Losing against Tottenham is never a good thing for any West Ham fan of course, but surprisingly there were a handful of positives to take from the defeat. The introduction of Grady Diangana the main one, putting in a much better performance on the right hand side than Michail Antonio has done all season.
As a huge believer in the academy myself (as I run the @whufcyouth account in my spare time), Diangana is a player I’ve been a huge fan of for a long time. His impressive performance against Macclesfield set him in good stead as he made his debut in injury time against Manchester United the following game before playing 50 minutes against Tottenham last Saturday after Andriy Yarmolenko’s unfortunate injury.
The Ukrainian international has been impressive this season and his injury is no doubt a big blow, considering the likes of Manuel Lanzini are already on the sidelines themselves, but Diangana is no doubt more than capable of filling in. An impressive performer for the youth teams since joining at the age of 12, it’s nice to see another name follow the likes of Declan Rice into the first team and hopefully he will be able to cement a regular place in the team with Yarmolenko out for at least six months.
In other news, Pedro Obiang will be unavailable once again for this weekend’s game against Leicester City. The midfielder missed the clash with Tottenham and won’t be able to feature against the Foxes but is anticipated he will be available for the League Cup game against Tottenham next week. Andy Carroll is also supposedly set to be available within the couple of weeks (though you can take that with a pinch of salt!) Javier Hernandez’s performances since returning from injury have been fairly encouraging, and may have more time to show what he’s capable of against Leicester with the game against Tottenham in mind.
Leicester have lost their last two league games but will surely be a tough test for the Hammers. The likes of James Maddison, Jamie Vardy, Kelechi Iheanacho and Rachid Ghezzal will all be key attacking players for the Foxes and could cause problems for our defence, but the recent performances of Issa Diop could put a stop to their plans with the French centre-back being arguably one of the most impressive players for the Hammers in recent games.
Prediction: Leicester City 1-2 West Ham United
Likely XI: Lukasz Fabianski; Aaron Cresswell, Fabian Balbuena, Issa Diop, Ryan Fredericks; Mark Noble, Declan Rice; Felipe Anderson, Robert Snodgrass, Grady Diangana; Marko Arnautovic.