It has been a great season so far for West Ham United and one where Sam Allardyce’s side have exceeded all expectations. They will be aiming to keep their good form going when they welcome bottom of the table Leicester City to Upton Park on Saturday afternoon.
The Irons are currently in the last Champions League spot in the table and can move up to joint third place if Manchester United fail to get anything from their game against Aston Villa. Even if that fails to come around, West Ham can still maintain their place in the top four with a win over the Premier League new boys this weekend.
After a promising start to the season, Leicester now find themselves rooted to the bottom of the Premier League table. The positivity surrounding the club in the first few weeks have long since disappeared and their poor form has recently led to Nigel Pearson screaming abuse at a fan. His team badly need a win and quickly if they want to try and gain some ground in the table before the difficult Christmas period of fixtures.
In his press conference, Allardyce confirmed that Mark Noble is West Ham’s only injury concern and that he will not be able to play any part in the game against Leicester this weekend.
Ritchie De Laet has been suffering from an illness this week but should be fit in time for the game against West Ham. The same can’t be said for Matthew Upson, however, who won’t be able to return to action until Boxing Day at the earliest. Kasper Schmeichel is still out of action with a fractured metatarsal and will not be back playing until mid-January at the earliest.
- Stewart Downing has created the most chances in the Premier League so far this season.
- If West Ham win, it will be the first time they have been in the top four of the Premier League at Christmas.
- West Ham have not lost to Leicester in six league meetings.
- Leicester have not won any of their last 11 games in the league.
- They have also failed to win any of the last 17 league games they have played in London.
- Leicester will definitely be bottom at Christmas if they do not win on Saturday.
Downing has enjoyed a renaissance since joining West Ham from Liverpool and has been one of the best midfielders in the Premier League this season. He has played in all but one of their league games and has created a league-highest 50 chances for his team mates. According to Squawka.com, six of these have resulted in assists. He has also been able to contribute three goals of his own from 21 shots at goal, with a 48% shot accuracy to add. Downing has completed 500 passes in the league so far, meaning he has an 85% accuracy when you look at his passing overall. However, he has only won 47% of his overall duels and the only specific duel he has been the best at has been how many fouls he has suffered. If he plays as well as he has previously this season, Leicester will have to be wary of him on Saturday.
Morgan has been one of Leicester’s main players and has been a big presence at the back for them. According to Squawka.com, he has won 55% of all the duels he has been involved in so far this season. When you look at this in more detail, he has won 10 of the 20 tackles he has attempted and 50 of the 86 headed duels he has been involved in. The defender has tried to take on opponents on 10 occasions and has won 80% of them, however he has committed 65% of the fouls he has had a part in (although this is reflective of how much defending Leicester have had to do in recent weeks). He has involved in 12 defensive actions per game on average and has only made one error at the back all season. He has been largely good in terms of discipline having received no bookings so far, although he has been sent off once so far this season. Andy Carroll’s return just adds one more difficulty to the job facing Leicester’s defence and Wes Morgan will have to make sure they are on the top of their game.
West Ham have been really good at home this season and I can’t see that changing this weekend. Leicester have been struggling and I think this will be another challenge they will be unable to pass. In my opinion, West Ham will win 2-0.