, with the side opening their last Premier League campaign with a 4-0 hammering by Liverpool at Anfield. But that was Manuel Pellegrini’s first game in charge, and the Hammers grew massively as a team as the season went on.
Take a look at the reverse fixture against Liverpool, which ended in a 1-1 draw at the London Stadium. Liverpool’s goal was offside through Adam Lallana’s cross, so Michail Antonio’s goal from a free kick could well have won the game had decisions gone their way, because the Reds were not at it that evening.
Speaking of Antonio, it was him who scored the winning goal in the 1-0 victory over Tottenham in April, which was another fantastic result.
As for Chelsea, Pellegrini’s side won one and lost one against the Blues, while Manchester City won both games between the sides.
But that is Manchester City; they were streets ahead of most teams in the league. But, as these statistics show, there is every reason to suggest that this West Ham team, after Pellegrini’s first full season, will be fired up to have a good go against the champions.