David Moyes continues to suffer from mild symptoms of coronavirus but West Ham are a team in the rudest of health.
Strong at the back, balanced and coherent, quick and clinical on the attack, they destroyed Leicester’s hopes of climbing to the top of the Premier League table.
Michail Antonio and Pablo Fornals put the Londoners in control in the first half at the King Power and Jarrod Bowen grabbed the third, on the break eight minutes from time, to kill the contest.
West Ham ended Leicester’s 100 per cent record in the Premier League this season with a win
Michail Antonio scored his 10th goal in 11 top-flight appearances to give West Ham the lead
Pablo Fornals then doubled the lead after controlling Aaron Creswell’s long ball and finishing
Bowen then sealed the win after finishing past Kasper Schmeichel after being set up by Fornals
MATCH FACTS AND PLAYER RATINGS
Leicester 3-4-3: Schmeichel 6; Amartey 5 (Under 55 min, 5), Evans 6, Soyuncu 5.5; Castagne 6, Tielemans 6, Mendy 6 (Choudhury 88), Justin 6; Perez 5 (Iheanacho 63, 5), Vardy 5.5, Barnes 5.
Booked: Mendy, Evans.
Subs: Ward, Fofana, Fuchs, Albrighton.
Manager: Brendan Rodgers 5
West Ham 3-4-2-1: Fabianski 6; Balbuena 6.5, Ogbonna 7, Cresswell 7; Coufal 6.5, Soucek 7, Rice 7.5, Masuaku 6.5; Bowen 7 (Noble 87), Fornals 7; Antonio 8 (Haller 87).
Subs: Randolph, Johnson, Yarmolenko, Anderson, Lanzini.
Goals: Antonio 14, Fornals 34, Bowen 82
Booked: Fornals, Coufal.
Manager: David Moyes 7.5
Ref: Andy Madley 6.5
Leicester, having had plundered a dozen in their previous three league outings, including a famous five at Manchester City, barely threatened Lukasz Fabianski’s goal until the visitors were 3-0 up.
Jamie Vardy scooped a shot wide when he was clean through with only Fabianski to beat in the last-minute, and Harvey Barnes put the ball in the net in stoppage time, only to see his effort ruled out for an offside offence.
‘We were nowhere near out best,’ said Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers, who was without James Maddison and Dennis Praet, both injured. ‘We lacked intensity and aggression. They were able to play out way too easily from the back. There was a lack of quality in our passing.
‘It was another lesson for us at this level because if you don’t perform at your maximum you can fall short. We were off it and they capitalised. We have shown our potential, we need to improve our consistency.’
For West Ham, it was a second Premier League victory in a row following the 4-0 demolition of Wolves at the London Stadium.
Moreover, it represented back-to-back clean sheets and six points from two games since Moyes and two players, Issa Diop and Josh Cullen, tested positive for coronavirus almost two weeks ago.
Diop is back in training, although not involved at Leicester, and Cullen is close to completing a move to Anderlecht.
Moyes hopes to be back on the training pitch this week, perhaps as soon as Tuesday, and expects to be on the touchline when West Ham return to action against Tottenham, after the international break.
‘I believe he was dancing around his apartment after the last one, so I imagine he’ll be doing much the same again,’ smiled his assistant Alan Irvine. ‘He’s doing very well from there, absolutely.
‘David is heavily involved in everything. It’s very important people know that. We talk about training, he picks the team and we talk about substitutions during the game. We deliver the messages and the players have been terrific.’
Harvey Barnes had a late consolation goal ruled out for offside against Jamie Vardy
Alan Irvine stood in once again for David Moyes, who is displaying mild coronavirus symptoms
The Hammers took the lead when Antonio met Creswell’s cross to nod past Kasper Schmeichel
Pablo Fornals beat the offside trap and controlled a Creswell punt to double their advantage
Moyes made the call to hand Vladimir Coufal a debut at wing-back, just days after a £5million move from Slavia Prague, and to start once again with big-money stars Felipe Anderson, Sebastien Haller and Andriy Yarmolenko on the bench.
Antonio’s form has made that decision simple. He ran tirelessly, provided a physical presence and aerial threat, and he opened the scoring when he drifted behind Caglar Soyuncu and met a deep cross from Aaron Cresswell at the far post.
It was a textbook header, planted firmly down and across goal and, as it nestled into the net, he became the first West Ham player to score in five consecutive top-flight away games since Mike Small in 1991.
Antonio, at this point of the game, had scored his team’s last seven away goals in the Premier League, although his teammates would soon get in on the act.
Jamie Vardy endured a frustrating afternoon and was kept quiet by the West Ham defence
Jonny Evans and the Leicester defence cut frustrated figures as they were opened up
Leicester started the second half brightly through Barnes but he snatched at a chance
Cengiz Under came on for his debut for Brendan Rodgers’s side after replacing Daniel Amartey
Fornals converted the second, before half-time, bursting through Leicester’s defensive line to collect a sprialling clearance from Cresswell with an exquisite first-touch, did not break his stride and beat Schmeichel at his near post.
Leicester lost Daniel Amartey, one of their three central defenders, to a hamstring problem soon after the interval and Rodgers used the setback as an opportunity to change the shape of his team.
It was a bitter blow for Amartey who has only recently returned after two years blighted by injuries. Cengiz Under was sent on for his debut and Leicester flexed into a back-four. Kelechi Iheanacho soon followed from the bench.
West Ham proved strong in defence, their back-five superbly shielded by Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek, and they lost none of their potency on the break.
Antonio continued to cause problems for Caglar Soyuncu and Leicester with his runs forward
Vardy continued to be well marshalled by Angelo Ogbonna who gave an imperious display
And after sucking up a lot of pressure, West Ham broke and sealed the game through Bowen
Vardy was starved of touches at one end as Antonio feasted at the other, tormenting the central defenders and forcing more saves from Schmiechel, as Leicester took more risks and poured forward.
Jonny Evans denied Fornals and Rice crashed a left-footer against the bar after a rampaging run from his own half. They deserved the third and it came from Bowen, with a confident finish after a pass from Fornals.
Irvine praised the ‘shape’ and their ‘work ethic’ not qualities commonly associated with West Ham but their determination to come away with a clean sheet was epitomised by Angelo Ogbonna who whopped in celebration the late miss from Vardy and the VAR intervention to rule out the goal by Barnes.
‘I’m not sure how important it’s been to them previously,’ said Irvine. ‘There’s a real pride in keeping a clean sheet.’
It was the third time Schmeichel had been beaten in the Foxes’ defeat at the King Power
Vardy’s off day was summed up when he put a clear chance over Lukasz Fabianski but wide
And it was a hugely frustrating day for Brendan Rodgers’ side after beating Man City last week