West Ham produce outstanding all-round display to win at Leicester
West Ham United made it back-to-back Premier League wins with a hugely impressive 3-0 victory at Leicester City.
The Hammers were outstanding at King Power Stadium – organised and resilient in defence and incisive and clinical in attack – and secured all three points through first-half goals from Michail Antonio and Pablo Fornals and a late third from Jarrod Bowen.
It was a superb all-round display from the Irons, who stifled, outthought and punished a Leicester team who had started the weekend top of the Premier League table.
A week after seeing his first assist since March 2019 chalked off when Tomas Soucek’s header against Wolverhampton Wanderers was ruled a Raul Jimenez own-goal, Aaron Cresswell set up both goals.
The first, on 14 minutes, owed as much to Michail Antonio’s quick thinking as it did to Cresswell’s inch-perfect cross. The centre forward won a free-kick wide on the right before jumping to his feet and launching a cross-field pass for the left centre-back to advance onto.
Antonio then raced into the penalty area and headed Cresswell’s delivery past Kasper Schmeichel for his tenth goal in eleven Premier League matches and score for the fifth top-flight away game in a row – matching Mike Small’s achievement in November 1991.
Leicester’s attempts to get back on level terms were thwarted by the visitors, with debutant Vladimír Coufal making vital tackles to halt Jamie Vardy and Harvey Barnes and both Fabian Balbuena and Angelo Ogbonna making important interceptions.
West Ham continued to threaten themselves, too, with Jarrod Bowen seeing two shots blocked, the second a goalbound effort that hit Çağlar Söyüncü and looped narrowly over the crossbar.
The second goal David Moyes – managing remotely again as he continues to isolate following a positive COVID-19 test – and his coaching staff craved arrived eleven minutes before half-time in slightly unusual circumstances.
Cresswell’s clearing punt was more in hope than expectation, but Fornals anticipated the chance, beat the offside trap, controlled the dropping ball superbly and finished confidently past Schmeichel with his left foot.
Into the second half and, aside from an early scare when Harvey Barnes volleyed Lukasz Fabianski’s hurried clearance well wide, West Ham again carried the greater threat.
Antonio headed the outstanding Coufal’s cross into Schmeichel’s gloves, set up Fornals, whose first-time shot was blocked by Jonny Evans, and finally shot low but straight at the Leicester captain and goalkeeper.
The chances kept coming, too, with Masuaku seeing an effort held by Schmeichel before the imperious Declan Rice carried the ball from his own half before blasting a shot against the underside of the crossbar.
And Rice played an important role in the clinching third seven minutes from full-time, calmly clearing to Fornals, who span and released Bowen, who timed his run superbly before calmly finishing past Schmeichel to secure a richly deserved three points and rise into the top seven.
Leicester City: Schmeichel (GK) ©, Castagne, Amartey (Ünder 55), Söyüncü, Evans, Justin, Mendy (Choudhury 89), Tielemans, Perez (Iheanacho 64), Barnes, Vardy
Subs not used: Ward (GK), Fofana, Fuchs, Albrighton
Yellow cards: Mendy, Evans
West Ham United: Fabianski, Ogbonna, Balbuena, Cresswell, Coufal, Rice ©, Soucek, Masuaku, Bowen (Noble 87), Fornals, Antonio (Haller 87)
Subs not used: Randolph (GK), Johnson, Lanzini, Yarmolenko, Felipe Anderson
Goals: Antonio 14, Fornals 34, Bowen 83
Yellow cards: Fornals, Coufal
Referee: Andy Madley