The battle for Champions League spot is fairly tight this season. Apart from Manchester United and Leicester on the second and third, there are at least five other teams fighting for the fourth slot, Chelsea, West Ham, Liverpool, Everton and Tottenham. From now on till the final matchday, every game of theirs matters, including when The Hammers are hosting Leeds this weekend. Leeds is also a contender for at least Europa League but their inconsistency still haunts them.
The teams’ updated news
West Ham had to lose 1-2 against Manchester City last weekend. They conceded twice by Pep’s two centre backs, John Stones and Ruben Dias while the Hammers only replied once by Michael Antonio. They are still stuck on the sixth in the standings.
Leeds United did not get any better in their previous outing. They slumped to a surprising defeat from Aston Villa at home by a single goal of the Dutch man Anwar el Ghazi. The match was tight and even till the final whistle.
David Moyes should be thankful with Jesse Lindagrd’s arrival in the last transfer window. The former Manchester United man could provide more option in his attack. In Moyes’ 4-2-3-1 or 3-4-2-1, Lindgard is likely to feature as the second strike behind Michael Antonio accompanied by Jarrod Bowen. Unfortunately, there are a number of key figures ruled out for this fixture, including Arthur Masuaku, Andrey Yarmolenko, Ryan Fredericks, Angelo Ogbonna, and possibly their two goalies, Lukas Fabianski and Darren Randolph. This will definitely give Moyes more headaches.
Marcelo Bielsa will be opting for 4-1-4-1 with the transition to 4-4-1-1. Unfortunately, several names will have to be on the sideline such as Rodrigo Moreno, Jamie Shackelton, Adam Forshaw, Gaetano Berardi, Ian Ocampo, Kalvin Phillips and Robin Koch. Thus, Mateusz Klich is likely to take over the defensive midfielder post as Kalvin Phillips’s cover supported by Pascal Struijk. At the front, Patrick Bamford is still the targetman with Tyler Roberts as the second striker.
Players to watch
Jesse Lindgard is inevitably a new vital figure of the squad. The 28-year old midfielder has netted three goals and provided one assists in five games. He has been able to ease Michael Antonio’s work so that the striker who is considering switching his nationality to Jamaica lately, can focus on scoring goal.
In Leeds, Patrick Bamford is the top performer, who has contributed 13 goals plus five assists this season. Another notable name to watch is the former Rennes man, Raphinha who has bagged five goals and assists each.
West Ham vs Leeds Prediction
David Moyes’ men should be careful if he is not able to play his two goalies here. Marcelo Bielsa’s side can pose a real threat from Bamford and Raphinha, plus Stuart Dallas and Jack Harrison. Nevertheless, West Ham’s forwards can be deadly as well. Therefore, a draw is the best result here or maybe even a narrow win for Declan Rice and Co.
According to the punters, the odds for draw result are at 27/10. Meanwhile, the home side is backed to win at 19/17, whereas Leeds’ win market is at 13/5.