With Southampton suffering a huge turnaround in fortunes, fourth place in the Premier League is West Ham's if they want it. A win at Upton Park on Saturday will indicate that they do.
West Ham sit two points ahead of both Arsenal and fallen Southampton in the Premier League table and we expect them to maintain their fourth place into the Christmas period, starting with what should be a routine win against struggling bottom-placed Leicester City at Upton Park.
The Foxes rank alongside Burnley as the club most likely to suffer relegation to the Championship at the end of the season and even in the unlikely scenario that they win on Saturday, they may not even lift themselves up from bottom spot should Hull avoid a big defeat against Swansea City at the KC Stadium.
We can’t really see where a Leicester win will come from, Nigel Pearson’s side managing a mere two points from their last eleven matches. The visit to Hull after Christmas may provide the Foxes with their best chance of three points in the near future, however it’s unlikely that they will manage a win or even a draw at the Boleyn Ground this weekend, especially against a Hammers side who look like they are going to maintain their fine form for the foreseeable future.
West Ham can consider themselves unlucky that they failed to win in their match at Sunderland last weekend, however a late penalty denied Sam Allardyce’s side the points and they had to settle for a single point.
Nevertheless, that draw is no indication that form is dropping off and Allardyce will be demanding nothing short of maximum points from the visit of Leicester.
West Ham are certainly not used to being at this level at this stage of the season and should they manage to maintain this position, Allardyce will be an extremely happy man. A finish in the top four at the end of the season is very unlikely however and should they close the season in the top eight, this would be deemed to be a huge achievement.
Leicester can only look enviously at West Ham’s position, fearful that another defeat this weekend would send them even further towards relegation to the Championship.
Our betting tips
West Ham win-to-nil – Coral 12/5
West Ham win and over 2.5 Goals – Betfair 17/5