Odds: Leicester 19/20, The Draw 12/5, West Ham 11/4
For the ever-swelling multitude of neutrals willing Leicester City from win to win, the natural response to the media reaction to each fresh success is to enter a catatonic state.
What other way to blank out the reckless suggestions of Danny Murphy, Alan Shearer and their ilk, that the Foxes will not be caught in the race for the Premier League title?
Sure they’re seven points ahead of second-placed Tottenham with five games to go, but not one of their remaining outings looks devoid of the potential to halt their winning streak and begin the sabotage of our collective dreams.
First of the quintet of flies swarming around the outer reaches of the Foxes’ ointment is West Ham, like a claret and blue Trojan horse… with wings.
Without a win in five outings, the graphical representation of their recent form above couldn’t look more different from Leicester’s all-W-affair.
Involved in a pulsating, but ultimately fruitless FA Cup replay against Manchester United in midweek, they might reasonably be expected to be second best when it comes to energy levels at the King Power too.
Yet, somehow, it remains impossible to dispel the grim notion that it is inevitable that Leicester’s title march will hit a snag sooner rather than later.
Defeated just five times since August, Slaven Bilic’s men could just be that side.
Win, Lose or Draw?
As ever, Leicester remain attractively-priced for victory given their irresistible form, having now gone five successive victories without concession.
On the surface, West Ham’s recent ledger doesn’t come close to measuring up, yet even the most superficial of scratches to the veneer shows they have been unfortunate not to have seen off several quality adversaries during that sequence.
Miserable luck with refereeing howlers has dogged their steps in draws against Man Utd and Chelsea (away) and Crystal Palace and Arsenal (at home).
Only their most recent disappointment, the cup loss to United, came devoid of excuses.
In common with the four matches that preceded it, slackness in defence also played a sizeable part in their downfall – they have now shipped at least twice in five of their last six outings.
Against opposition who defend as well as their hosts are at present, such porousness is tantamount to a blank cheque.
As alluded to in the previous paragraph West Ham have been involved in a string of goal-rich encounters of late.
They’ve rewarded both-teams-to-score punters six games straight, over 2.5 goals bettors in five of those fixtures and backers of 3.5 strikes or more in four.
Leicester have almost completely the opposite persona, with their past five outings rewarding under-2.5 and BTS-No investors.
In current form only one side can be backed to impose their personality on proceedings.
Who will do the damage?
Trying to ascertain which of Riyad Mahrez, Jamie Vardy and Shinji Okazaki is most likely to deliver for the Foxes this week is a fool’s errand when Andy King loves bagging against the Irons so much.
The League One promotion campaign veteran has struck four times against the Eastenders in six career clashes, including the decisive strike in each of the sides’ last two meetings at the King Power Stadium.
On the bench for the last two games, bets are refunded if he isn’t on the pitch when the decisive strike comes.
Seven clean sheets in their last nine home games illustrates just how hard it is to score on Claudio Ranieri’s men.