David Moyes got off to the worst possible start as West Ham manager last Saturday but has a good chance to put things right on Friday night when Leicester City visit London Stadium.
The 2-0 defeat to Watford last weekend did nothing to ease fears of relegation despite a handful of positive spells that we should’ve take full advantage of, but didn’t.
It’s the story of our season so far – glimpses of promises but rarely anything to show for it. The big worry is that for the most part we’ve been awful while it was encouraging to see Moyes arrive and be so involved on the training pitch, it’s the results that really matter.
Losing to Watford makes our next two games even bigger. The visit of Leicester represents a good chance to prove we’ve got the fight to climb up the table on our own turf, and then the trip Goodison Park next Wednesday night does not look as daunting as it usually does.
Moyes called for his big name players to show them why they have such impressive reputations, and that must start against Leicester. The likes of Cheikhou Kouyate, Aaron Cresswell, Mark Noble, Winston Reid and Marko Arnautovic must start performing and showing the ability we all know they have.
If it were me I’d drop a few of them and hand some of the youngsters a go instead – that would send a message to the established first team members that their position in the team is no longer safe. Like or or lump it should be the message from Moyes from now on, because it seems the majority of the squad have gotten so used to a relaxed and lackadaisical regime under Slaven Biic.
Andre Ayew and Javier Hernandez may also return to squad following illness and injury respectively, which would be a huge boost in attack, while there’s absolutely no reason why Toni Martinez shouldn’t be handed some minutes at some point.
Given our form this season it’s no real surprise to see that Paddy Power have got us at 13/8 to win on Friday night, while Leicester are slight favourites at 7/4. You can get the draw at 9/4, which could be the more likely result if the two sides approach this game cautiously as expected. You wouldn’t find me backing the Hammers as I normally jynx the result when I do, but if you’re looking for a punt on us winning for once then why not grap a Paddy Power free bet, at least then you won’t be pushing losing your own hard earned money if we do lose.
As mentioned above, Andre Ayew will have hopefully recovered from the illness that kept him out of the Watford game, while Chicharito and Michail Antonio are expected to go through late fitness tests. The return of all three this weekend would be a huge boost to our chances of getting all three points.
As far as Leicester’s team news goes, new manager Claude Puel pretty much has a fully fit squad to choose from, with the exceptions of Matty James and Robert Huth who are both a couple of weeks away from returning to first team action.
If there’s one thing we learned from the defeat to Watford it’s that just aimlessly lumping the ball up to Carroll just doesn’t work. We need to have focus and a method to our madness, which should be to keep the ball on the floor, use the flanks to create width and then get the ball in to the box from wide areas.
If we can do that then we have a huge opportunity to win this game. Leicester will be looking to exploit our defensive frailties with their notorious counter attacking approach but, if we can nullify that and score early on, then we’ll be on the right track. It’s all easier said than done though, isn’t it.
I’ll go for West Ham 2-1 Leicester City.