Friday Night Football returns to the Premier League this weekend as David Moyes takes charge of his first home game as West Ham manager as they play host to Leicester City on Friday evening following defeat to Watford last Sunday.
The Hammers lost by 2 goals to nil owing to goals from Will Hughes and Richarlison which has left the East London side languishing in the relegation zone and with only 1 win in 6 games – and that was the famous 3-2 win at Tottenham. The final whistle at Vicarage Road brought about large sections of the away following venting frustratingly towards the players but most of the heckling was towards the West Ham hierachy; joint- chairmans Daivd Gold and David Sullivan and Vice chairman Karren Brady.
After the game, Moyes gave his first post match comments where he stated he was aware he had a big problem on his hand but was optimistic “I want everyone to be together. I am not aware of the problems before I came, I was a bit surprised when I heard (the board criticism). I want them behind us to give us a chance of winning. But I’m looking for better quality play, I’m looking for more opportunities albeit I don’t think we’re going to get many better than the last game but we just need to improve our all-round play really”.
Leicester also come into the game after a defeat; albeit at the hands of runaway leaders Manchester City. Gabriel Jesus and Kevin De Bruyne finished off the Foxes in sweet style to clinch their 16th consecutive win. Claude Puel has won, drawn and lost in his first three games as new Leicester boss but can still see his side clinch a place in the top half of the Premier League with a win on Friday night.
The form of Jamie Vardy this season has been something to shout about this season. He has scored 6 goals and has a great record against the Hammers especially with 2 goals and 2 assists in his last four appearances against them and will be looking to fire his side to victory come the weekend. Couple this with the fact that they are unbeaten in their last four away fixtures, they look set to be favourites coming into the game.
Last time out between these two at the London Stadium, it turned out be a goal heavy game with Leicester running out 3-2 winners and thus claiming their first away win of the season. Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez and Robert Huth finding the net for the visitors while Andre Ayew and Manuel Lanzini striking back for the hosts. It was a result that eased pressure on Craig Shakespeare as they relieved some pressure away from the relegation zone.
Early signs suggest that Marko Arnautovic will be deemed fit enough to participate after test revealed he has not broken a thumb after the defeat last weekend. James Collins, Andre Ayew and Michail Antonio are also pushing for starts after illness and fitness worries have stopped them from playing in recent weeks. The sad part for the Hammers though is that Javier Hernandez is now a long term concern and will not return until early 2018 at the latest which will come as a huge blow to their Premier League fight. Leicester on the other hand have no injuries to worry about other than long term absentees Matty James and centre back Robert Huth who are both expected back next month.
It proves to be another tense game under the light in East London on Friday night. At this stage, I think for West Ham’s sake, Moyes would prefer not too lose the game at all and would be content with the draw. The barrage of abuse the owners received on Sunday was horrific and will not want to see that again in a hurry, that is why Leicester will be buoyant and fresh on the counter attack and could come away with all three points and dent another nail in the coffin for the Hammers.
Prediction: West Ham United 0-2 Leicester City