You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Jarrod Bowen adds gloss as West Ham end Leicester's unbeaten start in style

The Guardian logo The Guardian 04/10/2020 Paul Doyle at the King Power Stadium
a group of people playing football on a field: Photograph: Marc Atkins/Reuters © Provided by The Guardian Photograph: Marc Atkins/Reuters

David Moyes’ remote control seems to be working a treat for West Ham. With their manager again watching from his sofa after testing positive for the coronavirus, the east London side claimed another impressive victory thanks to goals by Michail Antonio, Pablo Fornals and Jared Bowen. Those were well-earned rewards for a commanding team performance.

After demolishing Wolves 4-0 last week in their manager’s first match away from the sidelines and firing five past Hull in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday, West Ham rendered Leicester impotent from the start here. Brendan Rodgers’ team had scored 12 goals in their previous three league matches, including five at Manchester City last Sunday, but could not muster a shot on target in this one.

Michail Antonio, Çağlar Söyüncü playing football on a field: Michail Antonio watches his header go past the despairing Kasper Schmeichel to give West Ham the lead at Leicester. Photograph: Alex Pantling/EPA © Provided by The Guardian Michail Antonio watches his header go past the despairing Kasper Schmeichel to give West Ham the lead at Leicester. Photograph: Alex Pantling/EPA

These sides may have lined up with the same formations but that was as far as the similarities went in a match in which West Ham were physically, technically and tactically superior. All over the pitch they outmuscled the hosts, so much so that Leicester seemed intimidated and their passing became ragged, especially in the first half. It is at times such as these that Rodgers must really rue the absence of Ricardo Pereira and Wilfried Ndidi, as well as of James Maddison, who had to pull out of this match because of a calf injury suffered in training. Nampalys Mendy generally did a decent job replacing Ndidi in a defensive sense but West Ham knew he has none of the Nigerian’s creativity so they were perfectly happy to let him have the ball around halfway, whereas any other Leicester player who got possession was immediately engulfed by opponents.

West Ham opened the scoring in the 14th minute after Antonio quickly took a free-kick that he had won wide on the right, Caglar Soyuncu reacting to being outmuscled by the forward by taking him down from behind. Having beaten Soyuncu for strength, Antonio then dashed into the penalty area and beat Soyuncu with guile, giving the defender the slip as he directed a low header into the net from a cross by Aaron Creswell, who had been given plenty of time to pick out his man.

Leicester tried to respond but found themselves stifled by authoritative opponents. Ayoze Pérez made no impact on the right of Leicester’s attack and Harvey Barnes, freshly called up to the England squad, fared little better on the left, where he was contained by Vladimir Coufal, the defender who just arrived at West Ham from Slavia Prague on Thursday.

Soccer Football - Premier League - Leicester City v West Ham United - King Power Stadium, Leicester, Britain - October 4, 2020 West Ham United's Pablo Fornals scores their second goal Pool via REUTERS/Nigel French EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club /league/player publications.  Please contact your account representative for further details. © Thomson Reuters Soccer Football - Premier League - Leicester City v West Ham United - King Power Stadium, Leicester, Britain - October 4, 2020 West Ham United's Pablo Fornals scores their second goal Pool via REUTERS/Nigel French EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club /league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

The Czech turned up on the left in the 22nd minute to foil Leicester’s first really dangerous attack, thwarting Thomas Castagne’s attempted cutback to Jamie Vardy. Most of the hosts’ other moves foundered on Fabián Balbuena, who played as if fitted with a tractor beam that pulled Leicester’s passes to him.


Gallery: How's he missed that!? The worst misses in sports history (Grid)

But it was Creswell who got in the way of another aimless Leicester attack in the 35th minute – and his hoofed clearance turned into a perfect through ball to Fornals, who was kept onside by the dawdling Soyuncu. The Spaniard raced into the penalty area and rammed a low shot past Kasper Schmeichel.

Leicester’s hopes of clawing their way back into the game just before the break were foiled by Declan Rice, who scampered back to meddle in a promising move between Barnes and Vardy.

Soccer Football - Premier League - Leicester City v West Ham United - King Power Stadium, Leicester, Britain - October 4, 2020 Leicester City's Jamie Vardy in action with West Ham United's Angelo Ogbonna Pool via REUTERS/Marc Atkins EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club /league/player publications.  Please contact your account representative for further details. © Thomson Reuters Soccer Football - Premier League - Leicester City v West Ham United - King Power Stadium, Leicester, Britain - October 4, 2020 Leicester City's Jamie Vardy in action with West Ham United's Angelo Ogbonna Pool via REUTERS/Marc Atkins EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club /league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

Leicester had more of the ball in the second half but still struggled to pick a way through the visitors. Antonio remained a constant menace, forcing Schmeichel to save a header from a corner and then, five minutes later, scorching past Soyuncu before feeding Fornals, whose shot was blocked by Jonny Evans.

Leicester’s afternoon worsened when Daniel Amartey, who has recently returned from a two-year injury-enforced absence, had to be replaced. The Ghanaian’s misfortune led to a switch to a back four and a debut for Cengiz Under, the Turkish winger signed on loan from Roma. Rodgers then threw on Kelechi Iheanacho, too, but West Ham remained in charge. Rice nearly made it 3-0 in spectacular style but after a 60-yard run he thrashed his left-footed shot against the bar.

Leicester’s reprieve did not last long. When Fornals bisected the home defence with a fine pass in the 85th minute, Bowen finished emphatically.

Vardy had a chance to do likewise in the dying seconds but dinked a shot wide after being sent clear. Worse came in stoppage time, when Barnes’s goal was chalked off after a VAR review because of an offside against Vardy.

AdChoices
AdChoices

More from The Guardian

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon