West Ham United ended Leicester City’s unbeaten start to the Premier League season after a very impressive 3-0 win at The King Power Stadium in today’s early kick-off.
With Alan Irvine still filling in for David Moyes, the team showed one change to the side that took on Wolverhampton Wanderers in their last league match a week ago, as new signing Vladimír Coufal was thrown straight into the starting line-up to replace Ryan Fredericks, who sustained a hamstring injury against Nuno Espírito Santo’s men. Declan Rice retained the Captain’s armband, as Mark Noble was once again amongst the substitutes.
Both teams had excellent results last weekend but given the significance of the home side’s sizeable victory at Manchester City, you would have thought that Foxes’ boss Brendan Rodgers would have wanted to see something from his side which showed that they were keen to follow up that result with another here.
Instead, the Hammers continued from where they had left off last Sunday. They had control of the early stages and went ahead with only fourteen minutes gone when they were awarded a freekick, following a foul on Michail Antonio. As he did last week, he reacted quickly and sent a brilliant ball across to Fabián Balbuena.
The former Nottingham Forest man then took up a great position in the penalty area, met Aaron Cresswell’s set-piece and did the rest, as he headed the ball past Kasper Schmeichel.
The Irons were determined not to lose the early advantage they had given themselves and were doing all they could to keep the Foxes at bay. Jamie Vardy and Harvey Barnes tried to find a way through to goal but both Balbuena and Angelo Ogbonna were on hand to halt the pairs’ progress.
Jarrod Bowen scored twice in last weekend’s victory and he was keen to get his name on the scoresheet again here. He went close with two attempts, the second of which was on its way in, but a deflection off Çağlar Söyüncü saw the ball go wide.
It didn’t seem to matter too much that the former Hull City winger had missed with his efforts, as the East Londoners went further in front on thirty four minutes. Cresswell was at the heart of the action again as his clearance upfield fell into the path of Pablo Fornals who showed great control to race past the Foxes’ defence and beat Schmeichel with ease.
Łukasz Fabiański had very little to do in the first fourty five minutes but immediately after half-time, he was eventually brought into the game. Thankfully though, he wasn’t troubled, as Barnes volleyed wide.
The Hammers were definitely laying siege on the home side’s goal by this point but neither Antonio or Fornals could find the killer touch.
West Ham were applying further pressure with Arthur Masuaku testing Schmeichel, before the best chance of the entire game. Rice went on a brilliant run and had the Dane beaten but unfortunately for the stand-in skipper, his effort hit the underside of the the crossbar.
The Irons sealed the victory with seven minutes of normal time to play. Rice found Fornals with his clearance and the midfielder then set Bowen away and he slotted past Schmeichel.
West Ham’s last win on the road came at Norwich City on 11 July and with their first of this season about to be rubber stamped, Irvine decided the time was right to make a double change so he introduced Noble and Sébastien Haller in place of Bowen and Antonio.
Domestic action now takes a fortnight’s break but West Ham face a cracker of a London derby on its return, as they go to The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on October 18.