West Ham vs Leicester City
Date: Friday 24th November
TV: Sky Sports Main Event
West Ham entertain Leicester this Friday night in David Moyes’ first game at the London Stadium, as he faces the task of putting West Ham’s questionable start to the season behind them.
With Moyes first game in charge finishing in a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Watford, he will be looking to get the ball rolling on his managerial spell; and in all fairness, he will be seeking to get West Ham’s campaign started too.
The Hammers sit 18th with a mere 9 points and haven’t been too impressive as of yet this season. The side have struggled and although the players at the managers disposal are players with vast Premier League experience and individuals who are expected to produce good performances week in week out and performances which are worthy of winning 3 points – this simply isn’t the case in East London.Embed from Getty Images
Since the dismissal of Slaven Bilic, Moyes has arrived with fresh ideas and a new outlook, also Stuart Pearce has been added to the backroom staff, a good addition to Moyes’ team. Leicester on the other hand, are also beginning life with a new manager in charge at the helm, Claude Puel gained four points from a possible 6 in his first two outings as Leicester boss, with a 2-0 victory against Everton and a 2-2 draw at Stoke respectively. Yet, he was reminded of the sheer class some clubs possess in the Premier League after his side were rather effortlessly seen of by Pep Guardiola’s title favourites, Manchester City.
West Ham United:
David Moyes confirmed this week that Marko Arnautovic and Andre Ayew will be available for the fixture, yet the Hammers will be without Chicharito and Michail Antonio, two huge players missing from the match-day squad.
Arnautovic was substituted in the second half in the match against Watford with a suspected arm injury which looked to be a very painful occurrence for the Austrian at the time. Yet Moyes confirmed he trained this week and will be available for the fixture. Ayew was absent due to illness for the trip to Vicarage Road, yet returns to selection for Friday night’s game.
As for Antonio, and another absentee in James Collins, they are both back into training yet won’t be fit enough for the game against Leicester. Moyes suggested both are lacking fitness and match time and is weary of rushing them back into the staring XI due to the busy Christmas schedule.
Chicharito and Sam Byram are expected to return to some form of training next week and will not compete in Friday’s fixture but Moyes is hopeful for a speedy recover for Hernandez and a well-judged comeback for Byram, who has been out of action after suffering an injury in training at the start of the month. Andy Carroll is expected to lead the line for the Hammers and could make himself a nuisance for Morgan and Maguire in the heart of the Leicester defence.
Leicester City have no fresh new injury concerns. Matty James and Robert Huth remain the only two injuries for Puel and the only two not available for the match-day squad. It will be no surprise to see no changes from the defence who played against Manchester City with Schmeichel between the sticks and a back four of Simpson, Maguire, Morgan and Fuchs.Embed from Getty Images
The two in the centre of the park is likely to remain Iborra and Ndidi. Iborra has impressed recently but will have a tough task against West Hams probable centre midfielder of Obiang. Demari Gray found himself in the starting XI for the fourth fixture in a row and will be likely to play again in London. The main question around the starting XI for Leicester will be who undertakes the number 10 position. Puel has used three different players in this position in his three fixtures so far with Mahrez, Okazaki and Albrighton being tested in this role, sitting behind the ever-reliable Jamie Vardy.
It would be no surprise to see Albrighton drop to the bench and replaced by the Japanese International, Okazaki. With his energy and persistent running coupled with the pace and threat of Jamie Vardy, the likely centre half pairing of Reid and Ogbonna will not be given a moment peace from the first whistle at the London Stadium.
Prediction: West Ham United 1 Leicester City 1.
After the recent analysis of Joe Harts problems diving down to his left, this is something Vardy will be able to utilise and it’s hard to see both teams not scoring come Friday evening.
It will undoubtedly be a difficult fixture for the Foxes as the London Stadium will be a ravenous crowd and full of noise, hopeful of seeing their side pick-up 3 points. But, Leicester need something from this game and Puel has said he wants to see an ‘ambitious approach from his side’.
The bottom half of the table is looking extremely tight with only 6 points separating West Ham in 18th and Huddersfield in 10th, so it’s important Leicester pick up at least a point in this fixture.
Written by Eamon Kitching.