Thursday, February 20, 2020

Prediction: Leicester City vs West Ham

Veselin Trajkovic in Free Soccer Predictions 21 Jan 2020


Verdict: Jamie Vardy to score

Best odds: 16/25

Bookmaker: 888sport

On Wednesday evening at the King Power Stadium, Leicester City will play host to West Ham United as the two teams do battle for points in the 24th round of the 2019/20 Premier League season.

Leicester City

Having went through most of the campaign so far in a great manner, the Foxes are arguably the biggest positive surprise in the English top flight, if not perhaps in Europe’s top five leagues. Since winning the title, they struggled at times, coming even close to the relegation zone a few times, and many believed that magnificent 2015/16 to have been a short burst of light before it all went dark again. They went through a few managers in that time, but nothing seemed to be working.

Not until they appointed Brendan Rodgers last February, that is. The Northern Irishman came agonizingly close to winning the league with Liverpool in 2013/14, but when he was sacked in October 2015, the popular belief was that it was too early for him to take command of the team at such a big club. He then went to Scotland and developed a winning mentality with Celtic, before coming back to England and start a fresh project with Leicester.

His team currently sits in third place with 45 points, three behind Manchester City in second and six ahead of Chelsea in fourth; 11 more than Manchester United in fifth. For a while there may have been hope for their supporters of repeating the feat of 2016, but Liverpool are now so far ahead that it’s hard to imagine anyone overtaking them. Nonetheless, top four and a place in the Champions League next season seems well within their reach.

Their recent form, however, hasn’t been that great. They responded well to getting thrashed by Rodgers’ former club at home on Boxing Day, beating both West Ham and Newcastle away, but then a shocking defeat at home to Southampton came, followed by another one away to Burnley a few days ago.

Team News

Midfielders Daniel Amartey and Matthew James are out of this game, while Wilfred Ndidi may be ready to play after a knee injury. Left-back Ben Chilwell was left out of the squad against Burnley due to poor form, but he is likely to return to the fold now.

West Ham

The Hammers had a rather disappointing first half of the season, which culminated with manager Manuel Pellegrini getting sacked just before the turn of the year and replaced by the returning David Moyes. Incidentally, Pellegrini’s last game in charge was at home against Leicester City, which his team lost by 1-2.

Moyes previously worked at Preston North End, Everton, Manchester United, Real Sociedad and Sunderland, and he had a six-month spell with West Ham at the end of which he wasn’t offered a new contract. Now he’s back, however, and he appears to have already made a difference. Since his reappointment, the Hammers thrashed Bournemouth at home, lost to Sheffield United away, and drew at home with his former club Everton.

West Ham sit in 16th place at the moment, a single point above the relegation zone. They have a game in hand over those around them in the table, though they won’t be placing much hope there – they are set to play that on Tuesday next week, when they welcome Liverpool to the London Stadium.

Team News

Moyes will have to continue coping with the absence of a number of important players when his team make the trip to the King Power Stadium. Goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski, defender Ryan Fredericks, midfielder Jack Wilshere, as well as wingers Andriy Yarmolenko and Felipe Anderson, are all out. Midfielder Michail Antonio is likely to travel but he will be assessed before any decision regarding his availability is made.


Just like the one against Liverpool next week, this is probably not a game where the Hammers will be expected to do well and win some points. It’s likely Leicester will strengthen their grip on that Champions League spot with three points in the bag, and having last scored in their defeat to City at the Etihad in December, it’s reasonable to expect Jamie Vardy to get on the scoresheet again.

Verdict: Jamie Vardy to score

Best odds: 16/25

Bookmaker: 888sport


Veselin Trajkovic

Vesko is a football writer that likes to observe the game for what it is, focusing on teams, players and their roles, formations, tactics, rather than stats. He follows the English Premier League closely, Liverpool FC in particular. His articles have been published on four different football blogs.



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