Two Champions League chasers take each other on in London, as West Ham welcome Leicester City to the London Stadium
A clash between two Champions League chasers is on offer on Sunday afternoon, when Leicester City travel to the London Stadium to take on West Ham United.
If you’d offered both sides their current league positions after 30 games at the start of the season, they’d have both snapped your hands off. Hammers fans in particular have been in dreamland this season, with David Moyes steering a team that were almost relegated last season to within touching distance of Europe’s elite competition.
As Sir Alex Ferguson used to say, it’s squeaky bum time for the two sides now, with Leicester anxious to avoid a collapse like last season, which seen them slip out of the top four in the final ten games, and into the Europa League.
You get the feeling that even a place in the Europa League would be some achievement for West Ham, but with injuries to key players coming recently, they’ll have to show even more fight to get there.
Michail Antonio and Declan Rice have been two of the Hammers’ standout players this season, but both will miss the game with Leicester. Antonio’s ongoing hamstring worries are set to ensure he’s not risked, with Rice picking up a knee injury recently that will keep him on the sidelines for this one.
As a result, Moyes will have to find a striker solution, with Antonio the only recognised senior centre forward in the squad. Andriy Yarmolenko is also out with a knee problem, so one of Jarrod Bowen or Said Benrahma could come in to lead the line.
At the back, Angelo Ogbonna is still out with an ankle injury, and Darren Randolph will miss out with a hip problem.
Leicester are still without long-term absentees James Justin and Harvey Barnes. Justin is unlikely to play again this season, but Brendan Rodgers has hopes for Barnes to return before the final game and get himself in the conversation for the European Championships this summer.
Turkish pair Cengiz Under and Caglar Soyuncu are both doubts for the trip to London, but not definitely ruled out. Under has a thigh injury, while Soyuncu was part of the Turkey international group which had an outbreak of COVID-19, so has been isolating.
If Leicester can take three points, they’ll be at least five points clear of fourth place with seven games remaining, but a defeat could make an already tight race even tighter. A win for the West Ham would put them within a point of the Foxes, and if Chelsea win at home to Crystal Palace on Saturday, two points could separate all three teams. If everything goes against West Ham, they could end the weekend as low as seventh.
West Ham United take on Leicester City on Sunday, April 11th. Kick-off is at 2.05pm.