West Ham United are back on the road this Sunday as the Irons travel to face Leicester City at the King Power Stadium looking to record back-to-back Premier League wins for only the second time in the past year.
The Irons opened their winning tally last weekend as David Moyes’ side shocked Wolverhampton Wanderers as they claimed a 4-0 win thanks to strikes from Jarrod Bowen, Sebastian Haller and an own goal by Raul Jimenez.
Hammers fans only witnessed successive top-flight wins on two occasions during the 2019/20 campaign, with Manuel Pellegrini orchestrating victories over Watford and Norwich City in August before Moyes managed wins over the Canaries and Hornets in July.
In Moyes’ search for his second double in his second spell as West Ham boss, the Scot will again be watching the action from home as he continues to follow all relevant guidelines in his recovery from a second positive coronavirus test.
Alan Irvine will take Moyes’ place in the Irons’ dugout against Leicester, and was able to confirm more encouraging news on Friday when he declared defender Issa Diop available for selection after returning to training following his positive test.
Diop’s return to the starting line-up could come as part of two possible changes to the team which beat Wolves last weekend. So, with alterations on the cards, here’s a West Ham XI we could see against Leicester…
Diop has been out of action for West Ham since the second week of Premier League action, having started in both defeats to Newcastle United and Arsenal before returning a positive test for covid-19.
But the Frenchman could be in line to return at Leicester following the form of teammate Fabian Balbuena against Everton in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday night, when the £40,000-per-week Paraguayan gifted possession away on multiple occasions with poor errors he was lucky not to see punished. The 29-year-old also appeared frightened by Richarlison’s pace, which would be problematic against a confident Jamie Vardy after his five goals in three league games.
Outside of dropping Balbuena, Aaron Creswell and Angelo Ogbonna would be deserving of retaining their places in the core of West Ham’s backline after both displayed solid performances against Wolves while Creswell would also offer a threat from set-pieces.
Moyes and Irvine will not be able to name Ryan Fredericks at right-back, however, as Irvine has confirmed the former Fulham defender will miss the Foxes affair having picked up an injury in the Wolves rout.
In his place will likely step Ben Johnson, but the youngster will need support from Diop after struggling to contain Richarlison and Alex Iwobi during the midweek Carabao Cup clash.
Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek will hold down the core midfield positions once more at the King Power Stadium after excellent displays against Wolverhampton Wanderers last weekend, with Rice patrolling the centre of the field while Soucek’s bursts into the box led to a range of opportunities to score.
Faultless efforts by Pablo Fornals, Michail Antonio and Jarrod Bowen will also ensure the trio return to lead the line against Leicester having been rested against Everton, with Bowen striving to build on his brace now that his duct is broken.