West Ham United visit table-topping Leicester City today with faint hopes of Champions League qualification enough motivation to put a dent on Leicester City’s title charge. As has been the case in recent games, West Ham would be relying on Nigerian attackers Victor Moses and Emmanuel Emenike, as well as French playmaker Dmitri Payet to inspire them to victory.
However, Leicester can move a step closer to winning the Premier League with victory at their Kings Power stadium, which in recent weeks has become a fortress. The Foxes start the weekend with a seven-point lead at the top of the table after five successive victories without conceding a goal.
They have beaten the Hammers in the league and Capital One Cup this season and another win would move them 10 points clear of second-placed Tottenham, who travel to Stoke tomorrow.
West Ham have seen their top-four hopes fade in recent weeks following three successive draws in the league. They also lost their FA Cup quarter-final replay to Manchester United on Wednesday, but manager Slaven Bilic says there will not be any hangover.
“We are disappointed but we are in a great position in the league and everything to play for,” he said. “We are totally motivated for the next six games and it starts against Leicester. We have to do everything we can.
“We need points to finish high so yes we have to win, whether it’s fourth, fifth or sixth. United and Man City, five points to City is big with six games to go, but there are also teams below us playing well and hoping to get a European place next year,” Bilic said.
Leicester have no new injury concerns, so Claudio Ranieri is likely to name the starting line-up for the 12th time in 14 league games.
West Ham can welcome back defenders Winston Reid and Sam Byram after Reid missed the FA Cup defeat to United with a tight hamstring and Byram, fit again after a recent spell out injured, was cup-tied.
Striker Diafra Sakho is still sidelined with the knee knock which forced him to withdraw from the squad to face Arsenal last weekend, but he is expected back in training tomorrow.
West Ham have won twice as many of the meetings (10) between these two sides in the Premier League than Leicester (five), with two draws. The Hammers have lost just four of their last 16 Premier League away games (W6 D6 L4).
Leicester have kept seven clean sheets in their last eight Premier League matches at the King Power Stadium.
Dimitri Payet has had a hand in seven goals in his last seven Premier League appearances (three goals, four assists).