Jamie Vardy’s Christmas party continues this Afternoon as he sits out the second of his three game ban as Leicester play host to West Ham at The King Power Stadium. There may have been 30,000 Vardy masks in the stadium on Boxing Day but it did little to help Leicester’s cause.
That’s because Everton came away with all three points after a 2-0 win which sees them currently sit 7th in the table while champions Leicester are 16th and just three points clear of the drop zone. Once again Leicester are looking over their shoulders and will need to find a first win in four if they are get a bit of daylight between themselves and the bottom three.
There were boos ringing out around The King Power Stadium on Boxing Day and they were directed at Claudio Ranieri. It begs a very difficult question in that does Ranieri get a free pass and is immune to criticism or is he like any other manager who is in charge of an under performing club.
It’s a very difficult one to measure because of course Ranieri should be heralded for everything he did last season but it seems as if in the Premier League there is no such thing as a free pass and the current reaction to him is the perfect example.
But a win today would certainly ease quieten those boos and ease their concern at the league placing but with the visit of an in form West Ham that’s not going to be particularly easy. The Hammers come here having taken 10 from their last 12 available points.
Since that 5-1 drubbing to Arsenal at the start of December, Slaven Bilic’s side have gone unbeaten and on Boxing Day they were responsible for putting the final nail in the coffin of Bob Bradley’s ill fated reign at Swansea. The Hammers ran out comfortable 4-1 winners and that was enough for Swansea’s American owners.
It could have been enough for David Gold and David Sullivan after that heavy defeat to Arsenal but to their credit they gave Bilic the sometimes ‘dreaded’ vote of confidence. But it is certainly an act that has reaped rewards as the East London side have not lost since.
That run of results sees West Ham move up to 11th with a win this afternoon seeing them back in the top half for at least 24 hours what with Watford not playing until New Years Day. After a second season in charge that has had so many issues for Slaven Bilic it seems as if things are finally starting to come together again.
The key word today is confidence. It’s the one thing that Leicester are short on while West Ham in comparison are flying high. Ranieri needs to answer the growing vocal fanbase at the club and the best way to answer them is with all three points.
But West Ham are one of the form teams right now and they certainly aren’t going to roll over for the Champions this afternoon. I think the smart money will be on a draw this afternoon. A point that probably does either side any real favours but they will be grateful for it nevertheless.