It wasn’t the outcome that West Ham United fans had been hoping for before the World Cup break, as they lost their third Premier League game after a 2-0 defeat to Leicester City in Stratford.
Łukasz Fabiański made his 150th Premier League appearance for the club, while Kurt Zouma was injured in the warmup but was deemed fit enough to start. This meant that David Moyes was able to name the same side that played the London derby against Crystal Palace last weekend.
Michail Antonio was left out of the matchday squad completely, while Emmerson Palmieri was deemed fit enough to take his place amongst the nine substitutes, despite suffering a broken nose in Wednesday’s Carabao Cup defeat to Sky Bet Championship side Blackburn Rovers.
The Hammers wanted to atone for their recent form but Brendan Rodgers’ team, who came into the game off the back of a victory at Everton a week ago, went ahead after just eight minutes when James Madison was on the end of Kieran Dewsbury-Hall’s cross and thumped the ball past home goalkeeper Fabiański.
It then went from bad to worse for the Irons, as Moyes was forced into his first change just seven minutes later. Zouma went down and looked to be in some discomfort. He was immediately replaced by Nayef Aguerd.
The East Londoners grew into the game and then had chances to level matters. Captain Declan Rice sent an ambitious shot towards goal but it went over the bar. Seconds later, a great team move involving Tomáš Souček and Lucas Paquetá set up Saïd Benrahma but his attempt was kept out by visiting goalkeeper Danny Ward.
West Ham’s record summer signing then went close on three separate occasions but neither of them were able to beat Ward.
The Irons did find the net minutes later but unfortunately for the home faithful, Souček’s effort was ruled out, as Jarrod Bowen was in an offside position.
Paquetá tried his luck again and it looked as if he’d equalised but the Brazilian midfielder was quite brilliantly denied by Ward.
Foxes’ striker Patson Daka then went down in the area, following a foul by Craig Dawson. After a lengthy VAR check, referee Jarred Gillett awarded a penalty.
Youri Tielmans stepped up to take the kick but Fabiański was equal to the effort and the save was met by loud cheers from the majority inside the stadium.
Half-time arrived and the East Londoners were still seeking an equaliser to avoid another defeat this week.
When the action restarted, the hosts continued to apply pressure. Benrahma tested Ward from distance but the Welshman was in the right place again. Bowen then failed to get a good connection onto Paquetá’s attempt after clever play from Rice had set the former Olympique Lyonnais player up.
Soon after, the home side were awarded a corner but Rice headed over, before the visitors could breathe a sigh of relief when the pressure finally subsided, as Gianluca Scamacca couldn’t turn Thilo Kehrer’s cross home.
Rodgers introduced Ayoze Pérez as one of two changes on sixty eight minutes to take the place of Dewsbury-Hall.
Moyes made his second change on seventy five minutes, as Fornals was introduced for Souček.
Three minutes after the Spaniard had entered the fray, the former Newcastle United striker found Harvey Barnes, who seemingly put the game beyond the hosts as he beat Fabiański.
To their credit, the home side were still trying to get a goal but after four minutes of stoppage time were added to the ninety, Gillett blew the final whistle and just as they did after the defeat to the Eagles last weekend, some of the home support didn’t hold back in letting their feelings be known.
With the focus now on the Qatar World Cup, Premier League action returns on Boxing Day and the Hammers travel to North London for a late kick-off against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.