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West Ham v Leicester: Foxes can keep up unbeaten run

Jamie Vardy will be a key figure as ever as Leicester look to remain unbeaten under Craig Shakespeare
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Jamie Pacheco thinks a rejuvenated Leicester side can carry on their excellent run under new manager Craig Shakespeare and get at least a point against an under-priced West Ham...

'Yes, we’re yet to see how Leicester will perform under Craig Shakespeare when they don’t have home comforts to fall back on but they’re clearly playing well, confidence will be sky-high and West Ham are hardly in any fantastic form of their own.'

West Ham v Leicester
Saturday 15:00

West Ham

The Hammers are winless in four. A 2-1 home defeat to Chelsea a couple of weeks ago was perfectly understandable - everyone loses to Chelsea at the moment - but the 3-2 defeat at Bournemouth last time out and a 2-2 home draw with West Brom will have been more disappointing for Slaven Bilic.

The Dimitri Payet saga is officially done and dusted, the player is gone and the money is in the bank but there's no arguing that the mercurial Frenchman's departure hasn't left a gaping hole in terms of creativity and inspiration in the side.

On the plus side, they're in pretty good shape in terms of injuries. Robert Snodgrass is the only slight doubt from among the regular starters. In truth, the former Hull man has been a little quiet since his arrival. Much was expected from him after a big money move on the back of some excellent performances for the Tigers but he has just one assist from six matches to show for his efforts.


Leicester

Where to start? On the plus side, their revival under Craig Shakespeare has been nothing short of miraculous with three straight wins, including of course Tuesday's heroics in knocking out Sevilla. That would be three-in-a-row Europa League winners Sevilla.

On the downside, the cynics might argue that all those three matches were at home and that under Claudio Ranieri they were pretty decent at home anyway. What's a little more unsavory is that given how they're playing now, one has to ask the question: were Leicester's players guilty of the same sort of mutiny under Ranieri as Chelsea's under Jose Mourinho last season?


Match Odds

The two words on everyone's lips will be 'European hangover'. People will point to what happened to Barcelona last weekend. One day they were beating PSG 6-1 to go through in the Champions League, four days later they were losing 2-1 at Deportivo in La Liga.

But you have to judge each case on its merits. Yes, we're yet to see how Leicester will perform under Craig Shakespeare when they don't have home comforts to fall back on but they're clearly playing well, confidence will be sky-high and West Ham are hardly in any fantastic form of their own.

It's always comforting to have stats on your side so here are a few that should convince West Ham layers that opposing the hosts at [2.36] is the way to go. Leicester are unbeaten in their last five against West Ham in all competitions and despite being in a crisis at the time, still managed to beat Bilic's boys 1-0 back in December. A lay of West Ham is certainly the way to go.


Over/Under 2.5 goals


Season-long stats and those of recent weeks suggest a bet on over 2.5 goals should land here at [1.96]. Exactly 50% of the Hammers' home matches have gone that way but it's a tad higher for Leicester away matches at 61.5%.

And in recent weeks West Ham matches have been the place to be for goals. Starting with their 5-0 thrashing at the hands of Man City in the FA Cup in early January, eight of their last nine have gone that way. Six of those eight have actually gone over 3.5 goals, which is [3.2].

If you were to look at Leicester's three games in charge under Shakespeare, it's two from three that have gone over 2.5 goals. Both of those also went over 3.5 goals.

Looking at the last five between these two, four have gone over 2.5 goals and one of those went over 3.5 goals, a thrilling 2-2 draw at the business end of the Premier League season last year.

So which way should we go? I'm very confident of getting at least three goals here and though the stats suggest there's probably a little bit more value on over 3.5 at the considerably bigger price of [3.2], I'm going to be a tad more conservative with this one.


To Score

Andy Carroll has four from his last six games and will have a few backers at around [3.0]. If he scores here it would be his 50th Premier League goal, as Opta tell us. Some 29 of those were scored as a Hammer.

Michail Antonio, arguably West Ham's player of the season, will also be a popular selection. The former Forest man has nine goals this season though his strike last weekend at Bournemouth was his first in 10 appearances; he'll be around [3.3].

Jamie Vardy ([2.9]) didn't get on the scoresheet in midweek but had two great chances and looks incredibly sharp at the moment. How Ranieri could have done with that enthusiasm and work-rate in his last few days in charge...

At a bigger price of around [8.0] you can back Leicester's Andy King. He enjoys playing West Ham, having scored twice in his last three appearances against them.


Ref Watch

Roger East averages 4.4 yellows a game this season from 26 matches and has shown five reds.


Recommended Bets
1pt Lay West Ham @ [2.36]
1pt Back over 2.5 goals @ [1.96]


***

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Jamie's P/L 2016/17

Staked: 53.5pts
Returned: 55.1ts
P/L: +1.6 pts

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