Leicester 1, West Ham 1, positives and negatives, player ratings and match report

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Being present and back in Leicester for the first time since the Liverpool game, it was of course great to be in the stadium during the match, but what happened afterwards made everything hopeless, overshadowing everything.

Claude Puel had made a number of surprising changes to his team and that clearly gave a message and at the same time an opportunity for others to show what they are capable of. Caglar Soyuncu was given his first team debut and he had a promising start.

Other players back in the first 11, was as Tcf preferred and one we always would like to see in a first 11, Marc Albrighton, a change in the center of midfield giving Vicente Iborra a new chance and also in from start, Rachid Ghezzal.

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The start of the game was positive from a Leicester City point of view, but slowly and gradually West Ham managed to balance it out and that was not optimal for Leicester City and after 30 minutes the best player on the pitch by far Fabian Balbuena scored after a number of humps and dumps in the Leicester City penalty area.

But after that goal Leicester City started to push forward again and especially Wilfred Ndidi and Marc Albrighton, together with Ben Chilwell made it difficult for West Ham- Then when, after 38 minutes, Karl Noble was sent off, hope got in our minds.

Leicester City players had almost an hour of football in a home game, playing 11 against 10, and hopefully that would settle a new three pointer, without really giving any evidence of that happening in the first half, with a good defensive approach from the opponent, but we all had hopes for second half.

Claude Puel decided to make a change after first half, playing three in the back, moving Amartey into the middle with Soyuncu and Maguire, and moving Chilwell up on the left side and Albrighton playing wide to the right.

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2nd half was all about Leicester City, pushing for a goal with especially Ben Chilwell being positive on the left side and also a number of attempts from the other flank from Marc Albrighton. The plan, the play and everything was optimistic, so we just waited for the goal.

Chance after chance were missed as the West Ham defenders got more and more tired, but this Balbuena managed in a miraculous way to keep the Hammers defense tight and well organized.

As the time ran out, attempts from Chilwell, Vardy, and later on Gray and Okazaki were all saved until Wilfred Ndidi’s shot passed Fabianski in the West Ham goal, deflected from a West Ham defender. The game was almost over when Nididi scored in the 89th minute.

This was a good and positive approach from Leicester City, a surprise change in the line-up, and bold moves by Puel. West Ham, with especially Balbuena and Antonio, made it difficult, with both putting in fantastic performances in a hard battling Hammers side.

In the end, Amartey stopped a possible Antonio goal, getting injured as bad as he was stretched off. The news he woke up to after his successful operation was something we all now, as he wonderfully described it himself. Let that be the final words of a very emotional and strange match report from a game watched live at The King Power.

  • Positives:
    • Most players trying their best and fighting hard
    • The stats shows a positive approach in ball possession
    • A great goal and finish from Wilfred Ndidi
    • Being able to create a great number of chances and keep the pressure
    • Soyuncu playing making his full senior debut for Leicester City
  • Negatives:
    • Not able to convert all those chances into more goals
    • Passing a bit slow, getting the ball faster out to the flanks
    • Maguire or Iborra should have been moved up front to battle in the air
    • Attempt in front of goals easily cleared out by West Ham defenders
    • Not being able to convert great chances into goals
  • Player Ratings: Schmeichel 6. Amartey 6, Chilwell 7, Soyuncu 6, Maguire 6, Iborra 6, Ndidi 7, Iheanacho 5, Maddison 6, Albrighton 7, Ghezzal 5, Subs: Vardy 5, Gray, Okazaki

Match Stats: H/A

  • Possession: 56 / 44
  • Corners: 8 / 0
  • Shots on target: 7 / 2
  • Shots wide: 8 / 5
  • Fouls: 17 / 5
  • Offsides: 7 / 1


Leicester v. West Ham, Match Preview, Fans View, Who’s in, Who’s out

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A good 1st half performance at The Emirates must be taken into this game, and not to forget those fantastic chances of Maguire and Ndidi not materialising into goals, but again if such a display will be on at home v. West Ham, Leicester will bring three new points to the table.

Jamie Vardy left the field at The Emirates with a stomach problem, and he has not been training until today, so that has taken it’s time. Leicester were reduced to 10 men at The Emirates and had to finish the game with one man short, as all the subs were introduced.

Good news is that Demarai Gray is back in contention and has trained this week and hopefully will be available from the bench. Matty James and Wes Morgan are the two not available, James still injured and Morgan serving his red card ban.

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West Ham will of course be without their Ukrainian forward Yarmolenko, who is out long term with an injury, not expected back before April next year, and the list of absent players are long and difficult for Pellegrini.

Wilshire, Carroll, Lanzini, Holland, Mba Obiang, Sanchez and Silva are all on that list and surely it is a difficult situation for West Ham, and they are weakened and will come to King Power Stadium possibly looking for a modest result.

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Claude Puel has passed his first year in charge of Leicester City, and as we all are looking at his work, there of course a great number of positives and a few negatives. He has made a massive improvement in the way Leicester City play the game, but again it has also turned a few results in the wrong direction.

With a number of new faces and youngsters introduced, you will probably see the team progress given time and we should really honor him for his work. Gray, Chilwell, Maddison and Maguire are all in the England frame at the moment, and there are a lot of positives, and his stats are good, 10th in the PL, two quarter finals in the cups, not bad at all, and hopefully he can get Leicester back in the battle for European places and hopefully get the club to Wembley again.

The game on Saturday, a late kick-off, 6.30, is of course the first step in that direction, always believing that three points should be collected at home. City had a difficult time in the last home fixture, losing 2-0, but again they have had a relatively good record against Hammers lately and it is a fixture we should be seen as a winning possibility.

We’ve also a seen a number of changes to both players and system, flirting with different approaches against different teams, not easy to see what Puel is up to all the time, and surely against Arsenal he had moved Amartey into the middle with Evans and Maguire, if he will stick to this in this game, who knows.

Michael Oliver, the one to decide at King Power

Last Meeting, 11 v. 11
Home: 05.05.18, 0-2, Defeat, Premier League
Away: 24.11.18, 1-1, Draw, Premier League

Best Bet,
Our prediction is a 3-1 win

Predicted Leicester City line-up,
System: 4-4-1-1, Schmeichel – Amartey, Maguire, Evans, Chilwell – Ndidi, Mendy, Pereira, Maddison – Iheanacho – Vardy

Fun Fact,
Going back to the 2015/16 season, Andy King, Ritchie De Laet and Jeffrey Schlupp all started the game v. West Ham away mid August. Okazaki and Mahrez scored the goals in the 2-1 win. both goals were scored in the first half, and this years World Cup finalists Andrei Kramaric and N’Golo Kantè were both on the bench. Kantè coming on for Okazaki late in the 2nd half.

In Both Camps,
Keith Robson was a bit of a cult hero at West Ham, playing a great game in that European Cup winners Cup final in 1976, of course defeated but again a nice run for The Hammers. Robson later turned up at Leicester City playing from 1981 to 1983, but only nine league appearances while at the club. Andy Impey, Paul Kitson and Les Ferdinand, not to forget Brian Deane, all had periods in both camps. Jimmy Bloomfield, previously in charge of Leicester City, had a short period as a player with West Ham in the mid 60’s.

The big duel,
Vardy v. Balbuena, a bit uncertainty about Vardy, but if he is out there and ready to play, then he will be a handful for the West Ham defense.

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