29 December 2019
West Ham United and Leicester City will face off at the Olympic Stadium in contrasting circumstances. While the visitors chase a top-four finish in the Premier League (PL), another failure could see the home side find themselves in the relegation territory.
A dismal 2-1 away defeat to Crystal Palace on Boxing Day now means that the hosts have suffered three defeats in their last four PL outings (W1, L3), as they currently hover only one point clear of the relegation zone. The Irons have been dealing with all sorts of problems lately, picking up just two triumphs in their past 12 league fixtures (W2, D2, L8). The main source of West Ham’s struggling has been a fragile defense that has conceded two or more goals on nine occasions during that 12-game sequence. Hence, keeping a clean sheet could prove vital in their efforts to secure three points here. In fact, four of their five top-flight victories this season have seen the Hammers shut out their rivals, with a 3-1 away win over Watford being a sole exception.
Meanwhile, Leicester’s dip in form has seen them go from eight consecutive PL triumphs to three straight league games without a win (D1, L2). Both of those defeats have, however, come against the top-three sides, and each has seen them concede over 2.5 match goals. But, the Foxes have been much more convincing facing the bottom-seven teams. Brendan Rodgers’ players have claimed 16 of 24 points available across such fixtures (W5, D1), scoring 21 goals while conceding just three. Also, Leicester have avoided defeat in each of their last four top-flight trips to West Ham (W2, D2), with all of those clashes seeing both teams score.
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