By Matt Farr
West Ham will need to put in a much-improved display from their 3-2 defeat to Bournemouth a week ago, with a tie with Leicester beckoning.
Both sides have struggled this season to reach the heights of last year, but the home side have started to show a little more confidence and resilience in the last couple of weeks than the visitors.
It will therefore be a tough away trip for West Ham, but one that could be made easier if they counteract the threat of these three Leicester stars.
The England striker has come crashing back down to earth following a remarkable campaign last season, and has yet to match his prolific goalscoring streak.
However, Vardy will still pose a considerable threat to West Ham if not dealt with correctly.
He likes to run in behind the defence and create space for his team-mates, and against an out-of-sorts Hammers defence he could cause countless problems.
Leicester owe a lot to their star goalkeeper. Amid all Leicester’s struggles throughout the season, the Denmark ace has come up big when needed.
He has five Premier League clean sheets this season, but that does not accurately represent his level of contribution for the Foxes this term.
West Ham will need to be at their incisive best in the final third to beat him, but they have players in Andy Carroll, Andre Ayew and Michail Antonio that can do it.
The midfield battle will be one that West Ham will need to win. If they can retain possession in the middle of the park, they can exploit some of the tiredness from Leicester’s European commitments midweek.
If they fail to do that, a revitalised Danny Drinkwater will end up running the show.
He has been an instrumental figure in Leicester’s sudden revival, and ultimately holds the key to the outcome of Saturday’s game.
West Ham’s midfield duo – possibly Mark Noble and Pedro Obiang – must ensure they don’t allow Drinkwater enough time on the ball to pick a pass, and limit his radar.
In other West Ham team news, Angelo Ogbonna has delivered a positive update on his recovery from injury.