It’s third versus fourth on Sunday as West Ham host Leicester City in a Premier League clash at the London Stadium.
As things stand there is a four-point gap between the sides. The Hammers occupy the final Champions League spot with a one-point lead over Chelsea in fifth. A win would be huge for us in the run-in, but will not be an easy feat.
Despite their vast injury list, the Foxes still look solid in the Premier League. Their 2-0 defeat to Manchester City last weekend was just their eighth of the campaign, and they’re also through to the FA Cup semi-final next weekend.
We saw Arthur Masuaku make a solid return to action on Monday evening. The wing-back picked up an assist as we ran out 3-2 winners at Molineux. He’ll be in for a right battle this weekend, against the Leicester man who himself is recently back from a long lay-off.
Portuguese ace Ricardo Pereira has returned at just the right time for the Brenden Rogers. The defender was absent for 10 months with a cruciate ligament rupture. Luckily for them, he’s back and flying for the Foxes as James Justin has unfortunately been sidelined.
He was a big hit during his first two seasons at the King Power Stadium. Overall, he has five Premier League goals and eight assists. The 27-year-old is a crucial squad member for Rogers – as well as being tactically sound at the back, he offers a lot going forward.
According to WhoScord, 39% of Leicester’s attacking threat comes from down the right-hand side. The last time he played a full 90 minutes, Pereira attempted eight dribbles and got four crosses into the box against Brighton.
Pereira will be right up for this clash and he put in a man of the match display last time he faced West Ham. The right-back got a goal and an assist in a 4-1 Leicester win back in January 2020.
On the night, he had three attempts on goal and completed 87% of his passes successfully [WyScout]. The Portuguese international also won the ball 10 times, won 100% of his aerial duels and completed 60% of his dribbles successfully.
We simply couldn’t cope. Masuaku and Cresswell both played, with the former actually being subbed at half time as he couldn’t deal with Pereria.
Masuaku will be looking for vengeance. He was fantastic in the win over Wolves, helping Aaron Cresswell double up on Adama Traore. West Ham have looked vulnerable in recent games down their left-hand side, none more so than the Arsenal clash.
Callum Chambers had a field day at the London Stadium in the 3-3 draw. He was involved in the first two goals, but by the end, all three came from crosses down our left-hand side that Cresswell was unable to deal with.
Overall, four of the last five goals conceded by the Hammers have come from down the left-flank. Pereira will look to exploit this further tomorrow, we can’t have a repeat of the last time he faced us.
Despite injuries to key men, we should feel confident ahead of the tie tomorrow. The 3-0 over Leicester earlier in the season should give hope of a solid result. We just need to address the issue of our left-hand side if we’re to take any points.
In other West Ham news, this ‘phenomenal’ teenage striker bagged a hattrick for the u23’s amid our striking crisis.