West Ham United-Leicester City Preview
Alan Irvine is in line to fill in for David Moyes for a fourth game running on Sunday and says he is anticipating a "huge test" away at Premier League table-toppers Leicester City.
West Ham boss Moyes tested positive for coronavirus on September 22 and has completed a 10-day self-isolation period, but he has yet to return to the club's training ground. Assistant manager Irvine stood in for last weekend's shock 4-0 victory over Wolves - the club's first win of the league campaign - as well as the cup ties with Hull City and Everton.
The experienced coach is hoping to build on his side's emphatic win last time out in the top flight away at early pacesetters Leicester.
"It is a huge test. Leicester have started the season extremely well and have a lot of very talented players, a lot of pace and it will be a real test going there," Irvine said. "As Wolves was, though, and Arsenal the week before. Everybody saw the fixtures when they came out and went 'oh, they look difficult' but any fixture is in the Premier League.
"If we have the same level of performance as we had in the last two Premier League games then we will be competitive."
Leicester sit at the top of the division thanks to wins over West Brom, Burnley and, most impressive of the lot, Manchester City in their opening three games. They became the first side to put five goals past a Pep Guardiola-managed side last week and are now aiming to make it four league wins in a row to start a season for the first time in their history.
However, Brendan Rodgers needs no reminding of how quickly things can change after his side missed out on a top-four finish in 2019-20 following a poor second half to the season.
"If you come back to me with three games to go, that would be more exciting," Rodgers said. "We probably couldn't have started any better. I've been pleased with the levels of performance and the types of performance.
"We had to be patient against West Brom, we coped with the physicality against Burnley, and then against Man City, we played a different way. It's been a great start for us, but there's a long way to go."
Leicester City - Ayoze Perez
City beat West Ham 2-1 at the London Stadium and 4-1 at the King Power Stadium last season, with Perez directly involved in four of his side's six goals. The Spanish attacking midfielder was not involved against Man City but should return here as he goes in search of his first goal or assist of the campaign.
West Ham - Jarrod Bowen
Bowen recently claimed that he has still not proved himself as a Premier League player, having only arrived at West Ham in January. After starring in the win over Wolves with a couple of goals, however, the former Hull attacker is well on his way to showing what a talent he can be.
- West Ham have won just one of their last 11 Premier League meetings with Leicester (D4 L6), winning 2-0 away in May 2018.
- The London outfit have won just four of their 23 away Premier League games under Moyes (D5 L14), although one of those was a 2-0 win at Leicester in May 2018.
- Moyes' side have kept just three clean sheets so far in the Premier League in 2020 - fewer than any other side to have played in both campaigns. All three of the Hammers' shutouts have been in 4-0 wins (v Bournemouth, Norwich City and Wolves).
- Leicester have already scored five penalty goals in the Premier League this season, which is as many as they had in each of the 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20 campaigns. They last netted more from the spot in their title-winning 2015-16 season (10).
- No player has scored more Premier League goals this season than Leicester's Jamie Vardy (five). However, last season's golden boot winner has scored in just two of his last 12 home games in the competition (four goals in total).
Updated October 2, 2020