Leicester City 4:1 West Ham United
Despite losing Vardy and Mendy to injury in the first half, City produced a fine display to thrash West Ham at the KPS on Wednesday evening…
Brendan Rodgers made two changes to his side with Chilwell and Tielemans in for Fuchs and Praet and they immediately looked better than in recent showings with West Ham barely able to get over the halfway line in the first ten minutes.
City had an early chance when Barnes and Vardy combined well in the area but Vardy had to dig his chance out from under his feet and sent his shot straight at Randolph.
West Ham, on 16% possession, had their first chance in the 15th minute when Schmeichel flapped at a corner but Cresswell sent his header over the bar.
City’s managed to make their dominance pay in the 24th minute. Barnes played Ricardo in on the right and his low cross-cum-shot was diverted home by Barnes from a yard out. There were subdued celebrations with the players looking at the linesman but, after a wait, VAR gave us permission to jump up and down. But the moment was gone.
In the 33rd minute Mendy went down with a knee injury and Rodgers had to bring Ndidi into action a little earlier than planned. Just two weeks after knee surgery he was roared onto the field.
West Ham still seemed reluctant to go forward and City passed around them without creating any chances.
Rodgers then had to make a second change two minutes before the break. After a vigorous clearance Vardy went down clutching the back of his thigh and a hush descended on the ground. After trying to carry on he had to admit defeat and was replaced by Iheanacho.
Any concerns where City’s goals would come from now were answered in the third minute of injury time. Barnes cut in from the left and threaded a perfect ball through a crowded area for Ricardo to blast home from 15 yards.
With Antonio and Fornals on for the second half, West Ham looked more like it, and Antonio muscled his way through the defence but sliced a shot wide seconds after the restart.
Then they were given a way back into the game with a penalty in the 47th minute, Ndidi needlessly making contact with Haller as he was making his way out of the area. Schmeichel was booked for protesting and was then beaten from the spot by Noble.
West Ham were back in the game now and a goalmouth scramble saw a back-heel from Antonio blocked by Schmeichel.
A couple of corners then led to Ogbonna heading over from a good position.
But City regained control of the game after a good spell for the visitors. Ricardo set up Pérez for a shot that was beaten away by Randolph. Then Maddison sent a dipping 25-yarder towards the top right hand corner but Randolph denied him with a fine save.
Although West Ham were threatening on the break, City went further ahead in the 81st minute. The lively Iheanacho burst into the area and Ogbonna brought him down as he bore down on goal. Pérez emphatically crashed the spot kick home in a manner that suggested he should get the job full time.
West Ham looked beaten now and Chilwell connected beautifully with a shot forcing another good block from Randolph.
But the West Ham keeper could do nothing about City fourth goal two minutes from time. Pérez played a one-two with Iheanacho in the area before sending a precise shot into the far corner.
Although West Ham had been poor for an hour of this game it felt like Leicester were back and Rodgers was delighted: “I think that the tempo in the team tonight was very, very good. Against Burnley we started to come back a bit but tonight we were outstanding. Dynamic. We were fast in our game, the passing was quick, we looked to dominate the ball and play with that authority. That’s how we’ve been for most of the season, with that personality.”
The news regarding Jamie Vardy was also good, with his injury not thought to be a hamstring issue.
City’s Premier League position was looking good, now for the cups…
Leicester: Schmeichel, Ricardo, Evans, Söyüncü, Chilwell, Mendy (Ndidi 34), Pérez, Tielemans, Maddison, Barnes (Morgan 83), Vardy (Iheanacho 43).
Substitutes: Justin, Gray, Albrighton, Ward.
West Ham: Randolph, Zabaleta, Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Masuaku (Antonio 45), Snodgrass (Fornals 45), Rice, Noble, Lanzini, Haller.
Substitutes: Reid, Balbuena, Sánchez, Martin, Ajeti.
Referee: David Coote. Attendance: 31,968.
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