Saturday 31 December 2016

Toothless Foxes Turn to Benjamin

As many predicted, Leicester have struggled to maintain their amazing form of last season and go into today's clash with West Ham just two places above the relegation zone. With only 4 wins from 18 games, they are finding goals hard to come by and their offensive problems are further compounded by the absence of Jamie Vardy today.

Last season the Hammers felt robbed by a soft penalty decision in the final minute of their visit to the King Power stadium and had to settle for a point. Jamie Vardy opened the scoring that day but then got sent off for diving. As a consequence, with Riyadh Mahrez off-form of late the Foxes will be relying on former Hammers target Islam Slimani for goals.

Although the Hammers are five points better off it is noteworthy that they have a worse goal difference than Leicester due to a series of poor defensive performances in November.

In an unusual gesture, Leicester will be giving out a free beer to all home supporters before today's game - proof that the Soccer God's love us and want us to be happy as Benjamin Franklin (might) have said!* It appears that the three and a half thousand travelling Hammers fans will not be afforded such generosity but will be able to get a taste of Leicester's finest in the form of a pint of Vardy's Volley - a light ale named after their ace striker that is available in local pubs!

Meanwhile, Hammers fans will also be celebrating the news that Dimitri Payet looks set to stay at the club at least until the end of the season. The Bookies have lengthened his odds of leaving during the January transfer window and he is now 1/4 on to stay.

After thrashing Swansea last week, the Hammers will be hoping to continue their good form and it looks likely that Slaven Bilic will stick with the same starting XI and 4-4-2 formation as last week. That means that there will be no starting place for Pedro Obiang or Manny Lanzini but expect both to figure at some point.

Big Andy Carroll will be on the prowl again and is looking mighty sharp since returning to action four games ago. He appears to have made the necessary 'dietary and lifestyle changes' that manager Slaven Bilic recently demanded after he was caught over-celebrating with Darren Randolph. As such, if he adds to his two recent goals he is unlikely to copy Massimo Maccarone's celebration after scoring for Empoli this time last year whereby he took a swig from a spectator's beer!

Either way, We will be looking for a Hoppy Ending!

*Actually Franklin was referring to wine rather than beer.

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