Leicester City 0:2 West Ham United
Two years after City’s triumphant lifting of the Premier League trophy, only a few hundred fans stayed behind to witness the ‘lap of appreciation’ at the King Power following another dire performance that saw a 2-0 defeat against West Ham…
With a growing list of injuries, and Albrighton’s suspension, Claude Puel made five changes to his side. Benalouane was drafted in at right back, Fuchs returned at left back and Iborra made an unexpected return from injury.
But from very early in the game it was clear that City would not be bouncing back from that 5-0 defeat at Palace. West Ham, still needing point for survival, looked far the more purposeful side, while City didn’t appear to have a game plan beyond sideways passes.
In the 6th minute a poor clearance from Hamer set West Ham up with a chance, but Benalouane intercepted the danger.
Then Morgan skied a clearance and the defence were slow to react, Lanzini having a shot deflected wide.
After West Ham’s early spell of pressure, the game consisted of sideways passing from City with no end product and the crowd’s frustration began to grow.
On the half hour Lanzini sent Arnautovic in on the left but Hamer got his angles right to block the shot. Arnautovic then hit the bar with a half volley, but it was only a temporary reprieve. In the next attack Arnautovic reached a cross at the far post and hooked the ball across goal to set up Joao Mario for a 6 yard finish.
City’s first real chance arrived in the 38th minute when Diabaté sent a shot wide of the right hand post.
Lanzini then lashed a shot into the side-netting from a tight angle.
The half time whistle brought a chorus of boos…
Claude Puel made a change at the break, bringing Dragovic on for Iborra and pushing Maguire forward into midfield for the second game running.
The 49th minute brought controversy when Vardy and Cresswell were in a race down the right. Cresswell went to gorund as they collided and grabbed the ball just outside the area to prevent Vardy from being clear on goal. Although he was the last man he only saw a yellow card.
West Ham broke upfield and Arnautovic lined up a shot but was blocked by a great recovery from Choudhury.
With City still struggling to create anything in West Ham’s half Puel made a double change in the 61st minute, bringing on Iheanacho and Gray for Choudhury and Diabate.
With two of City’s better performers on the day being withdrawn a chant of “You don’t know what you’re doing!” rang around the ground.
Three minutes later West Ham sealed victory with a stunning goal.
A free kick from the right was headed clear but sat up nicely for Noble, who arrowed a beautifully struck 25 yard volley past Hamer.
Arnautovic then wriggled through several challenges before Maguire got a block on his shot.
In the 75th minute Gray broke down the left but could only deliver a tame cross into the arms of Adrián.
Home fans were beginning to stream towards the exits with ten minutes remaining as the only piece of entertainment came when a pitch invader tried to give the stewards the runaround but couldn’t keep his footing.
City’s first shot on target came from Silva in the 86th minute, though it went straight at Adrián. It brought forth loudly sarcastic applause from the fans that remained.
There followed the forlorn sight of the annual ‘lap of appreciation’, by which time there were little more than a thousand fans left in the stadium. If the owners were in any doubt of the feelings towards Claude Puel’s management it was spelt out loud and clear.
Two wins in 12 games saw City at the bottom of the form table, with Puel seemingly incapable of reversing the dramatic slide.
Leicester: Hamer, Benalouane, Morgan, Maguire, Fuchs, Mahrez, Choudhury (Iheanacho 61), Iborra (Dragovic 45), Diabaté (Gray 61), Silva, Vardy.
Substitutes: Jakupovic, Thomas, Barnes, Hughes.
West Ham: Adrián, Rice, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Zabaleta, Kouyaté, Noble, Masuaku (Evra 90), João Mário, Lanzini (Carroll 75), Arnautovic (Fernandes 79).
Substitutes: Hugill, Obiang, Cullen, Trott.
Referee: C Kavanagh. Attendance: 32,013.
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