Lingard at the double as Hammers down Foxes
West Ham United 3-2 Leicester City
West Ham United secured a league double over Leicester City at the London Stadium on Sunday thanks to a brace from Jesse Lingard and second half strike from Jarrod Bowen.
After a quiet opening 30 minutes, the east Londoners came alive, with Lingard continuing his sensational form since arriving from Manchester United and firing in two goals before the break.
Bowen continued the onslaught into the second half, before Kelechi Iheanacho fired in two second half goals to set up an interesting finale. However, the Hammers hung on to claim all three points, and subsequently move back into the top four as well as completing a league double over their opponents.
David Moyes was forced into one change from the thrilling victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers last time out, as Jarrod Bowen returned to the starting XI in place of the injured Michail Antonio.
The game began with the visitors having the first sight of goal, with Kelechi Iheanacho finding space outside of the area and rifling an effort into the clutches of Łukasz Fabiański.
A long ball forward from the Leicester backline then caused an issue for Aaron Cresswell, as the Nigerian forward latched onto a poor header before slicing his shot well wide of the target.
The Hammers had their first opportunity of the match with 16 minutes on the clock. Craig Dawson climbed highest to meet a Cresswell corner, with Soucek coming close to getting to the ball ahead of Leicester skipper, Kasper Schmeichel.
Two minutes later and the home side could have been ahead. Arthur Masuaku delivered a scintillating ball into the six-yard box from deep and Bowen was a whisker away from making content, instead the 24-year-old could only collide with the far post.
Both sides continued to exchange blows, with Jamie Vardy finding the hands of Fabianski with a tame effort on the half term.
The home side began to dominate the ball in search of the game’s opening goal. Another sumptuous ball in from Masuaku narrowly evaded Pablo Fornals at the back post, before Vladimír Coufal squared the ball across to Lingard to score his seventh goal in nine matches for West Ham with a well-placed finish.
Leicester gathered themselves after conceding and went in search of an equaliser. Iheanacho was once again the man that looked the most likely to find the net for Leicester, but his effort on 36 minutes was bravely blocked by Craig Dawson.
The away side looked venerable on the counter attack, and had Cofual picked his head up earlier, the Hammers could have been two up at the break. The Czech Republic international charged forward on the counter-attack, but failed to pick out the right pass at the crucial moment and the chance was lost.
The full-back barely had time to rue the wasted opportunity, as the Hammers doubled their lead just before the break. A long ball from Issa Diop picked out Bowen behind enemy lines, with the winger laying the ball back for Lingard to tap the ball home for his second of the game with Schmeichel stranded.
The first half came to a close shortly afterwards, with David Moyes’ side in control at the break.
The goals didn’t stop for the Hammers as the second half began as the home side found a third three minutes after the restart. Great build up play involving Lingard and Soucek set up Jarrod Bowen, who smashed the ball beyond Schmeichel to give his side a commanding lead.
Issa Diop was the next West Ham player to get in on the act, as he found the back of the net with a close-range header, only for VAR to rule the effort out for offside.
Leicester looked out of ideas in their search for a way back in the content, with Wilfred Ndidi summing up their afternoon as he fired over from close range on 61 minutes.
However, Iheanacho found the goal that he and his side so desperately craved after an error from Masuaku. A loose pass from the wing-back fell at the feet of the Nigerian, who rifled the ball beyond Fabianski with 20 minutes to play at London Stadium.
The momentum of the game swung in the visitors favour and Ndidi was denied by a fantastic block from Mark Noble, who was making his 400th appearance for West Ham United in the Premier League.
The Foxes continued in their search of a second goal to make the final ten minutes at the London Stadium interesting, but Fabianski had other ideas. The goalkeeper flung himself at Ricardo Pereira and Jamie Vardy in quick succession.
David Moyes' side looked to have weathered the storm, but once again found themselves in familiar territory. Iheanacho creeped into the area and slammed the ball home to set up a tense final couple of minutes.
Wesley Fofana had the chance to level the game up with the last effort of the match, but his header landed wide of the target much to the relief of David Moyes and his side.
The Hammers move back into the top four with the win and complete a league double over Leicester City in the process.
West Ham United: Fabiański, Diop, Dawson, Cresswell (Balbuena 53), Coufal, Noble (c) (Johnson 81), Souček, Masuaku, Fornals, Lingard, Bowen (Benrahma 84).
Subs: Martin (GK), Trott (GK), Alves, Fredericks, Coventry, Odubeko.
Goals: Lingard 29, 44, Bowen 48.
Booked: Soucek, Cresswell, Masuaku
Leicester City: Schmeichel (c), Amartey (Thomas 45), Evans, Fofana, Pereira, Praet (Albirhgton 59), Tielemans, Ndidi, Castagne, Vardy, Iheanacho.
Subs: Ward (GK), Mendy, Fuchs, Daley-Campbell, Leshabela, Tavares, Suengchitth.
Goals: Iheanacho 70, 91.
Booked: Pereira, Fofana, Ndidi