David Moyes has called on West Ham to shake off their underwhelming form by signing off for the World Cup break with a victory against Leicester City on Saturday.
West Ham fell to a 2-1 defeat against Crystal Palace in their last league fixture, leaving them level on points with their upcoming opponents, in 15th place.
The Hammers have struggled for consistency all campaign, and with a six-week break on the horizon, Moyes knows the importance of finishing the congested pre-World Cup period on a positive note.
“It’s as big as all the others. You get three points for it. But we want to finish this part of the season in good form. We know we need to do better in the Premier League,” Moyes said. “If you look at Europe, you would say the break is a bad thing, but if you look at the league, for us, it might be a good thing.
“We’ll give some players a bit of rest and then come back and get them in good knick. They’ve been great here, so hopefully we can get them back from the break in good condition.”
Meanwhile, Leicester have beaten Wolves and Everton in their last two away league games, with Youri Tielemans scoring stunning volleys in both games.
The Belgium midfielder believes the Foxes are in confident mood after turning their form around, but remains wary of the threat posed by West Ham.
“We’ve been doing really well. We know what we have to do. We know how well we can perform, but then West Ham are a very dangerous team,” he said. Whether they have good form or not, we have to be very aware of their players. They can make it really difficult for us, especially at home with their fans.
“It’s going to be down to us to make a good performance and get the three points.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
West Ham – Jarrod Bowen
Bowen has been involved in five goals in his four Premier League appearances against Leicester (three goals, two assists) – more than he has against any other opponent in the competition, and his efforts could be key if the Irons are to clinch a much-needed win.
Leicester City – Harvey Barnes
Barnes has scored in all four of Leicester’s Premier League victories so far this season – he’s one of just three players to have scored in each of his side’s wins this term, along with Rodrigo at Leeds United and Taiwo Awoniyi at Nottingham Forest.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– West Ham have won three of their last four Premier League games against Leicester City (D1), as many as they had in their previous 16 against them (D5 L8).
– Leicester have kept just one clean sheet in their 15 Premier League away games against West Ham, recording a 1-0 win in August 2000. After experiencing a five-game unbeaten away run against the Hammers between 2015 and 2019, the Foxes have lost on their last two Premier League visits to the London Stadium.
– Leicester have dropped more points from winning positions than any other Premier League side this season (14), while they are also the only team yet to recover a single point from behind.
– West Ham’s Michail Antonio has been involved in five goals in his last four Premier League starts against Leicester (four goals, one assist), with four of those coming at the London Stadium.
– With 13 goals and nine assists, Leicester’s James Maddison has been involved in more Premier League goals than any other English midfielder in 2022. Indeed, among all players, only Harry Kane (33), Kevin De Bruyne (29) and Son Heung-min (25) have been involved in more than Maddison (22) this calendar year.