West Ham United boss David Moyes has been handed a timely boost for tonight’s crunch match at Leicester City.
West Ham take on Brendan Rodgers’s stuttering Foxes knowing just how much is at stake.
Recent results have shaped what is certain to be one of the most competitive relegation battles for decades in the Premier League.
Just four points separate 14th placed Burnley and second bottom Watford.
It is very much looking like two from six to join Norwich City and West Ham are only out of the bottom three on goal difference heading into the game at the King Power.
High stakes for Hammers
West Ham know a win can push them up to 15th. But equally a heavy defeat could see West Ham lose the advantage their -8 goal difference currently gives them, particularly with games against Manchester City and Liverpool home and away on the horizon.
The Hammers lost the reverse fixture – against Leicester’s reserves – 2-1 on December 28th. That turned out to be Manuel Pellegrini’s last game in charge.
Now Moyes must plot a different outcome. And he must do so without several key players including Lukasz Fabianski and Felipe Anderson.
Timely boost for Moyes
But the Scot has been handed a timely boos with the return of Michail Antonio for the game.
Read: Michail Antonio appears to give West Ham a major boost ahead of Leicester with social media post
Antonio will not be risked from the start but will be raring to go as a substitute.
West Ham were on top for large spells in the 1-1 draw with Everton last time out.
So Moyes will not change too much.
He will, though, make one change with Arthur Masuaku coming into the side to replace Manuel Lanzini.
Lanzini out, Masuaku in and Fornals shifts central?
Pablo Fornals will take up Lanzini’s central role with Masuaku on the left.
Fornals has been one of West Ham’s best performing players over the last few months. His workrate has impressed Moyes and it is hoped he will help tire the Leicester defence ready for Antonio to burst onto the scene in the second half.
Predicted West Ham starting XI to face Leicester:
Randolph, Zabaleta, Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Snodgrass, Rice, Noble, Masuaku, Fornals, Haller.