West Ham head to the King Power Stadium this evening, where they will be looking to take all three points against Leicester City.
The Hammers come into the game following back-to-back defeats against Brighton and Hove Albion before the international break and then rivals Tottenham Hotspur last weekend.
As much as it is painful for all associated with West Ham, you can forgive the side for just being edged out by a top side of Spurs’ calibre. This time out against the Foxes, though, a result should not be out of reach for the Irons on their visit to the Midlands.
West Ham team news
Manuel Pellegrini’s squad has been further depleted this week, following the nasty Achilles injury that Andriy Yarmolenko picked up in the London Derby, which will see him miss up to six months for the Hammers.
The Ukranian joins fellow long-term absentees Winston Reid (knee), Andy Carroll (ankle), Carlos Sanchez (knee) and Manuel Lanzini (knee), while the game has also come too soon for Jack Wilshere (ankle).
Elsewhere, Pedro Obiang will continue to miss out with the calf problem that kept him out of the clash with Spurs last weekend. That leaves Pellegrini with very little options in midfield, compounded by the injury to Yarmolenko.
Here is our predicted line-up for West Ham ahead of the game.
What has the manager had to say?
The West Ham boss has been pleased with the performances from his side lately, despite suffering back-to-back defeats.
“I feel that we are improving. If you saw the game against Tottenham, the team that maybe created more chances and deserved to win was our team, but we didn’t.
“So, in the last four games, in three of them, I agree we are playing well and improving, but also in three of those last four games we didn’t score goals, so something is missing. We must score the chances we have.
“We continue to work on defending, and we’re improving a lot. Now we must score the chances we create, or create even more chances.”
Following Grady Diangana being brought off the bench last weekend, Pellegrini has been talking about his chances of a starting berth at Leicester.
“On Saturday, we will see. I think he’s a young player who has a lot of good technical conditions. He needs to improve on other things, but he will have some chances in some games.
“One of the important things, why we brought the U23s players to work with us and work on the pitch beside the first team squad, is so we see all of them working every day and we know that when we need a player, they will come immediately to work with us.”
The Chilean is under no illusions that it is going to be a tough game against the Foxes and believes that Claude Puel has a good side at his disposal.
“As always, in every game in the Premier League, you must start by saying it will be a difficult game.
“All the games are difficult in the Premier League because the teams have similar players and all of them have money to bring in good players. Leicester are not an exception.
“They have very good players and they continue working in the right way. For me, they are a very good team.”
Leicester team news
Just like the Hammers, Leicester head into the game on the back of two straight defeats in the league, following their defeat at Arsenal on Monday night. However, due to West Ham’s miserable early start to the campaign, the Foxes sit five points above the East Londoners in the Premier League.
As Claude Puel prepares to celebrate a year in the job, the Frenchman is sweating over the fitness of star man Jamie Vardy. The striker is battling a stomach problem and is considered a doubt for the Irons’ visit to the King Power.
Meanwhile, Demarai Gray (ankle) and Matty James (Achilles) remain out for the Foxes, while captain Wes Morgan serves the final game of his suspension.
Foxes’ key man
This all depends on whether or not he fights off his stomach bug, but Jamie Vardy is the key man for Leicester in this one. Although the Foxes forward has only scored twice in his last six outings against the Hammers, he has registered three assists in those matches and is always a handful for opposing defences.
If Vardy does win his battle to be fit, he will play on the last man of the West Ham defence and look to get in behind. As the Irons like to play a high defensive line under Pellegrini, it may be worth dropping off a bit, in order to combat the threat the striker provides.
Here is how he compares to West Ham’s man, Marko Arnautovic.
The Hammers have a dismal recent record against the Foxes, having recorded a victory in just one of the last six encounters.
When they met in September 2015, the Leicestershire outfit secured an extra-time win over West Ham in the League Cup. Later on in that season, the Foxes scored a late equaliser at the King Power, which spurred them on to lifting the Premier League title just a few weeks later. The following season, Leicester did the double over the Irons, edging past them with a 1-0 home victory and then a 3-2 win at the London Stadium.
The Hammers’ fortunes were much better against the Foxes last season, as they took four points from the two meetings between the clubs. In November of last year, they played out a 1-1 draw in East London, before Mark Noble’s brilliant long-range effort helped seal a 2-0 victory and all but secure West Ham’s Premier League status.
Pellegrini’s side will be looking to get back to winning ways at the King Power this evening and build upon their good form of last season against Leicester.