Holstein Kiel
VfL Wolfsburg
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 4
Game Details
Montreal Impact
LA Galaxy
Game Details

Transfer Rater: Wilfred Ndidi to Arsenal

Football Whispers

Transfer Rater: Vardy to Man United

 By Ben Jacobs

Back on track, Leicester go to West Ham in search of form away from home

When Leicester City last travelled to West Ham United, they got a surprise 2-1 victory at Upton Park. The Foxes were superb in the first half and it was a sign of things to come on the road as City backed up that unexpected victory with a string of impressive and gutsy away performances.

Leicester now arrive at the Olympic Stadium on Saturday for their first-ever game there in desperate need of something similar as they go in search of their first Premier League away success of the season.

The Foxes have definitely turned a corner under Craig Shakespeare, winning all three of his matches in charge, including an outstanding 2-0 triumph over Sevilla on Tuesday.

However, all three games have been at the King Power Stadium. Leicester have looked far more nervy and toothless on their travels and it's still a bit of a head-scratcher as to why.

But the belief has well and truly returned, and a third Premier League victory on the bounce would emphatically ease relegation fears and in doing so allow City to focus on their Champions League quarterfinal.

West Ham UnitedWest Ham United
Leicester CityLeicester City
Game Details

Shakespeare would be wise to pick the same XI for the fourth game running, especially given Shinji Okazaki is such an asset on the road. However it was clear in the final 30 minutes against Sevilla that a number of players, including the Japan striker and Riyad Mahrez, could barely walk, let alone run, such was the superhuman effort they put in. Fatigue could force Shakespeare into one or two changes. Demarai Gray and Islam Slimani will certainly be hoping so.

West Ham have hit a bit of rut, so it's a pretty decent time to face the Hammers. Slaven Bilic's side are winless in their past four and lost 3-2 to Bournemouth last time out. The hosts still haven't really turned their new stadium into a fortress and the pitch is one of the bigger ones in the Premier League, which might complement City's speedy counterattacking tactics.

Shakespeare will have warned against a Champions League hangover, but that's really not the biggest concern. The main worry is Leicester won't approach the match in a positive enough manner.

The swagger that should naturally come with being Premier League champions has returned for now, so it's important City don't go back into to their shell. Win, draw or lose, it is vital the Foxes just have a real go.

It will be really disappointing if we see the jittery, disjointed Leicester of Claudio Ranieri's final 10 games return, as that would suggest the players still aren't comfortable in away matches and remain fearful about relegation.

Kasper Schmeichel again has a key role to play and will probably be the busier of the two goalkeepers. The Dane has been City's most consistent performer all campaign, but has really come into his own since what he termed the "embarrassing" home loss to Manchester United. Schmeichel is not only making crucial and often world-class stops, but adding exceptional and vocal leadership from the back.

Jamie Vandy missed a couple of easy chances against Sevilla, but his tactics were effective.

Off the field, Wes Morgan is absolutely the right captain for the club. But as age catches up on him and Robert Huth, he must focus on his own game on the field rather than leading the team. That's why Schmeichel -- whether geeing up his peers, shouting and screaming from between the sticks or livening up the crowd -- is so essential as not just a player, but a personality.

Leicester have scored eight goals in their past three games and as a result they will fancy their chances of taking maximum points if they can keep another clean sheet.

If Jamie Vardy can find his touch, City will surely claim something from the game. Even a point would be a handy result.

The England striker terrorised Sevilla's defence, putting in one of his most spirited and effective performances despite not scoring. The only criticism, and it's admittedly a harsh one, is Vardy missed three sitters. Leicester weren't made to pay by Sevilla, but in a match against West Ham in which the Foxes will probably create fewer chances, Vardy needs to be more clinical and will no doubt be the first to admit this.

Leicester are on a high right now and West Ham presents their best chance in a while to end this bizarre and demoralising away hoodoo. If the Foxes have genuinely turned a corner, they won't disappoint at the Olympic Stadium this weekend.

Ben Jacobs is ESPN FC's Leicester City blogger. Follow him on Twitter @JacobsBen.


Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.