West Ham United will be hoping that their off-the-field issues involving Kurt Zouma will have no impact on their efforts to claim maximum points against Leicester City when they travel to the King Power Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The Hammers currently occupy fourth spot in the Premier League table, while the Foxes have slipped down to 12th place, 14 points behind David Moyes’s men
After bowing out of the FA Cup in the fourth round as holders of the competition, courtesy of a disappointing 4-1 defeat to Championship outfit Nottingham Forest last weekend, Leicester City suffered a 2-0 loss away at Liverpool in the Premier League on Thursday, to pile more misery on the Foxes.
Brendan Rodgers managed to get one over his former side in the reverse fixture on December 28; however, a brace from Diogo Jota helped Liverpool secure a comfortable victory at Anfield, condemning the visitors to their ninth league defeat of the campaign.
Leicester have dropped down to 12th in the Premier League table, eight places and 13 points worse off than at this stage of last season and any slim hopes of a top-four push now seem dead and buried.
Rodgers will be keen for his team to put a disappointing week behind them, but they will now prepare for a difficult fixture against Champions League-hopefuls West Ham, who have beaten the Foxes in each of the last three meetings.
After winning their last six games in 2021 at the King Power Stadium across all competitions, Leicester have since failed to win on home soil in 2022 and another defeat on Sunday could potentially move them closer to the relegation zone than the top seven.
While Leicester are not performing well on the pitch, West Ham have been criticised for their decision-making away from the field this week, following the disturbing incident involving centre-back Kurt Zouma.
Last weekend, Zouma was filmed kicking and slapping his pet cat, but despite that, David Moyes controversially selected the 27-year-old in their 1-0 win over Watford on Tuesday night, a decision which received widespread backlash from the public.
Zouma has since been fined “the maximum amount possible” by the Hammers and he has lost his sponsorship deal with Adidas, while the RSPCA have taken his pet cats away and have opened an investigation, supported by both the club and the police.
Unfortunately, the furore created by Zouma’s actions marred the fact that West Ham climbed back into the top four with victory against the Hornets, capitalising on Manchester United’s slip-up at Burnley. The Hammers are, however, only clinging on to the final Champions League spot, as Arsenal in fifth, Man United in sixth and Tottenham Hotspur in seventh all have at least one game in hand.
West Ham head into Sunday’s contest at the King Power having previously enjoyed plenty of success in front of goal against Leicester; the East Londoners have scored in 26 of their 29 top-flight meetings against the Foxes, and in their last three alone they have found the net at least three times, including their 4-1 triumph at the London Stadium earlier this season.
In-form forward Jarrod Bowen has been a standout performer for West Ham this season, contributing to 21 goals in 34 appearances across all competitions. Currently sitting on 11 goals, the 25-year-old could become the first Englishman since Carlton Cole in 2008-09 to net 12 times in a single campaign with the Hammers as a top-flight club.
Leicester City Premier League form:
Leicester City form (all competitions):
West Ham United Premier League form:
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We say: Leicester City 2-3 West Ham United
Goals are to be expected in an intriguing contest at the King Power Stadium this weekend, with each of the last six meetings between Leicester and West Ham having seen at least three goals scored.
While Zouma’s situation might have disrupted Moyes’s preparations, the Hammers will have plenty of attacking talent capable of breaching Leicester’s leaky backline, which could help the visitors come away with all three points.a