West Ham vs Leicester predictions: Foxes' focus now on the up
- Leicester arrive in superb form having turned their season around
- West Ham appear to be flagging due to a demanding schedule
- Recommended bet: Leicester draw no bet
James Maddison is the talk of Leicester after his unexpected call-up to the England World Cup squad and the upturn in the midfielder’s international fortunes are mirrored by the Foxes’ recent upward trajectory.
Brendan Rodgers’ side made a dreadful start to 2022-23, taking just one point from their first seven Premier League games to sit bottom of the division.
However, a run of four wins and a draw — and a respectable 1-0 defeat to Manchester City — from their last seven league matches means victory on Saturday could send Leicester up to 11th place and leave them poised for an assault on the top half after the World Cup.
And West Ham’s recent form suggests that the visitors might just be able to do that.
The Hammers have struggled to get going in the Premier League this season and last weekend’s defeat to Crystal Palace combined with a midweek Carabao Cup exit at home to second-tier Blackburn adds to the sense that David Moyes’ men are starting to flag.
Moyes has a near fully-fit squad to choose from, but attacker Maxwel Cornet has not played since the start of October with a calf issue and Emerson Palmieri is a slight doubt after he came off in midweek with a knock.
Rodgers has had no luck with his wing-backs this season and left-sided James Justin could miss the rest of 2022-23 after rupturing his Achilles tendon in midweek.
Justin joins fellow wing-backs and long-term absentees Ricardo Pereira and Ryan Bertrand on the sidelines, while centre-back Caglar Soyuncu is expected to again miss out with a hamstring injury.
Leicester were very impressive at Everton last weekend, recording 2.3 expected goals to the Toffees’ 1.2 in a thoroughly deserved 2-0 win.
That performance arrived on the back of a solid display against Manchester City, who struggled to break Leicester down and won 1-0 thanks to a stunning free-kick.
That Kevin De Bruyne pearler was the only goal Leicester have conceded in their last six outings, with the Foxes beating Carabao Cup opponents Newport County 3-0, Everton 2-0, Wolves 4-0 and Leeds 2-0 — with a 0-0 draw against Crystal Palace preceding that.
West Ham have played 23 matches this season compared to Leicester’s 16 and the fatigue is starting to show, with the Hammers producing their worst performance of the season last weekend when losing 2-1 at home to Crystal Palace.
That result made it three defeats in four Premier League outings for Moyes’ men — albeit two of those were tough trips to Liverpool and Manchester United.
This match is tricky to call as Leicester have looked a different side of late, with credit going to Rodgers, the board for not prematurely firing him and to the Foxes' established players who have stood up to put in some fine displays.
Perhaps the most important factor, however, has been the impact made by new signing Wout Faes, who has settled in superbly to shore up an alarmingly porous defence.
Since a 6-2 defeat at Tottenham in a baptism of fire for Faes, the Foxes have conceded just three goals in eight games.
Prior to his arrival, Leicester had conceded 16 goals in seven — a remarkable turnaround in defensive resilience.
West Ham’s recent record is skewed by away trips to Anfield and Old Trafford, but in truth the Hammers have failed to land any seriously significant results in the Premier League this term.
Moyes' men claimed victory against struggling trio Aston Villa, Wolves and Bournemouth when all three were low on confidence and out of form, and also gained a hugely fortunate win against Fulham, thanks to a series of ropey refereeing decisions.
But their other 10 league games have returned just two draws and eight defeats as West Ham have struggled against better opponents.