Leicester V West Ham - Opta Preview

Leicester City Filbert Street Saturday 22nd December West Ham United 17 Games17  ATTACKING 11 Goals scored19 0.65 Ave goals per game1.12 45% Shooting Accuracy43% 8% Goals to shots %10%  PASSING 5,538 Passes6,096 71% Pass completion %74%  DEFENDING 71% Tackle success rate %72% 31 Goals conceded29 1.82 Ave goals conceded per game1.71  DISCIPLINE 298 Fouls287 36 Yellow cards34 3 Red cards2 6,133 Opta Index Score7,885
Leicester City v West Ham United

There's every possibility that Dave Bassett will receive a Christmas bonus from the Leicester board if he continues in the same vein. To call it a 'revival' may be stretching it a bit far, but a run of just two defeats in the last seven games has hoisted the Foxes off the bottom of the table and within spitting distance of the safety zone.

Last Saturday the Midlands outfit performed a superb escape act at title-chasing Leeds to rescue a valuable point three minutes from time. But the visit of West Ham will offer a stern test of character as the visitors are enjoying something of a resurrection themselves.

Eyebrows were raised at the prospect of Glenn Roeder taking the helm of the east London club, yet after a turbulent honeymoon period he finally appears to be getting the best out of his players. The Hammers have already had a say in the championship race after first defeating Manchester United in their own back yard and then holding Arsenal to a draw at Upton Park. But while both teams have been able to raise their game when facing the big guns, how will they fare against one another?

The hosts still lay claim to the most generous defence in the division and West Ham's rampant attacking style could expose their weaknesses at the back once more. Diminutive midfielder Joe Cole hit peak form against the Gunners, finding a colleague with 82% of his distribution and completing eight penetrative raids into opposition territory. He will doubtless play a key role in this contest.

Trevor Sinclair has been equally if not more dangerous down the right flank and has created four goals for his team-mates this term. In contrast, Leicester have not been carving out opportunities with the same regularity and with just 54% of their distribution in the final third finding a blue shirt - the joint-lowest rate in the Premiership - it is little wonder that the Foxes have only netted half as many goals as the Hammers.

With Ade Akinbiyi landing fewer than half of his efforts on target this term, Bassett will be pinning his hopes on new recruit Brian Deane to add the finishing touch in front of goal. The former Middlesbrough target man profited with a goal at Leeds and his physical presence alone has the potential to unsettle a less-than-assured visiting back line.

In the corresponding fixture last season the capital side took an early lead, but Leicester fought back to steal the points. The Foxes could be good value to repeat these exploits and are rated at 17/2 to gain a 2-1 victory for the second year running.

Mark Willis

Match referee: E. Wolstenholme

It may be his first season officiating in the top flight, but Eddie Wolstenholme has wasted no time in stamping his authority on the Premiership. He has so far averaged five cards per game and considering that the Foxes and the Hammers have amassed 70 bookings between them, he will probably add to that tally on Saturday.

Referee's Name  FoulsPenaltiesYellow CardsRed CardsAve Disc pointsE. Wolstenholme 142 2 18 1 52.00

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Match Result Leicester11/8Draw12/5West Ham6/4Correct Score Leicester 1-06/1Leicester 2-010/1Leicester 2-117/2Leicester 3-022/1Leicester 3-118/1Leicester 3-225/1Leicester 4-066/1Leicester 4-150/1Leicester 4-266/1Leicester 5-0100/1Leicester 5-1100/1Draw 0-017/2Draw 1-16/1Draw 2-216/1Draw 3-350/1West Ham 1-013/2West Ham 2-010/1West Ham 2-19/1West Ham 3-025/1West Ham 3-120/1West Ham 3-228/1West Ham 4-066/1West Ham 4-150/1West Ham 4-266/1West Ham 5-0100/1West Ham 5-1100/1Double Result Leicester/Leicester10/3Leicester/Draw16/1Leicester/West Ham28/1Draw/Leicester4/1Draw/Draw4/1Draw/West Ham9/2West Ham/Leicester28/1West Ham/Draw16/1West Ham/West Ham10/3First Goalscorer B Deane11/2J Scowcroft11/2A Akinbiyi6/1T Benjamin8/1M Izzet12/1M Elliott16/1J Lewis20/1D Wise20/1R Savage25/1J Stewart25/1M Jones33/1A Impey33/1L Marshall33/1C Davidson33/1D Delaney33/1S Oakes33/1F Sinclair66/1No Goalscorer17/2F Kanoute5/1J Defoe11/2P Di Canio6/1P Kitson13/2D Hutchison10/1Courtois14/1J Cole14/1T Sinclair14/1M Carrick16/1S Schmemel33/1R Soma33/1A Mccann40/1H Foxe40/1S Minto40/1C Dailly50/1N Winterburn50/1T Repka50/1S Potts66/1

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