West Ham v Leicester: Hammer blow to Foxes' Top 4 chances

This is a huge game between two unlikely contenders for Champions League places and it's David Moyes' men who get the nod, says Jamie Pacheco.


Moyes getting everything right

David Moyes isn't everyone's cup of tea and I can see where his detractors are coming from.

For a period of a good five or six years he was pretty poor everywhere he went.

Maybe his record wasn't as bad as everyone says at Manchester United, but he should still have done better than he did.

A spell in Spain where he didn't speak the language, understand the culture or the league itself was somewhat more predictably disappointing and ended in less than a season.

Worse still was to come at Sunderland where he got the Black Cats relegated.

But his work at West Ham in his second coming has been nothing short of miraculous. A Champions League place may just escape them, but they should be good enough for a Europa League spot and that's a great achievement in its own right.

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And it's not like he had much to work with.

At the start of the season Tomas Soucek was no more than a quirky occasional goalscorer who was best known for being good in the air.

Michail Antonio had been wasted by other West Ham managers on the wing rather than playing as a target man, where he's at his best.

Declan Rice (injured at the moment) had already played for England a few times but was not the finished article he is now.

But the greatest masterstroke of all may have been the loan signing of Jesse Lingard. We don't know for sure whether he was a personal pick of Moyes' but we do know that he's been just about the best attacking player in the league for the last month or so.

Out-of-form Vardy creating a problem

Leicester are in an even better position than West Ham in the table but can't afford to lose momentum when it most matters.

There was no disgrace in losing to Man City 2-0 at home last weekend, but results have been a bit mixed even before that game.

Beating Sheffield United 5-0 at home is all well and good but it doesn't count for much when you're losing back-to-back home matches against Villa and Arsenal before that.

What would automatically help matters would be main man Jamie Vardy finding some form. One goal in 17 (in all competitions) is almost inexplicable for a player of his quality and given they're so used to playing in a way that's geared around creating chances for him, you can see why they might struggle a bit when he's not putting them away.

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Mind you, their task of late has been made harder by the absences of James Justin and Ashley Barnes through injury.

Hammers the call

West Ham are 3.15 to win what is a huge game in the race for a Champions League spot. Leicester are 2.54 and the draw is 3.45.

Why are the Hammers outsiders? Simple, the Foxes have been far better in the head-to-head between these two.

The east London side have lost three and drawn two of the last five at home to the men in blue. That's not something to completely ignore because head-to-head stats are a very important part of football analysis.

But this is a far better West Ham side than they've had in the last few years, under a manager who looks comfortable in his own skin as the boss of this side.

They're in good form with 13 points from their last seven and even got the better of the Foxes in the Midlands earlier on in the season, beating them 3-0. All more than enough to convince me they're the call at 3.15 to win.

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No clean sheets in this one

For a slightly safer bet, you can consider the 1.8 that both teams score. It would have paid out in 60% of West Ham's home games this season and 60% of Leicester's away ones.

It's also a frequent occurrence in this particular match. It happened in eight out of the last 11 with some tasty scorelines thrown in there, including a Leicester win by 3-2 and a 2-2 draw in April 2019.

Goals at both ends really shouldn't be a problem here.

Lingard scores, but so do the Foxes

If you head over to the Same-Game Multi-bets section on the Sportsbook, you'll see that BTTS is available at a slightly shorter 13/20.

No matter. We can boost that considerably by taking a bit of a gamble on our second pick. That man Lingard has been a real revelation and shows you the value of getting out of your comfort zone and showing some stomach for the fight.

Eight games for West Ham have yielded six goals so far from him, including scoring in each of his last three. He's 11/4 to score with the double coming to 4.9.

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