Opposition Q & A
After a much stronger West Ham performance against Manchester United last weekend, this Saturday sees us welcoming Leicester City to the London Stadium. Coming off the back of a defeat they will be hoping for a good result against us to maintain their current position of seventh. Ahead of the game I spoke to Chris Forryan of online fanzine leicestertilidie to garner his thoughts on the season, the game, etc.
Hi Chris, Leicester have been a bit like West Ham in having 3 or 4 managers in the past 4 years. Were you one of those who thought Claude Puel’s time was up? Early days yet, but how is Brendan Rodgers standing up to comparison with him and previous incumbents?
Regarding Puel: I was sceptical when he was appointed, and he had the poisoned chalice of letting some of the title winners and big earners leave whilst bringing through our excellent youth prospects. That said it is hard to rebuild a house when the current one is crumbling around you and at times the team was. Results overall were not good enough and he never won over the fans. I was surprised he stayed as long as he did, a couple of good wins over Man City & Chelsea at Christmas keeping him in the job a bit longer. Too early to judge Rodgers at the moment to be fair.
As the season wraps up Leicester sit ‘best of the rest’, but you’ve got a hard run in, do you think you’ll stay in 7th place? Are you satisfied with that, or do you think that as recent champions you should be closer to the top 4?
That was a one off season, but we have struggled to follow up that success. Top 4 is out of the question when you look at the clubs that occupy those positions normally. With a couple of the big boys normally struggling each season a top 6 should be our aim. If you ask will we finish top 7 this season? No we have a tough run in and I think it would be too soon. Let Rodgers have a full pre-season and look to aim for that 2019/20.
How do you think Manuel Pelligrini is doing on his return to the Premier League with West Ham?
Surprised me when he went to West Ham to be fair, but then I was when Rodgers joined us. Always interesting to see how Managers that win things with clubs with ‘money’ like MCFC actually manage with less financially backed clubs. After a poor start he seems to have got you improving and next season will be the real test
Where will West Ham finish the season?
Top 10 might just be beyond you this season, but you should be in the group just behind this.
You’ve had a few players come into your team since you won the league who have been your best and worst recent purchases? Can any of them replace Rihad Mahrez and N’golo Kante?
Gray flatters to deceive in the Mahrez mould but if we can keep hold of Youri Tielemans after his loan expires he could prove to be better than Mahrez. When Ndidi is on form he looks as good as any we have had to replace Kante. And he has seen off European heavyweights Iborra & Silva to be first choice in that position.
Gary Lineker or Jamie Vardy?
Jamie Vardy. Lineker is a hero to LCFC fans but he was a tap in from inside the box player. We all know what Vardy can do from anywhere in the opposition’s half.
Who is going to get you vote for player of the season this year, and who has also been in the running?
Ricardo Pereira is leading the poll on the LTID website atm and I must agree with that. Now he has settled into one position of attacking Right back (rather than switching every game between RB & RM) he has made that position his own.
Ndidi is good and had Marc Albrighton not got himself injured and than there is Youri Tielemans, had he been here all season he would have probably walked it.
Who has not merited their place in the Leicester City squad?
Kelechi Iheanachi. Lets face it you or me could score goals if we played in that Man City team. He looks lazy and uninterested and has one season to prove himself under Rodgers if he is lucky, or he will go. If we sign another striker he will fall further down the pecking order anyway.
Which West Ham player if any, would you like to see lining up for Leicester?
Can we have Declan Rice please.
Yes Declan is proving to be very popular! How will Leicester line up against West Ham on Saturday? Team/Line up?
I would imagine the same as Newcastle last Friday night. Newcastle came and did a job on us, they all have a point to prove.
Are you confident you can beat us this weekend? Prediction for the score?
You can’t tell with Leicester this season, so no I’m not. We are both coming off defeats, but will go for a 2-1 Leicester Victory.
Well many thanks to Chris for his time. I think that despite having a few players missing, we will build on last week’s performance and get back to winning ways. I’m going to reverse Chris’s prediction and go for 2 – 1 to the Mighty Claret and Blue. COYI!