Two Wounded Animals Meet At The King Power Stadium But Who Will Out-Fox The Other?
In the penultimate matchday of the 2017/2018 Premier League season, David Moyes’ West Ham United make their final and perhaps, most vital away trip of the entire campaign to face off with Claude Puel’s Leicester City in a meeting of two wounded animals.
The Foxes go into the encounter off the back of an embarrassing 5-0 drubbing at the hands of Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park last Saturday afternoon, while the Hammers were also most recently on the end of a thrashing, to the tune of 1-4 at home to the champions Manchester City at London Stadium on Sunday, the visitors are the ever-so-slight favourites for this one.
The crucial matchup is scheduled to kick-off at 3 PM BST tomorrow afternoon (Saturday 5 May 2018), and as is tradition with kick-offs of that time, no live television coverage will be available for viewing in the United Kingdom.
However, there will be live radio commentary being provided by both BBC Radio London and BBC Radio Leicester, but if you aren’t going to be in any of those regions on Saturday afternoon, never fear, you can head over to @WestHamMatters_ on Twitter to find live build-up, updates and reaction from the Hammers vs the Foxes.
The visit of Moyes’ Hammers will be hosted at Leicester’s iconic home ground of the King Power Stadium, formerly known as the Walkers Stadium between the years of 2002 and 2011 and the former from 2011.
The classy ground has an overall capacity of just under 32,500, making it the 20th largest stadium in all of English football and was first opened in 2002, when the club moved from their dated former home of Filbert Street, the KP is situated in Filbert Way an ode to the old stadium.
Aside from the domestic matches of City, the venue has also played host to England senior and U21 Internationals, including the Three Lions vs Serbia and Montenegro while Wembley Stadium was being rebuilt, domestic and International rugby matches and even concerts.
Tomorrow will spell the seventh time that the Irons have been visitors to the arena and it has not been a happy hunting ground for them so far, winning only once and that came in the Championship season of 2010/2011, on their last outing there in December 2016, the hosts claimed a narrow victory thanks to a goal from Islam Slimani, the only of the game.
Home manager Puel will be without Marc Albrighton for the match as he will serve the first game of the suspension he picked up for his red card in South London last weekend and aside from this, the home side do have a couple of injuries doubts.
These include the midfield duo of Spaniard Vicente Iborra and Englishman Matty James, but we will know more after the Frenchman’s pre-West Ham United press conference on Friday afternoon, danger men for Leicester encompass names such as Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy.
Meanwhile, visiting boss Moyes spoke to the press at Rush Green training ground early on Friday morning and did not bear positive injury news, revealing that centre-back James Collins and defensive midfielder Pedro Obiang will remain out injured, there had been hope that the pair could return in time for the journey.
Striker Andy Carroll will still be part of the 17 despite a training ground bust-up with his manager this week, while the usual long-termers remain out, Moyes will have a decision to make on whether to start Adrian San-Miguel or Joe Hart in goal, while the home side must be wary of the likes of Manuel Lanzini and Marko Arnautovic in the away Xl.
The first-teams of Leicester City and West Ham United gave met before on an impressive 129 occasions in all competitions in a fixture that has been being played out since all the way back in the year of 1919.
The overall record makes for pleasant reading for any member of the Claret & Blue Army as tomorrow’s visitors have the slight edge with 51 to the hosts’ 47 wins in total, there has only been 31 draws in meetings between these two teams.
However, in recent times, it has very much been a case of one-way traffic in this fixture as Leicester are unbeaten in the last seven meetings, empathically, they have been victorious in five of those with the East Londoners not registering three points against them since December 2014, before that, roles reversed with the Irons unbeaten in seven against the Foxes.
Last time out, in November 2017, Leicester were the visitors to London Stadium in Moyes’ first game at the helm of West Ham, a 1-1 draw unfolded with Albrighton outing the Leicestershire outfit ahead early on and then Cheikhou Kouyate getting his second career goal against Leicester to equalise and ensure the points were split.
Leicester City Football Club was formed in 1884 as Leicester Fosse FC and have enjoyed an up and down existence since then, to say the least, fluctuating between competing in Europe and struggling to stay in England’s Third Division.
Surely the pinnacle of their long tenure in English football came in the 2015/2016 season when they achieved the impossible, lifting the Premier League title for the first time in their history and defying odds of over 5,000-1 with Claudio Ranieri at the helm, having been in League One as recent as seven years earlier.
This achievement also entered them into the UEFA Champions League where their remarkable feats would continue, reaching the quarter-finals and bowing out to Atletico Madrid, remarkably, they have never won the FA Cup, but do have three League Cups under their belt, lifted in 1964, 1997 and 2000.
Nowadays, under former Southampton gaffer Puel following the sacking of home favourite Craig Shakespeare earlier on in the term, City currently occupy ninth place in the table and have recovered well from early relegation struggles to compete with Burnley for European football, although they have now missed out, the club sit six places and just nine points above their opponents.
Who Is Officiating?
The joint-youngest referee in the Select Group Chris Kavanagh will be the man in the middle in the Midlands, assisting him will be Daniel Cook and Mick McDonough, while Kavanagh’s fellow Premier League referee Bobby Madley is due to take up the role of Fourth Official.
So, now that the King Power Stadium scene has been well and truly set for an exciting afternoon of Top-Flight action, can Puel’s men ease the pressure on their manager with a first victory since March?
Or, can Moyes’ Hammers pick up three points on the road for only the second time in 2018 and give their hopes of PL survival a huge boost in the process? Think you know? Be sure to find us on Twitter to cast your score predictions and join the pre-match discussion.