In desperate search for a bounce back performance, West Ham United return home to the London Stadium Saturday afternoon to face off against rejuvenated Premier League champions Leicester City.
The pressure is fully on manager Slaven Bilic after his side were in shambles following the 3-2 defeat to modest Bournemouth just a week ago, with co-chairman David Sullivan echoing the words of a dissatisfied fanbase upset with recent results.
Demanding a reaction from his side, Bilic has placed top signing Andre Ayew back into the starting eleven after scoring in back to back substitute appearances against Watford and the Cherries last Saturday. Also returning to the lineup for the Hammers is Sam Byram, giving the side a natural right back in the starting eleven for the first time in weeks. Captain Mark Noble is out with a “dead knee,” as Cheikhou Kouyate slides into the middle with Pedro Obiang.
If the Hammers are to get back on track, they will have to do it against a visiting Foxes side vitalized after the shock sacking of the beloved Claudio Ranieri. New manager Craig Shakespeare has simply lead Leicester to three straight wins, including advancing past mighty Sevilla to reach the Champions league quarterfinals. Leicester will be without captain Wes Morgan however, as the Jamaican international is out. Algerian Yohan Benalouane replaces him.
Can Bilic and the Irons get a much needed result? Or will the pressure mount by boxing outfoxed by the Foxes? Find out next.
LINEUPS AND BENCH
FIRST HALF RECAP
It could have been a more nightmarish two minutes of the season for Bilic, as his side promising start was dashed just like that with Riyah Mahrez and Robert Huth’s goals.
Down 2-0 after just seven minutes, the opening 15 of misery was topped off with Winston Reid getting hurt again and having to come off because of his hamstring.
Thankfully for the sake of Manuel Lanzini, the Hammers showed that they wouldn’t crumble after that devastating eight minute sequence. But the set piece woes lead to a third goal for Leicester, with Jamie Vardy finishing off after Andy Carroll badly missed clearing it away.
The Hammers once again are shooting themselves in the foot. They will need a perfect second half to avoid the growing wave of criticism back on the club after seemingly shaking it off just a month ago.
Besides Reid's injury, who had the worst first half for the Hammers? #WHULEI— Brace The Hammer (@BraceTheHammer) March 18, 2017
Well, here you go.