Troubled Hammers sign off in despair

West Ham United v Leicester City – Premier League – London Stadium – Report

West Ham United 0-2 Leicester City

West Ham United disappointingly signed off ahead of the World Cup with a third successive Premier League defeat as improving Leicester City won by two unanswered goals at the London Stadium.

Indeed, the Hammers were booed off for the third time in just over a week following another damaging blow which will once again ask questions about the future of boss, David Moyes.

Moyes remained focused on football ahead of the clash: “This game is as big as all the others,” he explained.

“Three points are up for grabs but we’re fully aware that we want to finish this period in good form. We’ve had a load of good things so far this season; the European campaign is something I’d pick out. But we certainly know we need to do better in the Premier League. 

“We’ve got the same points as Leicester City. That must mean we’ve done something right somewhere in the league this season. We know we’ve got a really difficult game and they’re playing well, so we’ll need to be at our best.”

West Ham’s recent indifferent form has seen Moyes come under fire from sections of the London Stadium crowd. Youri Tielamans drew a smart early save from Lukasz Fabianski as the Foxes looked to intensify that pressure on the Scotsman.

But it didn’t take Leicester much longer to break the deadlock. James Maddison, buoyed by the inclusion in England’s World Cup squad, rifled home following a potent move involving Harvey Barnes, Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall and Patson Daka.

Fabianski pushed over a stinging effort from Daniel Amartey. Meanwhile, Maddison left the field somewhat concerned. Dennis Praet replaced the Foxes number ten, whose place on the plane to Qatar suddenly looked in doubt.

Leicester stopper, Danny Ward, saved from Said Benrahma, while Lucas Paquetá passed up two decent chances as the home side began to claw their way into the contest. 

Paquetá nodded wide, while Jarrod Bowen saw his strike deflected behind. Meanwhile, an unnecessarily late flag halted Tomas Soucek’s celebrations. Bowen, the man in an off-side position. 

Jarrod Bowen can’t believe it as West Ham United pass up another chance against Leicester City at the London Stadium (Rob Newell CameraSport)

Ward scoped our Paquetá’s looping header. But another late call, this time orchestrated by VAR, saw Craig Dawson penalised for a foul on Daka. However, Fabianski dived to his right, brilliantly saving Tielemans’ resulting spot-kick to keep teh home side in the contest.

Benrahma drove directly down the throat of Ward immediately after the restart. But West Ham’s dominance had yet yielded little reward. Declan Rice nodded over, while Scamacca was unable to reach Nayef Aguerd’s low centre as they continued to probe fruitlessly.

Fabianski had virtually been a spectator since the penalty save. Nevertheless, the Polish keeper was called upon to deny Leicester substitute, Jamie Vardy, while Wilfred Ndidi scuffed wide when following up.

But there was a sting in the tail. Barnes was sent clear by Ayoze Perez, and dispatched beyond the advancing Fabianski, sparking a sizable exodus amongst the disgruntled home crowd.

Whether the West Ham board act sooner rather than later remains to be seen. Either way, the East Londoners now find themselves a single point above the dropzone and are embroiled in a desperate battle to avoid relegation.

West Ham United return to Premier League action on Monday, December 26, when they face Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium (8pm).

West Ham United: West Ham United: Fabiański, Kehrer, Dawson, Zouma (Aguerd 15′), Cresswell, Rice (Capt), Souček (Fornals 75′), Bowen, Paquetá, Benrahma, Scamacca Subs not used: Areola (GK), Johnson, Coufal, Lanzini, Downes, Ogbonna, Emerson

Booked: Dawson (foul), Paquetá (foul), Scamacca (foul)

Goals: None

Leicester City: Ward, Castagne, Faes, Amartey, Thomas, Soumaré (Vardy 69′), Maddison (Praet 26′), Tielemans (Capt) (Ndidi 55′), Dewsbury-Hall (Mendy 69′), Barnes, Daka (Pérez 69′) Subs not used: Iversen (GK), Evans, Albrighton, Iheanacho

Booked: Ndidi (foul)

Goals: Maddison 8′, Barnes 78′

Referee: Jarred Gillett

Assistants: Simon Long and Steve Meredith

Fourth Official: Josh Smith

VAR: Chris Kavanagh

Assistant VAR: Dan Robathan

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Brian Jeeves

Email: sport@yellowad.co.uk