West Ham narrowly beat Leicester City 3-2 at the London Stadium to keep the Hammers firmly in contention for a Champions League spot. It was another inspired performance from loanee Jesse Lingard, who grabbed his seventh and eighth Premier League goals of the season.
The Hammers were without key stars Declan Rice and Michail Antonio, with the pair both suffering injuries that look likely to rule them out for 4-6 weeks.
West Ham were also without Angelo Ogbonna and Manuel Lanzini who both failed late fitness tests, meaning numbers were thin. Youngsters Conor Coventry, Mipo Odubeko and Frederik Alves made up the numbers on the bench.
West Ham won thanks to Jesse Lingard’s performance
Moyes’ men were given a significant boost as the Foxes were missing several key men, including Çağlar Söyüncü, James Justin, Hamza Choudhury, Ayoze Perez and James Maddison – the latter trio for COVID-19 protocol violations.
Compared to recent weeks, it was a slower start for West Ham who took time to find their feet without their main man Antonio up top. It was Leicester who had the first effort on goal when the in-form Kelechi Iheanacho tried his luck from thirty yards, but his effort was comfortably gathered by Lukasz Fabianski.
Despite a couple of half-chances the Foxes, both sides failed to test each other’s keepers until the 23rd minute, when West Ham’s Jesse Lingard put the Hammers ahead with a tidy finish on the half-volley.
The home side then sprang into action and nearly added a quick second after Daniel Amartey’s poor back-pass nearly gifted Lingard a quick second, but Kasper Schmeichel was quick off his line to deny the rejuvenated midfielder.
West Ham kept up the pressure and added a second just before half time through Lingard. Issa Diop played a sensational ball over the top to Jarrod Bowen, who timed his run to perfection and unselfishly played Lingard in for a tap in to put West Ham 2-0 up.
— Jesse Lingard (@JesseLingard) April 11, 2021
Despite having started the second half slowly in previous weeks, the Hammers came out of the blocks flying and made it 3-0 in the 48th minute with Lingard heavily involved again. The 28-year-old played Tomas Soucek into Leicester’s penalty area, who then offloaded the ball to Bowen and the former Hull City forward made no mistake in firing home his third goal in as many games.
For the first time Jarrod Bowen has scored in 3 consecutive premier league games. 8 goals (2nd most) and 4 assists (3rd most) in his first full season of top flight football, not bad from the 24 year old!⚒️ pic.twitter.com/SstWTfFcdz
— Hammers Analytics (@HammersAnalytic) April 11, 2021
The Hammers’ flying start to the second half almost got even better when Issa Diop thought he had scored West Ham’s fourth after heading home from close range, but the French centre-back was rightly ruled offside.
This seemed to give Leicester the kick-start they needed, and they nearly pulled a goal back in the 62nd minute when substitute Marc Albrighton forced Fabianski into spilling the ball into his path – but the midfielder’s shot was blocked by Fabian Balbuena.
This was a warning sign of things to come, as Iheanacho then pulled a goal back for the away side in the 70th minute, smashing home his effort from 25 yards out after Arthur Masuaku was dispossessed by Ricardo Pereira.
The away side didn’t stop there, as Iheanacho grabbed his second of the game in the 91st minute following a delightful cross from Albrighton to set up a nerve racking last five minutes for West Ham.
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Leicester had very late chance to level the game in the 95th minute through Weasley Fofana, but the young Frenchman sent his header wide of the post to end Brendan Rodgers’ hopes of an extraordinary comeback.
The win has sent West Ham back into fourth place, and just one point of third with seven games left to play. Moyes’ high flying Hammers will take their European charge to St. James’ Park on Saturday to take on relegation threatened Newcastle United, and a win there could see the Champions League draw ever closer to the London Stadium.