Leicester City take on West Ham United at the King Power Stadium on Saturday looking to bounce back from a humiliating 5-0 loss at the hands of Crystal Palace last week.
The Foxes have won just two of their last ten league games, and have lost three of their last four, culminating in last weekend’s loss. Manager Claude Puel is coming under more pressure, with reports suggesting that the French boss has until the end of the season to convince the board that he is the right man for the job.
While Leicester will possibly be battling for their manager’s future, visitors West Ham will be looking for three points in order to ensure that they will still be in the Premier League next season.
The Hammers are currently in 15th place, just three points clear of the third and final relegation spot with three games to play. A win in this match could go a long way to easing any worries that West Ham fans may have.
Leicester 2-2 West Ham (April 2016)
This fixture is usually one that brings drama. but the most dramatic recent meeting between the two clubs came during Leicester’s title winning season in 2016.
With Leicester top of the league, but being chased down by Tottenham, the Foxes knew that three points in this game would put them a step closer to clinching an historic first Premier League title.
And the game started just the way that Leicester would have hoped, with Jamie Vardy expertly finishing a classic Leicester counter attack to give the Foxes a 1-0 lead going into the half time break.
The drama started early in the second half when goalscorer Vardy was sent off following a second yellow card, which was shown to him for an alleged dive – much to the annoyance of 30,000 Leicester fans and Vardy himself.
Leicester did well to almost see out the game, but referee Jon Moss made himself even more unpopular with the majority of the crowd when he awarded West Ham a penalty with six minutes left to play. Andy Carroll made no mistake from the spot.
Things got worse for Leicester’s title hopes when, just two minutes later, Aaron Cresswell found the top corner with a left footed shot from just outside of the area.
As time was slipping away, Jeff Schlupp went down in the box under a tackle from Andy Carroll and referee Moss pointed to the spot. With Leicester’s usual penalty taker watching from the dressing room, Leonardo Ulloa stepped up and showed nerves of steel to convert the penalty that snatched the Foxes an all important point.
Riyad Mahrez vs. Aaron Cresswell
Riyad Mahrez has arguably been back to his best during spells of this season. The Algeria international has ten goals and nine assists this season, almost double what he achieved last term. Although the 27-year-old has failed to score or assist in his last five games, and was almost non-existent in last week’s loss against Crystal Palace.
In recent games, Mahrez has been lining up on the right side of midfield – with the flexibility of drifting inside. If this is the case this week, then it will be the job of West Ham left back Aaron Cresswell to keep him quiet.
Cresswell scored his first goal of the season in the 4-1 loss against Manchester City last week, but his main task this week will be trying to extinguish the threat that Mahrez brings.
Leicester will be without winger come full back Marc Albrighton, who will be serving his one game ban following his red card last week. That one game ban could increase, as the player was charged by the FA for his reaction to the referee following the sending off.
Wilfred Ndidi was forced from the field of play at Palace due to what looked like a hamstring injury, and is unlikely to be fit. Kasper Schmeichel has missed the last two games due to an ankle injury picked up in the loss to Burnley last month and is a doubt. Shinji Okazaki also remains a doubt for the game due to a knee injury. Midfielders Vicente Iborra and Matty James are both ruled out for the remainder of the season.
West Ham also have a few injury problems of their own with Michail Antonio, James Collins, Winston Reid, Sam Bryan and Pedro Obiang all expected to miss the match through injury.
Striker Andy Carroll was sent home from training in the week following a furious bust-up with manager David Moyes, But he is expected to be available for selection at the King Power after returning to training the following day.
Both teams will be looking to get back to winning ways this weekend, and will see this as an opportunity to put another three points on the board.
West Ham still do need points to ensure their Premier League safety, with Leicester already having achieved that feat.
Leicester’s loss on Saturday was described as ‘shambolic’ by striker Jamie Vardy, and may have given the players a wake up call ahead of the last three games of the season – meaning that Leicester could come out determined to put things right. If they are on their game, Leicester will have too much for the Hammers.
Prediction: Leicester 2-1 West Ham
Prediction: Leicester 2-1 West Ham