Ahead of West Ham’s busy Christmas period manager Sam Allardyce has stated that the game against Leicester City on Saturday is the most important of the club’s season.
Currently sitting fourth in the table, two points ahead of Arsenal and Southampton while only three points off of third place Manchester United, the Hammers know a victory over the Foxes is vital.
Following the Leicester match and in the space of three days they face London rivals Chelsea and Arsenal, which places more importance on them picking up three points prior to those fixtures.
Allardyce told reporters: “Leicester we’re looking forward to and then obviously to two of the London boys in a short period of time - Chelsea and Arsenal - but Leicester, for me, is the most important game of the season.
“They’re a team that are trying extremely hard and are extremely difficult to beat because even though they haven’t won since Manchester United, they very rarely lose by more than the odd goal.”
It will be a tough test for the Irons but it is one they will be confident of passing, they’ve only lost one in their last 10 games and they haven’t lost at home since way back in August – when they were defeated by Tottenham and Southampton.
TAKING NO CHANCES
Allardyce won’t make the mistake of underestimating the opponent and it seems he is doing his best to ensure the players are all fired up ahead of a clash that could see them remain in a Champions League spot over Christmas.
“There’s a lot of dangers in Nigel’s side that we’ve got to be very well aware of,” he said.
“We can’t take them as if they’re just going to come and lie down, they won’t, so we’ve got full focus on the right performance to get the right result on Saturday to move on from there.”
Leicester currently sit rock bottom of the Premier League but they put in a resilient performance in their 1-0 loss to Manchester City last time out which will have instilled them with confidence after previously losing three on the bounce.
NEED TO BE CLINICAL
West Ham were wasteful in their 1-1 draw away at Sunderland last week and the manager will be hoping they can recapture the clinical edge in front of goal that has served them so well throughout the campaign.
Against a Leicester defence that has conceded the second highest amount of goals thus far (27) they should be able to create plenty of chances, but it will be up to the likes of Diafra Sakho and Andy Carroll to provide the finishing touches that evaded them at the Stadium of Light.
POTENTIAL BANANA SKIN
This match could prove to be a banana skin for the Hammers as if they lose it they could then quite easily go on their worst run of the campaign with the fixtures they have on the horizon which would be detrimental to their success this season.
However, a win would take the pressure off for the Chelsea and Arsenal matches, allowing them to play with more freedom which could perhaps help them to take some more points ahead of the new year.