Leicester City host an in-form West Ham United tomorrow as the foxes look to end 2016 in the same fashion that they started it in.
Our Prediction: Leicester City 1 – 1 West Ham
Reasoning: Leicester City started 2016 in spectacular fashion, following their final game of 2015 which ended in a 0 – 0 draw with Manchester City at the King Power, the fearless foxes went onto draw their next game, also 0 – 0 at home to Bournemouth which ended a particularly troublesome run of fixtures that was ‘meant’ to end their title hopes.
Flash forward a calendar year and Leicester are struggling to win points both home and away against sides of any calibre following their second defeat at the King Power Stadium this season, this time to Everton.
Their defensive frailties have let them down time and time again this season however without the attacking outlet of Vardy up front, Leicester never looked like winning.
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The defeat, along with results elsewhere has left Leicester in 16th place, just 3 points above the drop and with Vardy still suspended, the foxes need to find a solution.
One such solution would be to try Demarai Gray as a striker, therefore fixing the issue of Gray deserving game-time over Riyad Mahrez and Mahrez also having the chance to shine as fans pray that he’ll show us a glimpse of what made him so special last season.
Instead of showing us his brilliance, Mahrez has reportedly not been trying hard enough in training, hence Claudio Ranieri dropping him from the starting 11 and rightly so. No player is bigger than the club and Mahrez will learn that the easy or the hard way.
West Ham had a troubled start to the season, with Slaven Bilić struggling to get the Hammers firing on all cylinders.
Following their latest two wins in a row the question remains, are West Ham back to their best or are they simply playing the worst in the league?
Their upturn in form came following their 3 – 2 defeat to local rivals Tottenham midway through November, since then the hammers have won 2 in 4, beating Swansea and Sunderland, drawing to Stoke and losing to Everton.
Their 4 – 1 win over Swansea which subsequently got the Swans’ manager Bob Bradley fired, rather than being an impressive attacking display, was a poor defensive display from Swansea.
Should Leicester’s defence hold tight and play to the best of their ability, which we all know they are capable of, Leicester should have no trouble holding out West Ham for at least a draw.
With Slimani expected to play up front alongside either Okazaki, Musa or Demarai Gray, the Hammers’ defence will be tested throughout the match.
Kick-off: 15:00 (GMT)
Date: 31st December 2016
Stadium: King Power Stadium
Available on NBC Sports Live
Available on BBC Radio Leicester
Available on BBC Radio 5 Live
Text Streams will also be available from various websites i.e The Telegraph, BBC Sports news feed, Sky Sports News etc as well as Leicester’s Twitter account (@LCFC).
Head to Head:
Leicester City: 45
West Ham: 51
20 Dec 2014: West Ham 2 – 0 Leicester
04 Apr 2015: Leicester 2 – 1 West Ham
15 Aug 2015: West Ham 1 – 2 Leicester
22 Sep 2015: Leicester 2 – 1 West Ham
17 Apr 2016: Leicester 2 – 2 West Ham