West Ham United 1-2 Leicester City

Barclays Premier League 
West Ham United 1-2 Leicester City  

West Ham United came back down to earth with a Barclays Premier League bump on Saturday, as Claudio Ranieri's Leicester City made it six out of six with victory at the Boleyn Ground. 

The Foxes were two goals to the good at the interval, courtesy of Shinji Okazaki on the rebound from point-blank range and then Riyad Mahrez's sweet left-foot finish.   

Dimitri Payet halved the Hammers' arrears ten minutes after the break, beating Kasper Schmeichel with a glorious strike into the top corner.

That, however, was about as good as it got in a largely frustrating afternoon for the hosts, who had Adrian harshly sent off late on for a high challenge on Jamie Vardy.           

Slaven Bilic made just one change to the side that swept Arsenal aside, with Carl Jenkinson, ineligible against his parent club on Sunday, replacing the unfortunate James Tomkins at right-back. Summer signing Pedro Obiang was among the substitutes, having recovered from a hamstring injury.  

Fresh from their heroics at the Emirates, the Hammers were almost ahead inside two minutes here. Payet’s free-kick from the left was met by Diafra Sakho, whose header grazed the bar.  

With 16 gone, Mauro Zarate let fly from the edge of the box and the Argentine’s strike ricocheted perfectly into the path of that man Sakho again. West Ham’s No15 smashed it over the top from ten yards, but the offside flag was up in any case. 

The tide then turned in dramatic fashion. Mahrez firstly slalomed his way into the box, beating Aaron Cresswell and Oxford, before eventually being crowded out. From the resulting corner, Robert Huth’s overhead needed an Adrian glove to turn it behind, though referee Anthony Taylor awarded a goal-kick. 

Leicester’s sense of injustice soon abated as they hit the front in the 27th minute. Vardy’s left-wing cross drifted over Angelo Ogbonna and was met sweetly on the volley by Okazaki. Adrian sprung to his left to produce an excellent one-handed stop, but the ball ballooned straight up in the air for the Japanese forward to nod home the rebound.  

There was more damage done before the interval, with the dangerous Mahrez slamming the visitors into a two-goal lead. After Okazaki had run in behind, Marc Albrighton picked out Mahrez, who barely had to break stride as he swept home emphatically into the far corner. 

As the first half ticked down, Cresswell delivered a low ball to the near post, where the waiting Zarate tried to flick it goalward, but got it all wrong. Then Cheikhou Kouyate made tracks into the box, but his cross-cum-shot drifted harmlessly over the top. 

But the best chance was still to come. Deep into added time, Sakho raced onto Payet’s through ball and beat Schmeichel to it, prodding just wide, before falling to earth under the challenge of the Leicester ‘keeper. Replays showed Sakho had indeed been impeded by the outstretched arm of Schmeichel but Taylor was having none of it and merely told Sakho to get back to his feet.     

Obiang was brought on for his Premier League bow at the interval, with young Oxford the man to make way. The Spaniard started with a skip in his step as the Hammers began to knock on the Leicester door with a greater degree of urgency.   

And on 55 minutes the Foxes gave way. Noble squared for the Frenchman on the edge of the box, whose first shot was blocked by Sakho of all people. Kouyate had the presence of mind to roll it straight back to the No27, who set himself and then dispatched a right-footed shot into the top corner. Deficit halved, game on.  

Moments later, Sakho dropped off to the far post to meet Payet's deep corner, but his header, in truth, was comfortable enough for Schmeichel.

But Leicester were not done either. An unmarked Albrighton fired Mahrez's corner well wide of the target, before Danny Drinkwater spurned another presentable chance, blazing high over the top from 20 yards.  

With ten still to play, Sakho went closer still. Substitute Manuel Lanzini nodded into the Senegal striker's direction, who slammed into the midriff of the grateful Schmeichel. A yard either side and West Ham would surely have been celebrating the equaliser.  

There was late drama, but certainly not of the kind that West Ham wanted. Adrian went up for a corner and in a desperate bid to retrieve possession only succeeded in connecting with Vardy on the edge of the box.

A high challenge it was, no doubt, but Adrian only had eyes for the ball. With all three changes made, Jenkinson went between the sticks for the dying seconds, as the visitors made it two league wins out of two.        

 West Ham United: Adrian, Jenkinson, Reid, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Oxford (Obiang 46), Kouyate (Lanzini 76), Noble (c), Payet, Sakho, Zarate (Maiga 82)
Subs: Randolph, Nolan, Tomkins, Jarvis

Goal: Payet 55 

Booked: Jenkinson  

Sent off: Adrian

Leicester City: Schmeichel, de Laet (Benalouane 66), Drinkwater, Morgan (c), Huth, Vardy, King, Albrighton, Schlupp, Okazaki (Kante 62), Mahrez (Fuchs 82) 
Subs: Hammond, Kramaric, Ulloa, Maddison  

Goals: Okazaki 27, Mahrez 38    

Booked: Vardy, Okazaki, Benalouane   

Referee: Anthony Taylor