|match review copied from www.theguardian.com|
Leicester’s Pérez deflates West Ham but Vardy injury a concern for Rodgers
Paul Doyle at the King Power Stadium
Date Published Wed 22 Jan 2020 21.39 GMT
Leicester got back their mojo but lost their talisman when Jamie Vardy limped off with a glute injury. “He’s a fantastic player and really important for us but you’re never going to succeed if you rely on just one player,” Brendan Rodgers said.
The absence of the Premier League’s top scorer certainly did not matter against a dishevelled West Ham, as Leicester strutted to their first league win since New Year’s Day owing to two goals by Ayoze Pérez and one each by Harvey Barnes and Ricardo Pereira. Their position in the top four looks secure, with this result leaving them 14 points clear of fifth-place Manchester United.
As for West Ham, a successful penalty by Mark Noble gave them fleeting hope of scrounging a point but they left with what they deserved, which was nothing other than a reminder that they need to get their act together quickly if they are to avoid being overtaken by at least one of only three teams below them in the league.
David Moyes admitted he was “extremely disappointed” and he knows the fixture list offers no imminent respite, with West Ham’s next four leagues games including two against Liverpool and one against Manchester City. “The Premier League always throws up surprises and we have to be looking to make one of those shocks happen,” said Moyes, whose team were a different kind of shocking at the King Power Stadium.
The previous meeting between these teams, just last month in London, led to the dismissal of Moyes’ predecessor, Manuel Pellegrini. The latest one offered more evidence that Moyes has a big job on his hands, as West Ham were, in his own words, “very poor,” especially in a first half in which their only response to Leicester’s vibrant start was an indecipherable blather.
Leicester came into the game in stuttering form, having lost their previous two matches. Rodgers made two alterations to the lineup who began Sunday’s defeat by Burnley, with Ben Chilwell and Youri Tielemans coming back into the side. Wilfred Ndidi’s amazingly fast recovery from knee surgery was confirmed by his presence on the bench – “he’s genetically blessed,” said Rodgers, who had to throw on the Nigerian earlier than planned because Nampalys Mendy hobbled off with knee trouble after half an hour.
Leicester were a goal up by then thanks to a fast start in which they fizzed with the intensity they had lacked in recent games. “We got our authority and personality back,” Rodgers said. Barnes created and scored the breakthrough goal, receiving the ball at the edge of the D before slipping it to Pereira and dashing towards the six-yard box in the hope of a return pass. Pereira’s dink over the advancing Darren Randolph might have reached the net without assistance but Barnes prodded the ball over the line just to make sure, claiming his third goal in four matches.
West Ham’s guileless play suggested they would only get back into this game if Leicester lapsed into complacency or if their whole team were struck down by injuries.
Vardy, as it happened, soon had to limp off but Leicester increased their lead before the break, Barnes scampering down the left before pulling back a cross for Pereira, who drove a fierce shot into the bottom corner from 15 yards.
Moyes made a double substitution at half-time and West Ham at last carried a vague threat but they needed an intervention from the referee to make a breakthrough. In the 48th minute, West Ham were awarded a penalty when Ndidi and Sébastien Haller made a wholesome challenge for the ball and the striker fell to the ground. Noble applied dubious justice from the spot.
After moderate pressure from the visitors, Leicester roared back. Tielemans, Barnes and James Maddison all went close before Angelo Ogbonna brought down Kelechi Iheanacho in the 79th minute. Pérez converted the penalty, and doubled his tally stylishly two minutes from time.
Daily Mail: PLAYER RATINGS, MATCH FACTS AND LEAGUE TABLE
Leicester (4-1-4-1): Schmeichel 5; Pereira 7, Evans 6.5, Soyuncu 6, Chilwell 6.5; Mendy 6.5 (Ndidi 34, 6.5); Perez 7, Maddison 6.5, Tielemans 6, Barnes 7.5 (Morgan 83); Vardy 6.5 (Iheanacho 44, 6.5)
Subs not used: Ward, Justin, Gray, Albrighton
Scorers: Barnes 24, Pereira 45+4, Perez 81 (pen)
Manager: Brendan Rodgers 7.5
West Ham (4-4-1-1): Randolph 6.5; Zabaleta 5, Diop 6.5, Ogbonna 6.5, Cresswell 6; Snodgrass 6 (Fornals 46, 6), Rice 6, Noble 7, Masuaku 5 (Antonio 46, 6.5); Lanzini 5.5; Haller 5
Subs not used: Martin, Reid, Balbuena, Sanchez, Ajeti
Scorers: Noble 50 (pen)
Manager: David Moyes 5.5
Referee: David Coote 6