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Sunday, 16 December, 2018

Expect action at both ends as West Ham welcome Leicester

Goalkeepers should be kept busy

Leicester's number nine Jamie Vardy celebrates with Riyad Mahrez
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Premier League 
Sky Sports Premier League, 8pm Friday

The Westfield shopping centre next door to the London Stadium will be busier than usual with people making the most of Black Friday deals and the goalkeepers could also be swamped when West Ham entertain Leicester.

This is David Moyes's home debut in the West Ham dugout, although the honeymoon period did not last long as Slaven Bilic's replacement got off to the worst possible start in last week's 2-0 loss at Watford.

Moyes was unable to improve the Hammers as a defensive unit - the two goals conceded took their tally to 25 against this term, which is the worst record in the Premier League - and both sides look likely to net in this Stratford showdown.

West Ham's defensive woes have been responsible for dragging them down to 18th in the Premier League and their three clean sheets have come against two of the worst offensive sides in the division in West Brom and Swansea, while the other shutout came at home to Huddersfield, who are five without a goal on the road.

There are not many these days calling out Pep Guardiola for dumping Joe Hart and Leicester possess the attacking qualities to seriously test England's under-pressure number one.

Jamie Vardy is the obvious danger but the forward is not alone with Demarai Gray and Riyad Mahrez twin threats from wide, while even on the bench there are decent substitutes in reserve in the likes of Kelechi Iheanacho and Islam Slimani. 

Claude Puel arrived at the King Power with a reputation for cautious football yet that has not been the case and even when the Foxes were losing 2-0 to Manchester City last week Vardy was brought down when through on goal and Harry Maguire hit the post. 

However, Leicester themselves have been leaky on their road trips. Their solitary clean sheet arrived at Bournemouth in fortuitous circumstances as Cherries boss Eddie Howe claimed his side created enough to win "three or four games." 

West Ham, meanwhile, have scored in four of their five home games and that includes in defeat to Tottenham and Liverpool.

Moyes's men were denied by some horrendous finishing and stupendous goalkeeping in the 2-0 defeat to Watford but on most afternoons they would have at least got on the scoresheet.

The Hammers' expected goals was 1.93 according to Opta and even if you don't believe those types of statistics, it was pretty clear to the naked eye that Marko Arnautovic and Cheikhou Kouyate passed up fantastic opportunities.

Both teams to score
1pt 8-11 general

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Team news
West Ham
Marko Arnautovic and Andre Ayew have overcome injury problems, while Javier Hernandez and Michail Antonio are nearing returns but remain sidelined. Sam Byram, Jose Fonte and James Collins are out. 

Rob Huth and Matty James are Leicester's only absentees.

Key stat
Leicester have won five of their last six matches against West Ham and all of those were by one-goal margins.

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Leicester have won five of their last six matches against West Ham and all of those were by one-goal margins
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