West Ham picked up where they left off against Wolves last weekend with another impressive display to end Leicester’s 100% winning start to the season.
Boss David Moyes was again absent from the touchline as he continues to recover from coronavirus, but as in last weekend’s 4-0 victory, it did not hamper the Hammers, who offered an excellent balance of graft and guile.
Ruthless on the break, they did a similar job on Leicester to the one the Foxes did in their brilliant 5-2 win at Manchester City seven days prior.
Michail Antonio scored the first, heading in at the back post from Aaron Cresswell’s pinpoint cross from deep after the striker had himself found his team-mate with a quickly-taken free-kick.
Cresswell also assisted the second, but the credit was due more to a wonderful first touch and calm finish from Pablo Fornals, than the defender’s long ball forward.
But for a solid block from Caglar Soyuncu to repel a Jarrod Bowen shot, and a sliding Jonny Evans intervention to stop the ball finding an unmarked and well-placed Antonio, the Foxes would have been further behind before half-time.
In the second half, the brilliant Declan Rice struck the crossbar with a shot from inside the box following a driving run from deep before Bowen sealed the win with a neat finish after collecting a through-ball from Fornals.
For all their possession and territory, Leicester failed to produce a single shot on target, with their misery compounded when Jamie Vardy was flagged offside to rule out a Harvey Barnes finish in added time.
City remain second in the table, but could lose that spot with Liverpool still to play this weekend, while West Ham are up to eighth.
The hunters become the hunted
Last Sunday, Leicester pulled off arguably the most shocking result of a season that has already witnessed a month packed with goals, drama and the unexpected.
Forgoing much of the possession on that occasion to vastly-talented opponents City, they were disciplined, unshaken after falling behind to an early goal and utterly destructive when attacking moments presented themselves.
Seven days later, with the onus on them to be on the ball and break down a stubborn, well-drilled opponent, they were ponderous, imprecise and vulnerable when countered.
City can point to the absence of the injured Dennis Praet and James Maddison in midfield as a mitigating factor, but the main reason is down to the performance of the visiting side.
Jamie Vardy was given little space in which to operate by a compact and well-drilled West Ham defence, who were quick to spot and snuff out the threat of the busy Harvey Barnes and Ayoze Perez.
After years of persisting with expensive but ineffective attacking players, the Hammers appear to have hit upon a winning formula in Antonio, Fornals and Bowen – a potent combination of speed, skill, intelligence and willing pressing.
Their energy on the pitch was matched by Stuart Pearce, who cut a path from stand to touchline as the designated middle man between the home-bound Moyes and his assistant Alan Irvine.
Moyes should return after the international break and thanks to a supreme team effort from his staff and players, will be able to pick up with a team very much on the up.
West Ham United
- 18AmarteySubstituted forÜnderat 55′minutes
- 6EvansBooked at 53mins
- 24MendyBooked at 24minsSubstituted forChoudhuryat 89′minutes
- 17PérezSubstituted forIheanachoat 64′minutes
- 5CoufalBooked at 80mins
- 20BowenSubstituted forNobleat 88′minutes
- 18FornalsBooked at 67mins
- 30AntonioSubstituted forHallerat 88′minutes
- 8Felipe Anderson
Match ends, Leicester City 0, West Ham United 3.
Second Half ends, Leicester City 0, West Ham United 3.
VAR Decision: No Goal Leicester City 0-3 West Ham United.
GOAL OVERTURNED BY VAR: Harvey Barnes (Leicester City) scores but the goal is ruled out after a VAR review.
Offside, Leicester City. Harvey Barnes tries a through ball, but Jamie Vardy is caught offside.
Attempt missed. Jamie Vardy (Leicester City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Kelechi Iheanacho with a through ball.
Offside, Leicester City. Kelechi Iheanacho tries a through ball, but Jamie Vardy is caught offside.
Substitution, Leicester City. Hamza Choudhury replaces Nampalys Mendy.
Substitution, West Ham United. Mark Noble replaces Jarrod Bowen.
Substitution, West Ham United. Sébastien Haller replaces Michail Antonio.
Corner, Leicester City. Conceded by Arthur Masuaku.
Goal! Leicester City 0, West Ham United 3. Jarrod Bowen (West Ham United) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Pablo Fornals with a through ball following a fast break.
Offside, West Ham United. Arthur Masuaku tries a through ball, but Michail Antonio is caught offside.
Vladimir Coufal (West Ham United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Harvey Barnes (Leicester City) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Vladimir Coufal (West Ham United).
Corner, Leicester City. Conceded by Aaron Cresswell.
Attempt missed. Tomas Soucek (West Ham United) header from very close range misses to the left. Assisted by Jarrod Bowen with a cross following a corner.
Corner, West Ham United. Conceded by Çaglar Söyüncü.
Declan Rice (West Ham United) hits the bar with a left footed shot from the centre of the box. Assisted by Pablo Fornals following a fast break.