Leicester Do Double Over Hammers
By Tom Dowsett
Thursday 23 Jan 2020 16:18:00
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West Ham United slipped to seventeenth place in The Premier League table following Tuesday's results. However, defeat to Leicester City at The King Power Stadium on Wednesday night did not help their cause, as they were thumped 4-1.

David Moyes made one change to the side that took on Everton in Stratford on Saturday, as Arthur Masuaku was preferred to Pablo Fornals, meaning the Spaniard dropped to the bench. Michail Antonio was a surprise inclusion amongst the substitutes, as he was included in the matchday eighteen for the first time since featuring against the Foxes just under a month ago.

Leicester has once again become a difficult place to pick up points, especially as they are now under the stewardship of Brendan Rodgers. The home side went into this game having suffered back-to-back defeats and they were obviously keen to get back to winning ways.

They were on the front foot from kick-off but, thankfully for the travelling support, Jamie Vardy didn't make the best of the opportunity when Harvey Barnes set him up and as a consequence, his effort was straight at goalkeeper Darren Randolph.

Both teams wasted chances to go in front but the hosts were showing signs of getting back to their best. They grabbed the lead on twenty four minutes when Barnes finished from close range after Ricardo Pereira had played the ball to him.

The Hammers thought that the youngster had come from an offside position. However, a VAR check was needed and eventually, the goal stood.

Injury problems then followed for both sides as Robert Snodgrass went down but following lengthy treatment, he was able to carry on.

Leicester on the other hand weren't so lucky, as they were dealt a double blow with the loss of both Nanpalys Mendy and Vardy. Mendy went straight down the tunnel, while Vardy played through the pain until he was eventually forced off just minutes later.

Losing two key players didn't seem to be a problem for the home side as they increased their advantage deep into the four minutes of stoppage time that had been added before the break. Barnes and Pereira combined again to give the Hammers a mountain to climb.

Moyes decided not to risk playing Snodgrass any longer as he made a double substitution, replacing the Scotsman and Masuaku with Antonio and Fornals. The manager also changed formation and went with two upfront for the second-half, providing striker Sébastien Haller with some much needed support.

The change of system seemed to have the desired impact as straight after the restart, Antonio tried his luck but was unable to hit the target, before referee David Coote awarded the visitors a penalty for Pereira's foul on Haller after Foxes' stopper Kasper Schmeichel had made a hash of dealing with a free-kick from Manuel Lanzini.

There was another VAR check but that didn't seem to phase Irons' Captain Mark Noble who confidently stepped up and reduced the deficit.

Antonio's introduction brought a new lease of life to the East Londoners and he was definitely causing problems as he earnt a corner for his side. Aaron Cresswell took responsibility and both Antonio and Lanzini tried to beat Schmeichel but the Dane was having none of it.

Both defences were under considerable pressure by this point with the hosts coming the closest to adding to the scoreline. Ayoze Pérez brought a tremendous save out of Randolph with his first-time shot.

Although the game had now really sprung into life, the home side were still having the best of it. Another five minutes passed and Randolph was in the thick of the action as James Maddison went close. Once again though, the Irishman was equal to the effort.

The hosts were given the chance to put further distance between themselves and their opponents when another penalty was awarded. This time, Angelo Ogbonna was penalised for a foul on Kelechi Iheanacho.

With Vardy off the pitch, it was left to Pérez to step up to the plate and he made no mistake, sending Randolph the wrong way.

After the third goal, the momentum that the visitors had built up during the second-half had slowly dissipated and having got his name on the scoresheet by converting the spot-kick, Pérez hadn't finished there, as he claimed the winner with his second on eighty eight minutes. Randolph was again given no chance as the former Newcastle United player sent the ball into the bottom left corner.

West Ham have the chance to gain some much needed confidence this weekend, as attention turns to the fourth-round of the FA Cup and their home tie against West Bromwich Albion sees them reunited with former manager Slaven Bilic.

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