West Ham United and Leicester City will be eager to make it two wins in a row at the start of the season when they meet at the London Stadium on Monday.
Gameweek 2 of the 2021/22 Premier League season will come to an end with some Monday night action, with just one game remaining in this round of fixtures. This game will be played at the London Stadium, where West Ham United will play hosts to Leicester City.
West Ham United have entered the season with a lot of optimism and frustration surrounding them – the former because they are set to play in Europe this season, the latter because there has barely been any investment to improve the squad. Nevertheless, the Hammers opened their campaign with a come-from-behind 4-2 win over Newcastle United last weekend.
Leicester City, on the other hand, come into 2021/22 raring to finally end their curse of finishing outside the top four by the barest of margins. The Foxes remain one of the better teams in the Premier League and they proved their credentials for the season with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers last weekend, with Jamie Vardy scoring the only goal of the game.
The corresponding fixture last season saw West Ham eke out a narrow 3-2 win over Leicester, with the Foxes only managing two late goals from Kelechi Iheanacho. Ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter.
Team News & Tactics
West Ham United
David Moyes does not have any fresh roster issue hampering his preparations ahead of the visit of Leicester City. On Monday, the West Ham United manager will be bereft of the services of just one first-team player, with Arthur Masuaku recovering from a knee injury.
The absence of Masuaku hardly hurts West Ham, owing to the presence of Aaron Cresswell in the side. Cresswell will be the danger man from the left flank and set-pieces, with Vladimir Coufal being the other full-back for West Ham. At the heart of their defence, there is no looking past Craig Dawson and Angelo Ogbonna while Lukasz Fabianski picks himself in goal.
Up ahead in midfield, Declan Rice will continue as part of a solid double pivot that will also have Tomas Soucek. There have been suggestions recently that Rice is exasperated by the price tag that has been placed on him, although he is unlikely to leave West Ham this summer, meaning his partnership with Soucek will continue.
As for the attacking unit, Michail Antonio will continue leading the line for West Ham against Leicester, with the support coming from the likes of Jarrod Bowen, Said Benrahma and Pablo Fornals, with Benrahma, in particular, proving to be a key player higher up the pitch early in the season.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Fabianski; Coufal, Dawson, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Rice, Soucek; Bowen, Benrahma, Fornals; Antonio
Unlike his counterpart in the West Ham United dugout, Brendan Rodgers has a host of fitness-related issues to deal with ahead of the trip to the London Stadium. On Monday, the Leicester City boss will have to make do without as many as five first-team players.
While James Justin (knee) and Wesley Fofana (calf) remain long-term absentees for Leicester while the likes of Jonny Evans (ankle), Nampalys Mendy (groin) and Ryan Bertrand (coronavirus) all on the sidelines as well.
In the absence of Bertrand, Timothy Castagne is likely to get the nod over Luke Thomas to play at left-back, with Ricardo Pereira an automatic pick on the right flank. At the heart of the Leicester defence, Caglar Soyuncu ought to pair up with new boy Jannik Vestergaard, with Daniel Amartey making way for him while Kasper Schmeichel will take his place between the sticks.
Up ahead in midfield, Wilfred Ndidi will be the man dictating the tempo of the game while looking to keep a check on Said Benrahma. Ndidi will have usual partner Youri Tielemans for company in the double pivot, with the Belgian playmaker pulling the strings from midfield.
In front of him, James Maddison will take up advanced positions, looking to set central striker Jamie Vardy up with a barrage of chances. Finally, the two wide men ought to be Ayoze Perez and Harvey Barnes, who has recently penned a brand new long-term deal with Leicester.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Schmeichel; Pereira, Soyuncu, Castagne; Ndidi, Tielemans; Perez, Maddison, Barnes; Vardy
- West Ham United completed a league double over Leicester City last season; the Hammers are looking to record three consecutive Premier League wins over the Foxes for the first time since winning their first four in the competition against them between November 1994 and April 1997.
- Leicester have kept a clean sheet in just 11% of their Premier League games against West Ham (3/28), only keeping a clean sheet in a lower percentage of games against Manchester United (7%) among teams they’ve faced at least 15 times in the division.
- West Ham have lost their first home league match of the season in each of the last three campaigns, scoring once and conceding nine times in these matches.
- Leicester City only won their opening away Premier League match in four of their previous 15 seasons in the division, with two of those victories coming over West Ham in 2000/01 and 2015/16.
- Michail Antonio could become West Ham’s outright top scorer in the Premier League in this game, after drawing level with Paolo Di Canio with his goal last time out (47). Antonio has netted in each of his last two starts against Leicester in the competition, scoring once in each.
Player to Watch
The likes of Jamie Vardy, Michail Antonio and Declan Rice bring the start quality in this fixture and will hold the key for their respective teams. However, we have gone with Said Benrahma here as he continues to come of age after a rather difficult 2020/21 campaign with West Ham United.
The Algerian playmaker is now becoming a key player in the final third for the Hammers, with Antonio benefitting a lot from his outlook to play efficient balls quickly and at pace. Will Benrahma deliver the goods again in the final third or can Leicester find a way to keep a lid on his output? Only time will tell.
West Ham United 1-1 Leicester City
This is a fixture that does not seem to have a lot of goals in it. Leicester City ought to dominate the proceedings, although they might struggle to create chances at a consistent rate if James Maddison is not quite at his best, fitness wise.
On the opposite end, Leicester will form an extremely solid defensive unit, which will keep Michail Antonio out of the game for large portions. However, in the end, the quality of Said Benrahma ought to shine through for West Ham while for Leicester, Kelechi Iheanacho should be on target. In the end, though, there will unlikely be much to separate them and The Hard Tackle predicts a 1-1 draw here.