Hammers Dig Deep For Point at Leicester

After finally hitting the 40 point mark with the win over Watford on Tuesday night, West Ham United earned another point as their trip to The King Power Stadium to face Leicester City ended in a 2-2 draw on Sunday afternoon.

David Moyes made two changes to the team that played against the Hornets five days ago, as Issa Diop replaced Kurt Zouma in defence, while Manuel Lanzini came into the starting line-up in place of Saïd Benrahma, who dropped to the bench. The manager named two goalkeepers amongst his substitutes as Alphonse Areola was joined in the matchday squad by Darren Randolph.

It looked as if the Hammers might have had to deal with an early injury blow when Aaron Cresswell went down under a challenge but after lengthy treatment, he was thankfully able to continue.

With their first real attempt of the game, the travelling contingent were cheering as Jarrod Bowen notched up yet another goal in the tenth minute, beating Kasper Schmeichel with a measured finish.

It was Diop who set the former Hull City winger up with a ball over the top of the Foxes’ defence and when Brendan Rodgers’ side had a chance ten minutes later, the Frenchman blocked Patson Daka’s route to goal. There was then some respite for West Ham, as Łukasz Fabiański was on hand to collect the ball.

Whilst the home side were trying several different moves to break the visitors down, both Cresswell and Vladimír Coufal were in the way to prevent them from equalising.

Although the visitors were orchestrating matters for large parts of the opening forty five minutes, there were still chances at either end but the Irons managed to keep their advantage intact.

The home side hadn’t really offered anything of note in the first-half but they were handed a lifeline just before the break when referee Michael Oliver awarded them a penalty, as Creswell inadvertently handled the ball.

Fabiański nearly got something on the effort from Youri Tielemans but not quite enough as the power on the kick beat the Pole and the scores were level.

The East Londoners could have even gone down the tunnel in front but unfortunately, Pablo Fornals didn’t get enough of a connection onto Michail Antonio’s cross.

The visitors weren’t finished there either, as they went close again when Fornals set up Cresswell but he slightly dragged the effort and a subsequent deflection off Lanzini meant it went wide.

After doing the double over Watford on Tuesday night, the Hammers still had a chance of achieving that feat here and they looked to try and build on an impressive first-half after the restart.

Spectators are not party to what managers say to their players in the dressing rooms but, how ever Rodgers conveyed his points to the hosts, it certainly had the desired effect, as the East Londoners were unable to live with Leicester’s threat when the action was back underway.

Evidence of this was shown when Craig Dawson’s clearance fell to James Maddison to try his luck but he rather snatched at the opportunity and it flew miles wide.

Both teams were really piling the pressure onto each other by this point and a great team move between Fornals and Creswell nearly presented Bowen with a chance to put the Hammers back in front but he was unable to add to his tally as his effort was blocked by Daniel Amartey.

On fifty five minutes, Rodger’s side nearly turned the game around but fortunately, Daka couldn’t finish an easy chance off after being set up by Harvey Barnes.

On sixty seven minutes, Moyes made his first change as he replaced Coufal with Ryan Fredericks.

The majority inside the stadium did have something to smile about after they saw their side go in front soon after. Great play from both Tielemans and Barnes set up Ricardo Pereira, who gave Fabiański no chance.

Pereira was by now proving a handful. He went mightily close again soon after when a similar set up meant he had the ball at his feet again but this time, his attempt hit the crossbar.

Tielemans tried his luck as Leicester looked to extend their advantage further but he was inches away from connecting with a great ball from Barnes and the chance had been passed up.

Moyes then made a further double change on seventy nine minutes with Benrahma taking the place of Fornals and Nikola Vlašić being introduced for Lanzini.

Benrahma certainly made an impact but it was fair to say that it was more meaningful than that made by Fredericks. The Algerian actually turned his effort into a real chance as it looped just wide of Schmeichel’s goal.

Benrahma created another chance for himself when he eased past two home defenders but he shot straight at Schmeichel.

Leicester looked like they were heading for three points when four minutes of stoppage time were added but seconds after that announcement, West Ham made sure they would go back to East London with at least a point, as Dawson headed in from Bowen’s corner.

Having missed out on three points here, the Irons have the chance to atone when they face the challenge a new look Newcastle United side when they visit Stratford for Saturday’s early kick-off.