Sunday, November 18, 2018

Prediction: Leicester City vs West Ham

Verdict: Both teams to score

Best Odds: 7/10

Bookmaker: Bet365

Looking to bounce back and close the gap on the top half of the table, Manuel Pellegrini’s West Ham side will travel to the King Power Stadium on Saturday evening.

Leicester City

Starting with Claude Puel’s Foxes’, while Leicester were able to pick up maximum points over relegation candidates Newcastle and Huddersfield, the Blues have begun to show some signs of a struggle. With constant speculation surrounding the former Southampton man’s job, Saturday’s hosts are now coming off the back of a pair of defeats. Despite leading against Arsenal on Monday, the Foxes could only slump to a 3-1 loss in North London. A third loss on the bounce this weekend would confirm their worst run of form since the final days of Claudio Ranieri’s reign and their recent defensive problems will be a concern for Puel. Shipping five in their last two appearances, Leicester have kept just four clean sheets in 23 fixtures, conceding 43 goals. However, while a win could see them jump into the top half of the table, the Foxes will be looking for playmaker James Maddison to carry on his impressive start. Earning his first call-up to Gareth Southgate’s squad earlier in the month, Maddison has created 18 goalscoring chances in the Premier League, more than any other English player this season.

Team News

Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy is a fitness doubt to face West Ham because of a stomach complaint.

Wes Morgan serves the final game of a two-match ban but Demarai Gray is back in contention after a month out.

West Ham

As for the visitors, while taking points off of Manchester United and Chelsea might have shown a kickstart to their season, Manuel Pellegrini’s side have once again struggled with their consistency. Missing a string of opportunities in their 1-0 London derby loss to Tottenham last Saturday, West Ham have now lost their last two on the bounce. Picking up just seven points at the start of the new season, the East London side are enduring their worst top flight start since 2009-2010, a campaign they finished bottom. Much like their hosts, West Ham’s Chillien boss will be in desperate need to resolve his sides defensive record of late. The visitors have conceded 27 league away goals in 2018; only Leicester, with 30, have a worse record. If the Hammers are to break their King Power curse, Pellegrini will be looking for top scorer Marko Aranutovic to lead from the front. The 29-year-old now has four Premier League goals to his name and more impressive, only Eden Hazard and Mo Salah have been directly involved in more goals in 2018 than the Austrian international.

Team News

West Ham winger Andriy Yarmolenko could miss the rest of the season after being sidelined for up to six months following Achilles surgery.

Andy Carroll, Manuel Lanzini, Pedro Obiang and Jack Wilshere all remain unavailable for the Hammers.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Leicester have lost just one of their last seven Premier League games against West Ham (W4, D2).
  • West Ham are attempting to win consecutive league games at Leicester for the first time since 1997, having ended a six-match winless run at the King Power last season.
  • Leicester have kept just four clean sheets in 23 fixtures, conceding 43 goals.
  • West Ham’s seven points from nine games is their worst return at this stage of the season since 2010-11, when they finished bottom.
  • They have lost seven of their last 10 away games in the Premier League (W2, D1).

Conclusion

On paper, it has all the makings of a game that should produce plenty of chances at both ends of the pitch. Given the fact that combined, West Ham and Leicester have managed to record just two Premier League clean sheet in their last 16 outings, Pellegrini and Puel will see this as a golden opportunity. Coupled with six of their last eight meetings ending with both teams finding the net, we’re backing both teams to score on Saturday evening.

Verdict: Both teams to score

Best Odds: 7/10

Bookmaker: Bet365

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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