High-flying West Ham host bottom of the table Leicester City on Saturday looking for their fourth victory in five matches.
The Hammers are currently sitting pretty in fourth place on double the amount of points they had at this stage last season. They have been the surprise package of the campaign, even outshining a much-hyped Southampton side.
Sam Allardyce’s outfit have only lost two in their last 13 matches, whereas Leicester have only won twice in total this season and have taken just one point from a possible 27 over their last nine matches. It looks set to be another miserable afternoon for Nigel Pearson’s men.
West Ham are all but one player away from a complete squad, Mark Noble remains sidelined with an Achilles problem, though he is expected to return for the Chelsea clash.
Allardyce will be delighted to have the luxury of a selection headache during such a frantic time of the Premier League season and it is expected he will once again go with Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho up top.
Leicester striker David Nugent could return after missing last week's defeat by Manchester City with a calf injury which would be a big boost to a side that is struggling for goals.
Full-back Ritchie de Laet should also be available after illness but Kasper Schmeichel and Matthew Upson remain out.
HARD BATTLE IN-STORE
Leicester have failed to beat the Hammers at Upton Park since 2000 and West Ham are undefeated in their last six league meetings with the Foxes.
It won’t be a walk in the park, though, as Allardyce has stated this is the most important match of his team’s season. They will not be taking it lightly and know that Leicester will put up a strong fight, as they did in the 1-0 defeat to Man City last time out.
They may not have won since the famous victory at Old Trafford, but Leicester are difficult to beat and they very rarely lose by more than the odd goal. West Ham will need to ensure they are more clinical than they were at Sunderland and take their chances when they arise.
Leonardo Ulloa is the man West Ham’s defence will have to be extremely wary of. The striker got off to a superb start to the season, scoring five goals in his first five matches, however he then went nine matches without a goal until the strike against Aston Villa two weeks ago.
He is a great finisher, with both his feet and his head, so the Hammers will have to ensure they don’t gift him any opportunities to find the net. If Nugent comes back into the starting XI to partner the Argentine, too, they will pose even more of a threat.
Leicester have good pace on the counter and this will be where they will most likely look to catch West Ham out, however the Irons are brimming with attacking prowess and they could inflict a lot of punishment on the Foxes if their strikers are at their best.
WEST HAM: PREDICTED XI
Adrian, Jenkinson, Reid, Tomkins, Cresswell; Song, Kouyate, Nolan, Downing; Sakho, Carroll.
West Ham 3-1 Leicester City
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