Three matches are scheduled to take place in the English Premier League on Wednesday 22 January and two of that trio enjoy the live TV treatment. One game played under the bright lights of the BT Sport cameras is Leicester vs West Ham at the King Power which carries a 19:30 GMT kick-off time. We expect a bumper audience for this one, both at the stadium and watching the coverage on televisions, tablets and mobile phones.
Leicester have been impressive so far this season, but their recent form has some critics suggesting the bubble is about to burst. West Ham is in a heap of trouble at the wrong end of the table and needs to put distance between themselves and the bottom three. Both teams require the points for different reasons, but both will be confident in their ability to get them and push on with January. Who will come out on top? Bookmakers offer over 100 betting markets on this game, including match winner, both teams to score and first goalscorer. Our team preview Leicester vs West Ham, picking through the best of the odds before making our predictions and tips.
Foxes the Surprise Package
Leicester City started the season like a train under Brendan Rodgers. The Northern Irishman’s former club Celtic were up in arms when he decided to leave them for a return to the English Premier League but he had proved a point in the Scottish Premiership, winning back-to-back domestic trebles and laying the foundations for three on the bounce. His results at The Foxes proves he made the right move and Rodgers has Leicester on-track for a top-four finish and return to the Champions League. That would have been unthinkable this time last year.
The home team have already recorded their fair share of upset wins so far this term, winning matches they were expected to and beating teams who had been favourites for the points. For as impressive as they have been so far, however, ranking as the dark horse of the league, recent results hint that they have gone off the boil. Is that the case? Will we now see Leicester lose momentum and drop out of the top four? They started the year with a 3-0 win over Newcastle United at St James Park, heaping misery on The Magpies. They then had no trouble beating Wigan at the King Power Stadium to advance to the Fourth Round of the FA Cup.
When hosting relegation-threatened Aston Villa in the semi-final of the EFL Cup, however, Leicester managed only a 1-1 draw in a game they were expected to win with a bit to spare. Then came their first loss of the year when beating at home by Southampton. The Saints are stuck at the wrong end of the charts, but recent form suggests they won’t be there for too much longer. They scored a seriously impressive 2-1 win over Leicester on 11 January. Despite that reverse, the home win has been priced up as favourite, as expected. Followers can trust Leicester City at 4/7 (Ladbrokes).
Hammers are Improving
West Ham made another poor start to the season and the team from East London can’t continue to handicap themselves like that and expect to remain in the Premier League for too many more seasons. It has become somewhat of an unwanted tradition in recent years, falling out of the blocks and spending the first half of the season in the lower half of the list, fighting to put room between themselves and the bottom three.
The Hammers scored an emphatic 4-0 win over Bournemouth in their first game of 2020 and that added some much-needed confidence to the ranks. They followed that with a 2-0 away win over Gillingham to keep alive their FA Cup dreams. West Ham then suffered their first defeat of the year when sinking to a 1-0 loss away to an impressive Sheffield United. They did score a late equaliser than evening and celebrated snatching a point, only to have it disallowed following a VAR check. That was for handball, but it did look extremely unfair and saw the VAR system make headlines for all the wrong reasons once again.
West Ham is improving, that is plain for all to see, and if they continue to improve, they will pull themselves free of the bottom half soon. The Hammers have been written off by the money men here, however, 24/5 served up by William Hill.