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West Ham will look to get back to winning ways when they host Leicester City in the Premier League on Saturday.
The Hammers are experiencing a slump in form, with four losses in their last five league games. Manuel Pellegrini’s side are currently 11th in the table with 42 points from 34 games. They trail their visitors by 5 points with Wolves, Everton, and Watford between them.
While an 11th-placed finish could be decent for West Ham, they are in real danger of finishing lower. Bournemouth are in 12th with 41 points and going further below a resurgent Southampton are in 16th with 36 points, just 6 points behind.
Thus, the season could end on a sour note if the London side do not turn the tide and this home game presents them with a perfect opportunity to arrest the slide.
However, their opponents are in a great run of form, winning 4 of their last five league games. The only loss came in the previous game against Newcastle United, who ran out 1-0 winners. The Foxes look to have found a breath of fresh air with former Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers’ appointment and are leading the race to finish as the best team outside top 6.
Rodgers’ side will be desperate to prove that the previous loss was just a minor blip and get back to winning ways, especially with a potential Europa League spot on the line.
As per the rules, the 7th-placed team will qualify for Europa League if Manchester City win the FA Cup final against Watford in May. Now, this is a real possibility and Leicester will have to ward off competition from Wolves (level on points), Everton (one point behind) and Watford (one point back).
Further, the Foxes play Arsenal, Manchester City and Chelsea in their final three games of the season. Therefore, they will be poised to pick up maximum points from this fixture.
Pellegrini is expected to miss the services of Carlos Sanchez, Andy Carroll, Andriy Yarmolenko, Winston Reid, Manuel Lanzini and Samir Nasri. However, the gaffer could have Jack Wilshere, Marko Arnautovic and Aaron Cresswell back, with the duo missing out the previous game against Manchester United.
Leicester are much more fortunate on the injury front with Daniel Amartey the only absentee from Brendan Rodgers squad.
Coming to head-to-head, the reverse fixture ended in a 1-1 draw. However, West Ham have failed to win any of their last three home games against the visitors, and none of them resulted in a clean sheet for either team.
West Ham-Leicester Prediction
Leicester have scored in each of their last eight away games, implying a goal is likely. However, they have kept only one clean sheet in their previous 13 games, thereby increasing the possibility of a Hammers goal as well.
After all, West Ham are in a decent moment as their last three defeats were against Everton, Chelsea and Manchester United, all good teams. On the other hand, 2 of the previous 4 Leicester wins were against relegated sides.
Thus, the match-up is closer than it looks and a goal-fest can be expected with the team who wants it more taking home all 3 points.
Both Teams to Score- Yes and Over 2.5 Goals @ 1.95 at Bet365
Predicted West Ham XI: Fabianski; Zabaleta, Balbuena, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Rice, Noble; Arnautovic, Snodgrass, Anderson, Hernandez
Predicted Leicester XI: Schmeichel; Pereira, Morgan, Maguire, Chilwell; Gray, Tielemans, Ndidi, Maddison, Barnes; Vardy
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