Leicester City (11th, 4-0-5) vs West Ham United (14th, 2-1-6)
Live from the King Power Stadium, Saturday at 12:30 PM ET on NBC
Fresh off a loss from Rob Holding’s Barmy Hand Balling Army, Leicester could use a reboot. While Claude Puel won’t change much before the game against the Hammers, I think he should.
West Ham have enjoyed back-to-back 1-0 wins in their last two games in the Premier League, the Foxes should be wary of a Hammer side that also just beat Manchester United 3-1. Their dominate performance in that match really showcased what the money spent in the summer transfer window was for. If they break the Leicester ranks in the first ten minutes, we could be in for a long day.
Leicester must keep an eye on Arnautovic at all times on Saturday, and I think the best way to do that is to play a 4-1-4-1. While I love Kelechi Iheanacho, and Leicester have scored more goals with him on the pitch than with Jamie Vardy this season, I think he’s gotta start on the bench. Pair Namplays Mendy with James Maddison and let Wilfred Ndidi sit back while those two control the midfield.
I’m a bit worried about our Foxes right now. Even though it’s only 9 games in, they still look a side in transition. The side looked to be more settled when Demarai Gray was healthy, but even then, he would drift in and out of matches more consistently than he would perform. Perhaps I would be a bit more confident if Jamie Vardy was burying his chances, but xG doesn’t win games, putting the ball in the net does.
I want to see Adrien Silva back in the squad for a change and I think this is the perfect match for him to do that. I know James Maddison is supposed to be our patient passer who moves the ball, but Madders is certainly intelligent enough to pair up with Silva and add an extra bit of class to the midfield. He’ll hustle and isn’t that bad of a tackler, plus, if Wilf is sitting back in waiting, that’ll give them both an extra layer of comfort on the ball.
My heart says Leicester win 2-1, but my head thinks we’ll draw 2-2, and my gut thinks we lose 3-0. If Leicester can magically manage a full 90 minute performance, they’ll win comfortably. Let’s hope Puel has some magic brewing in this Halloween season.