Leicester v West Ham: preview, predicted line-up

Leicester City players (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
Leicester City players (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images) /
Leicester City players (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
Leicester City players (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images) /

Leicester City host West Ham United on Sunday afternoon as they look to win their first four league games for the first time in their history.

Sunday’s contest will be Leicester City’s chance to continue their recent form against West Ham, having won both matches last season and only losing once in the previous 11 Premier League meetings.

This season has been one of the Foxes’ best starts to a season, earning maximum points in their opening three games. With comfortable victories over West Brom and Burnley, the Foxes caused the shock of the season last Sunday with a 5-2 victory at Manchester City.

A tactical masterclass from Brendan Rodgers at the Etihad has provided Leicester with a great opportunity to replicate Everton’s perfect start with four wins in four against David Moyes’ side.

The opponents

Sunday’s opposition travel to the East Midlands in good form, despite the mid-week Carabao Cup defeat to Everton. Last Sunday, they defeated the odds and beat Wolves 4-0 at London Stadium.

Jarrod Bowen’s double and a Sebastien Haller header, alongside a Raul Jimenez own goal, handed the Hammers a comfortable victory over a lacklustre Wolves side.

The victory over Nuno Espirito Santo’s men was West Ham’s first Premier League win since their 3-1 win over Watford in July. They started this season with two defeats, with two very contrasting performances.

In the opening weekend, they were easily beaten by Newcastle United at home, despite being favourites. Seven days later, a hard-fought performance at Arsenal nearly earnt a point, only for Eddie Nketiah’s late goal to hand Mikel Arteta’s side all three points.

Worryingly for the Hammers, under David Moyes, they have won only four of their 23 away games, losing 14 times. In their previous 11 league away games, their only win came at Norwich City last season.

With Jamie Vardy on five goals already this season, keeping their first consecutive clean sheet since 2019 seems a high ask.

Sunday offers a chance for Vladimir Coufal to make his debut for the club following his arrival from Slavia Prague, who could replace Ryan Fredericks at right-back after picking up a hamstring injury.

West Ham will also welcome back Issa Diop and Josh Cullen back after their 10-day self-isolation following their positive coronavirus tests.

Team news

Leicester will have Cengiz Under available to make his debut following his loan move from Roma, but we might have to wait for Wesley Fofana to make his debut as the centre-back is waiting for international clearance.

Despite being replaced at Manchester City, Jonny Evans is available for selection, alongside Jamie Vardy who showed signs of a hip injury at Etihad.

Unfortunately for the Foxes, Dennis Praet is unlikely to feature due to a knee injury, whilst Ricardo Pereira remains out due to his Achilles injury.

Previous meeting

In the history of both clubs, there have been 134 competitive meetings, with the Foxes being victorious 49 times.

The most recent meeting came in January and saw Leicester outclass the London side at King Power Stadium. Harvey Barnes opened the scoring before Pereira doubled their lead before half-time.

After the restart, Mark Noble made it 2-1 from the spot before Ayoze Perez restored the hosts two-goal lead from the spot himself. The former-Newcastle forward made it 4-1 to see the Foxes return to winning ways.

Earlier in the season, less than a month prior, Rodgers made nine changes to his squad in a hectic Christmas period as Demarai Gray‘s goal sent the Foxes four points clear of Manchester City in third place.

Predicted Leicester City line-up

Following Rodgers’ tactical switch at Manchester City, it is likely that he will revert back to his usual and preferred 4-1-4-1 formation against West Ham.

James Justin and Timothy Castagne have both impressed in all three games so far this season and will start either side of Jonny Evans and Caglar Soyuncu.

Usually, with Wilfred Ndidi injured, there would be a element of worry within the Foxes supporters. However, Nempalys Mendy’s performance in the opening three games has meant that the security in front of the back four remains strong.

Mendy’s influence in the Foxes midfield has been instrumental to how Leicester have begun the season. Now, there is confidence in Mendy to fill the gap of Ndidi.

Ahead of him, Youri Tielemans could be partnered by James Maddison due to Praet’s potential twisted knee. With Perez yet to find the net this term, Under could be handed his debut on the right with Harvey Barnes set to start on the left.

Vardy will obviously start up-front and will be hoping to score his fourth goal in his 10th meeting against the Hammers.

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Predicted line-up: Kasper Schmeichel; Timothy Castagne, Jonny Evans, Caglar Soyuncu, James Justin; Nempalys Mendy, Cengiz Under, Youri Tielemans, James Maddison, Harvey Barnes; Jamie Vardy.