Leicester 0-2 West Ham: Hammers secure Premier League safety
By Charlotte Marsh
Last Updated: 06/05/18 12:09am
West Ham secured their Premier League safety with a 2-0 win against Leicester, whose winless run under Claude Puel continued on Saturday.
The Hammers were deserving of their win at the King Power Stadium as Joao Mario opened the scoring in the 34th minute before Mark Noble (64) produced a superb volley to seal a vital three points.
Leicester - the day after Puel was given backing by the club's chairman - offered little in terms of a reply and did not have a shot on target until the 86th minute.
Leicester: Hamer (6), Benalouane (6), Morgan (7), Maguire (7), Fuchs (6), Mahrez (5), Silva (7), Iborra (5), Choudhury (7), Diabate (6), Vardy (6).
Subs used: Dragovic (6), Iheanacho (4), Gray (5).
West Ham: Adrian (7), Rice (6), Ogbonna (7), Cresswell (7), Zabaleta (7), Kouyate (6), Noble (7), Joao Mario (7), Masuaku (7), Lanzini (6), Arnautovic (8).
Subs used: Carroll (6), Fernandes (4), Evra (n/a).
Man of the match: Marko Arnautovic.
The Foxes remain in ninth place but are now winless in five Premier League games, while West Ham have moved five points clear of the relegation places with two games left to play. With 17th-placed Southampton to play Swansea in 18th on Tuesday, victory for the Hammers means they will remain a top-flight club next season.
West Ham began the game well, but could not really test Leicester goalkeeper Ben Hamer until the half an hour mark, with Manuel Laznini sliding Marko Arnautovic through in the area but his shot was well blocked by the legs of the stopper.
Leicester made five changes with Christian Fuchs, Yohan Benalouane, Adrien Silva, Vicente Iborra and Fousseni Diabate coming into the XI. West Ham made two changes as Joao Mario and Arthur Masuaku started the game.
Two minutes later, Arnautovic should have opened the scoring but his brilliantly curled effort could only ping against the upright and go wide, with Hamer well beaten in goal.
West Ham found the breakthrough in the 34th minute as Arthur Masuaku delivered a superb cross into the area that met Arnautovic, who took two flicked touches before sliding the ball back for the waiting Joao Mario. The Portuguese then swept home past Hamer.
Leicester improved at the start of the second half but struggled to find their rhythm up front with the Hammers doubling their lead in the 64th minute. It was a wonderful strike from Noble as he collected a headed clearance from Aleksandar Dragovic before powering a volley through the area and into the net off the post.
The Foxes had their first shot on target in the 86th minute, although it was a tame effort from Adrien Silva that went straight into the hands of Adrian, but the goalkeeper was more sternly tested not long after. He palmed away a near-post header from Yohan Benalouane before denying the defender again as he tried to head home from a corner.
Harry Maguire and Jamie Vardy both played the full 90 minutes, and despite the defeat, the defender did not do too much wrong. Vardy did very little, but was starved of service from his team-mates more than his own performance. Aaron Cresswell also did well despite a bizarre handball booking, while Andy Carroll made a decent 20 minute cameo after a turbulent week.
- Leicester are without a win in six home Premier League games (D4 L2), their longest winless streak in the league on home soil since a run of six ending on Boxing Day 2014 (D2 L4).
- The Foxes have lost four of their last five league games (D1), as many defeats as they had suffered in their previous 13.
- West Ham have scored in each of their last 11 away Premier League games their longest scoring run in the top-flight since December 1966 (14 games).
- Leicester have failed to score in three consecutive Premier League games for the first time since February 2017 (a run of six which were Claudio Ranieri's last games in charge).
Claude Puel: "I think it is normal [the fan reaction of boss at full-time] because it is a tough period with some negativity and blame. I would like to apologise for the last performance because it is not enough and we have to finish strongly in the last two games."
David Moyes: "Winning always feels good and we've needed to win a couple of games so the boys did a really good job today getting that result. We've just played Chelsea, Arsenal and Man City in a row which is never easy and we conceded some goals so to get a clean sheet and three points today is really good."
Man of the match - Marko Arnautovic
By the 78th minute, Arnautovic looked tired and for good reason. The striker ran himself ragged, especially in the first half, and was heavily involved in much of the positive attacking play from West Ham.
While he may not have got on the scoresheet himself, he did set up Joao Mario for his opener and has now been involved in nine goals in his last eight Premier League away games.
Leicester will play their final home game of the season against Arsenal on Wednesday, while West Ham finish their season with two home fixtures, starting with the visit of Manchester United on Thursday.