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Preview: Leicester City vs. West Ham United - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Premier League clash between leaders Leicester City and West Ham United, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Early Premier League leaders Leicester City will look to continue their 100% start to the season when they welcome West Ham United to the King Power Stadium on Sunday.

Both sides go into the match off the back of big wins last weekend, when Leicester thumped Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium and West Ham shocked Wolverhampton Wanderers.


Match preview

Leicester City's Dennis Praet celebrates scoring against Burnley in the Premier League on September 20, 2020© Reuters

History beckons for Leicester this weekend as they bid to win their opening four league games of a season for the first time ever, and they will be firm favourites to do so too.

Last weekend's incredible 5-2 triumph at Manchester City, in which they won and scored three penalties, was a real statement of intent from the Foxes after they tailed off in the second half of last season and ultimately missed out on the Champions League places.

The early signs suggest that Brendan Rodgers's side are more than capable of pushing for the top four again; not only do they sit top of the table with three wins from three, but they are also the division's top scorers with 12 goals from those three outings - three more than the next leading scorers Liverpool.

Indeed, no team since 2012 has registered as many goals in their opening three league games of a season, the Foxes having scored three past West Bromwich Albion, four past Burnley and then five at Man City.

Leicester City's Jamie Vardy claims the match ball after his hat-trick against Manchester City on September 27, 2020© Reuters

Jamie Vardy has once again been leading the charge with five goals already this term, and he will fancy his chances of causing problems for a West Ham defence that is not exactly renowned for keeping goals out.

Indeed, the Hammers have only kept three Premier League clean sheets this calendar year, which is fewer than any other club to have played in both seasons.

Curiously, all of those clean sheets have come in 4-0 wins, so when West Ham do keep the opposition at bay they tend to make an event of it - most recently at home to Wolves last weekend.

That 4-0 win was the most surprising yet as West Ham picked up their first points of the season, having been beaten at home by Newcastle United and lost to Arsenal prior to that.

West Ham United's Jarrod Bowen celebrates scoring against Wolves on September 27, 2020© Reuters

It is in their last two games - against stronger opposition on paper - that they have produced their best performances, so David Moyes will be eager for that trend to continue with Leicester, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City and Liverpool in their next four league outings.

Moyes will still be watching on from home due to his positive coronavirus test, having seen his side suffer mixed fortunes during his absence so far, the 4-0 win over Wolves being followed up by a 4-1 defeat to Everton in the EFL Cup in midweek.

West Ham have not enjoyed much success away from home under the Scot so far, winning only four of their 23 such games in the league - including 14 defeats, eight of which have come in their last 11.

By contrast, Leicester have not lost to London opposition since Rodgers took over at the club, a run which includes six wins and stretches back to February 2019.

Leicester City Premier League form: WWW
Leicester City form (all competitions): WWLW

West Ham United Premier League form: LLW
West Ham United form (all competitions): LWLWWL


Team News

Leicester City defender Jonny Evans pictured in July 2020© Reuters

The one downside to Leicester's triumph at the Etihad was that Dennis Praet, Jamie Vardy and Jonny Evans all came off with fitness issues, although the latter two are expected to be fine to start this match.

Praet is more of a doubt and will be monitored in the build-up to the game, while new signing Cengiz Under is still awaiting international clearance and so is expected to miss out again.

Another new signing joined on Friday as Leicester completed a deal worth up to £36m for Wesley Fofana, but Rodgers may decide against throwing the 19-year-old straight into the starting lineup, particularly if Evans is passed fit.

Ricardo Pereira, Wilfred Ndidi and Filip Benkovic remain sidelined through injury, but Demarai Gray is expected to recover from illness in time to be available.

James Maddison, who came off the bench to score a stunner at Man City, is likely to replace Praet in the starting lineup, while Harvey Barnes is expected to start again fresh from his England call-up.

Vardy will again be considered the main goal threat, although he has only found the back of the net in two of his last 12 home league games and West Ham may be just as wary of Ayoze Perez, who had a hand in four of Leicester's six goals in their two meetings last season.

West Ham's own main goal threat comes from Michail Antonio, who has scored all of the team's last six Premier League away goals and could become the first Hammers player to score in five consecutive top-flight away matches since Mike Small in 1991.

Moyes made a string of changes in midweek but one of those to come in - Ben Johnson - could retain his starting spot after Ryan Fredericks picked up a hamstring strain last weekend.

Issa Diop and Josh Cullen remain unavailable due to coronavirus, but the likes of Jarrod Bowen, Tomas Soucek, Declan Rice and Pablo Fornals are all expected to return to the XI.

Leicester City possible starting lineup:
Schmeichel; Castagne, Evans, Soyuncu, Justin; Ayoze, Tielemans, Mendy, Maddison, Barnes; Vardy

West Ham United possible starting lineup:
Fabianski; Johnson, Balbuena, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Masuaku; Bowen, Soucek, Rice, Fornals; Antonio


SM words green background

We say: Leicester City 3-1 West Ham United

West Ham have not kept back-to-back clean sheets in the Premier League since September 2019, and we cannot see them pulling off that achievement against the league's highest scorers this weekend.

The Hammers should be full of confidence after their win last week, but Leicester are flying even higher at the moment and we expect their perfect start to continue.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data


Video prediction

Watch the Sports Mole Football Shorts prediction for this game below:


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Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers pictured on July 1, 2020
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