This weekend’s Premier League fixtures offer the tantalising prospect of West Ham United hosting Leicester City.
West Ham could be forgiven for an opening day 2-0 defeat to Manchester City, but the back-back losses to Nottingham Forest and Brighton & Hove Albion left a sour taste.
David Moyes’ well-oiled machine is not running as smoothly as last season. They have lost consecutive league games against Manchester United and Crystal Palace. They have also crashed out of the Carabao Cup.
However, they have been impressive in Europe. They sealed qualification into the Europa Conference League knockout phase, winning all six group games.
They have lacked that consistency in the league, underperforming by their usual standards. After the Brighton loss, West Ham bounced back with a 1-0 victory over Aston Villa.
They took one point against Tottenham before losing 2-1 to Chelsea. It’s this inconsistency that has foiled them from reaching the European spots.
After consecutive league losses and an early exit from the Carabao Cup, West Ham will have fire in their belly against a Leicester side directly above them.
A win would see them leapfrog their opponents at least, pushing away from the dreaded relegation zone. They could move as high as 11th place if other results go their way.
Leicester were in a relegation battle in the early weeks of the campaign. The Foxes were bottom of the league table after picking only one point in their opening seven games.
A 4-0 victory over Nottingham Forest steadied the ship, but they suffered another setback against Bournemouth. However, seven points from their next three games moved them up the table.
Leicester then lost to Manchester City, but they made life difficult for the champions. They beat Everton 2-0 in their last game to move up to 14th place.
They are just two points away from the drop zone, but they will be happy to have created this small breathing space.
However, their performances against West Ham over their last five league encounters will not please them. Leicester has only one win, while West Ham have won three and drawn one.
The last five times they have met in the London Stadium, West Ham have claimed two wins while Leicester have one, and they have drawn twice.
The Hammers have only two wins in their last six Premier League games (WDLWLL). They come into the game trying to shake off two losses and power into the upper echelon of the table.
Top performers from last season, like Tomas Soucek and Jarrod Bowen, have regressed this season. The new big-money signings have struggled to adapt.
Last season, Bowen scored 12 goals and assisted ten, but this season he has only two goals and zero assists in 14. The strikers are struggling too. Michail Antonio and Gianluca Scamacca both have two goals.
West Ham brought Lucas Paqueta to add creativity, but he has only created one big chance this season.
The record is even in the 19 EPL head-to-head encounters between the two sides, with each winning seven and the other five games drawn.
West Ham are underperforming and need to turn things around on the pitch. Moyes must find a way to get his players firing in the league.
The Foxes are currently sitting in 14th place, level with on points with West Ham.
Leicester have won three of their last five league games. Brendan Rodgers will be breathing easier after the pressure of the early season results.
James Maddison has been one of the key players behind the team’s improvement. The former Norwich City midfielder has netted six goals and four assists in 12 Premier League games.
Patson Daka is not yet prolific, Jamie Vardy is ageing and Kelechi Iheanacho has failed to fire. They need to refresh their squad after signing only Wout Faes last summer.
For now, Rodgers only has to try and steer this ship to safety.
West Ham vs Leicester City Potential Line-ups
West Ham United (4-2-3-1): Lukasz Fabianski; Aaron Creswell, Kurt Zouma, Craig Dawson, Thilo Kehrer; Declan Rice, Tomas Soucek; Jarrod Bowen, Flynn Downes, Said Benrahma; Gianluca Scamacca.
Leicester City (4-2-3-1): Danny Ward; Timothy Castagne, Daniel Amartey, Wout Faes, James Justin; Boubakary Soumare, Youri Tielemans; Harvey Barnes, Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, James Maddison; Patson Daka.
How to Watch?
West Ham vs Leicester, like all Premier League fixtures, is available to watch online via Premier League live streams.
West Ham vs Leeds Prediction
While West Ham have home advantage, Leicester are on an upward trajectory. They are close to each other in the table and have similar W/D/L stats. A draw is a possibility.
West Ham 2-2 Leicester City
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