When West Ham United and Leicester City meet at the London Stadium on Monday, both teams will be looking to make it two wins in a row to open the season.
With only one game remaining in this round of games, Gameweek 2 of the 2021/22 Premier League season will come to a close with some Monday night action. This match will take place at the London Stadium, with West Ham United hosting Leicester City.
West Ham United have a lot of hope and irritation surrounding them this season - the former because they are likely to play in Europe this season, and the latter because there has been very little investment in the squad. Despite this, the Hammers began their season with a 4-2 comeback victory over Newcastle United last Saturday.
Leicester City, on the other hand, enters the season determined to break their jinx of finishing outside the top four by the tiniest of margins. The Foxes are still one of the better teams in the Premier League, and they confirmed their credentials for the season last weekend with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers, with Jamie Vardy scoring the game's only goal.
Last season, West Ham eked out a 3-2 win over Leicester, with Kelechi Iheanacho scoring two late goals for the Foxes. The Hard Tackle examines the matchup before of the most recent meeting between the two teams.
Team News & Tactics
West Ham United
David Moyes' preparations for the visit of Leicester City are not being hampered by any new roster issues. With Arthur Masuaku recovering from a knee injury, West Ham United boss Manuel Pellegrini will be without only one first-team player on Monday.
Due to the availability of Aaron Cresswell in the side, the loss of Masuaku had little impact on West Ham. With Vladimir Coufal as the other full-back for West Ham, Cresswell will be a threat from the left side and set-pieces. Craig Dawson and Angelo Ogbonna are untouchable in the center of their defense, while Lukasz Fabianski picks himself in goal.
Declan Rice will continue to play as part of a good double pivot with Tomas Soucek up front in midfield. Rice has been said to be irritated by the price tag placed on him recently, but he is unlikely to leave West Ham this summer, implying that his association with Soucek will continue.
In terms of the attacking unit, Michail Antonio will continue to lead West Ham's assault against Leicester, with Jarrod Bowen, Said Benrahma, and Pablo Fornals providing assistance, with Benrahma in particular proving to be a crucial player higher up the pitch early in the season.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Fabianski; Coufal, Dawson, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Rice, Soucek; Bowen, Benrahma, Fornals; Antonio
Brendan Rodgers, unlike his West Ham United opponent, is dealing with a slew of fitness concerns ahead of the trip to the London Stadium. Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri will be without up to five first-team players on Monday.
Leicester are still without James Justin (knee) and Wesley Fofana (calf), as well as Jonny Evans (ankle), Nampalys Mendy (groin), and Ryan Bertrand (coronavirus).
In Bertrand's absence, Timothy Castagne is likely to take over at left-back from Luke Thomas, with Ricardo Pereira an obvious selection on the right wing. Caglar Soyuncu is expected to partner up with new signing Jannik Vestergaard in the heart of the Leicester defence, with Daniel Amartey making way and Kasper Schmeichel taking over in goal.
Wilfred Ndidi will be the guy in charge of the speed of the game up front, while also keeping an eye on Said Benrahma. In the double pivot, Ndidi will be joined by his usual partner, Belgian playmaker Youri Tielemans, who will be pulling the strings from midfield.
James Maddison will take up advanced positions in front of him, hoping to provide a deluge of chances for central striker Jamie Vardy. Finally, Ayoze Perez and Harvey Barnes, who recently signed a new long-term contract with Leicester, should be the two wide men.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Schmeichel; Pereira, Soyuncu, Castagne; Ndidi, Tielemans; Perez, Maddison, Barnes; Vardy
West Ham United won the Premier League double over Leicester City last season, and the Hammers are hoping to make it three in a row against the Foxes for the first time since they won the competition's inaugural four games between November 1994 and April 1997.
Leicester has only kept a clean sheet in 11 percent of its Premier League games against West Ham (3/28), with only Manchester United (7 percent) keeping a clean sheet among opponents they've faced at least 15 times in the division.
In each of the last three seasons, West Ham has lost their first home league encounter of the season, scoring one and surrendering nine times.
Only four of Leicester City's previous 15 Premier League seasons saw them win their opening away encounter, with two of those triumphs coming against West Ham in 2000-01 and 2015/16.
After drawing level with Paolo Di Canio with his goal last time out, Michail Antonio could become West Ham's outright top scorer in the Premier League in this game (47). Antonio has scored once in each of his last two starts against Leicester in the Premier League.
Player To Watch
Jamie Vardy, Michail Antonio, and Declan Rice are among the starters in this match and will be crucial for their respective clubs. However, we've chosen Said Benrahma since he's still maturing after a difficult season with West Ham United in 2020/21.
The Algerian playmaker is swiftly establishing himself as a crucial figure in the Hammers' final third, with Antonio benefiting greatly from his ability to play efficient balls quickly and at pace. Will Benrahma be able to provide in the last third once more, or will Leicester be able to limit his output? Only time will tell if this is true.
West Ham United 1-1 Leicester City
This is a game that doesn't appear to have many goals in it. Leicester City should dominate the game, however they may struggle to create chances at a constant rate if James Maddison's fitness isn't quite up to par.
On the other hand, Leicester will field a strong defensive unit that will keep Michail Antonio out of the game for long periods of time. However, Said Benrahma's talent should come through for West Ham, while Kelechi Iheanacho should be on target for Leicester. However, there will not be much to separate them in the end, and The Hard Tackle predicts a 1-1 tie.
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