West Ham United v Leicester City
Monday, 23rd August, London Stadium, kick off 8:00pm

by John Spillane

Round two of the 2021/22 Premier League concludes with a meeting between two of the 10 teams who picked up three points on the opening weekend. For the first time in 18 months the London Stadium should have a capacity 60,000 crowd and for David Moyes' side, who thrived on home territory without a crowd (second best home record in the EPL), they will hope to pick up where they left off.

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The 4-2 success at Newcastle last Sunday was pretty convincing, and the fact that it was achieved without last season's standout loanee Jesse Lingard was another bonus. Aaron Creswell, Declan Rice and Michail Antonio may have taken many of the plaudits, but there were also notable performances from Said Benrahma, Tomas Soucek and Jarrod Bowen. For a club who have yet to make any significant additions to their squad, a repetition of last year's sixth place finish will be a challenge.

Brendan Rodgers FA Cup winners opened their campaign with a hard fought 1-0 victory at home to Wolves, courtesy of a strike from 35 year old Jamie Vardy. Despite his age, Vardy's ongoing ability to get himself into dangerous areas remains. Though the concerns about James Maddison's future continue the return to fitness of Harvey Barnes will add to Leicester's firepower. Injuries in defensive areas continue to hit them (Jonny Evans, Wesley Fofana, James Justin) but their squad is becoming deeper and Youri Tielemans and Wilfried Ndidi offer strong protection to the back four.

There was only one point and one place separating the two last season (Leicester in 5th) with West Ham coming out on top in both encounters, 3-2 in London and a surprising 3-0 in the Midlands. Leicester often play better away from home, and look most comfortable when their opponents come into them, which the home side will be encouraged to do. A close fought game is expected and a narrow West Ham win is a cautious pick, with Michail Antonio to the fore.

Suggested bet : West Ham to win (6/4 at bet365)

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