|match review copied from www.theguardian.com|
Wilfred Ndidiís leveller earns draw for Leicester against 10-man West Ham
Jacob Steinberg at the King Power Stadium
Date Published Sat 27 Oct 2018 19.40 BST
Claude Puel must have been bracing himself for a frosty reception. With the minutes ticking away, Leicester looked out of ideas. Damned by their lack of invention, they were on their way to a fifth defeat in seven league games. Yet Wilfried Ndidi rescued them with a fortunate goal in the 89th minute and West Ham, who lost Mark Noble to a red card in the first half, had to settle for a point after snatching the lead through FabiŠn Balbuena.
A year on from Puelís appointment as Leicesterís manager, the theory goes that the Frenchman is not going to make it as far as his second anniversary. He has struggled to dispel concerns that his tactics are too negative and although his team made a promising start against their vulnerable guests, they were blighted by carelessness at both ends of the pitch during the first half.
The pressure on Puel to inspire a dynamic display was immense, especially with Jamie Vardy sitting behind him in the home dugout, and Leicester certainly looked up to the task during the opening 10 minutes. The onus was on them to seize the initiative against opponents whose resources were stretched by the absence of nine senior players and how Puel must have been praying for the linesmanís flag to stay down when Kelechi Iheanacho converted Marc Albrightonís cross in the second minute. It would have been a welcome boost after his surprising decision to pick Iheanacho instead of Vardy, but the Nigerian striker had strayed a yard offside and West Ham breathed a huge sigh of relief.
Leicester were rampant for a while. Albrighton skimmed a shot wide from 18 yards and the sense grew that West Ham were there for the taking without the unwell Marko Arnautovic, who was replaced up front by Javier HernŠndez. West Ham looked like an accident waiting to happen at the back at times, not least when Balbuena almost headed Albrightonís cross into his own net.
Lukasz Fabianski leaped to claw the defenderís botched clearance over the bar, however, and West Ham started to find their feet as Leicesterís early intensity faded. Felipe Anderson tested Kasper Schmeichel from the edge of the area and Robert Snodgrass saw a low effort dribble past the left post.
Leicester had become increasingly nervous and they fell behind to a sloppy goal midway through the first half. Anderson chipped a free-kick to the far post from the right and when Declan Rice rose above Caglar Soyuncu to head the ball into the middle, Harry Maguire failed to spot that Balbuena had peeled away from him. The Paraguayanís first effort came back off the post but there was still no reaction from anyone in blue and Balbuena had the easy task of scoring his first West Ham goal.
West Ham could argue that they were entitled to be ahead. They had taken control of midfield, where Rice was keeping a close watch on the dangerous James Maddison, and they were threatening on both flanks. Grady Diangana, a replacement for the injured Andriy Yarmolenko on the right, did not look overawed on his first start. The 20-year-old winger looked determined to justify a brave call from Pellegrini.
Just when West Ham were starting to feel comfortable, however, the mood changed after a moment of madness from one of their most experienced players. There was no need for Noble to lunge into a challenge with Wilfried Ndidi after taking a heavy touch near the halfway line. West Hamís captain should have known better than to go to ground and Pellegrini, holding his head in his hands, looked like he knew what was coming even before Michael Oliver, the referee, marched over to show Noble a straight red card.
One poor decision had threatened to undermine West Hamís good work and Leicester pressed for an equaliser before the interval, only for Fabianski to make a stunning save from Vicente Iborraís header. The pattern was set Ė attack versus defence Ė and the home fans voiced their approval at Puelís decision to replace the disappointing Rachid Ghezzal with Vardy at half-time.Pinning West Ham back, Leicester focused their energy on breaking down the claret and blue wall.
An equaliser felt inevitable. Albrighton tested Fabianskiís reflexes after slack defending from Arthur Masuaku, Maguire saw his looping header clip the top of the bar and Vardy wasted a wonderful opportunity, nodding over from six yards after losing Issa Diop.
West Ham thought they had escaped when Fabianski beat Vardyís shot away. Moments later, however, Ndidiís deflected shot spared Leicesterís blushes. But the evening ended on a low note when an ambulance had to take Daniel Amartey to hospital with a suspected broken leg.
Daily Mail: MATCH FACTS, PLAYER RATINGS AND MATCH ZONE
Leicester (4-2-3-1): Schmeichel 6.5; Amartey 6, Maguire 6.5, Soyuncu 6.5 (Okazaki 80'), Chilwell 7.5; Ndidi 7, Iborra 6; Ghezzal 5 (Vardy 46' 6.5), Maddison 7, Albrighton 8; Iheanacho 6.5 (Gray 61' 6.5)
Subs not used: Evans, Ward, Ricardo Pereira, Mendy
Goalscorers: Ndidi (89)
Manager: Claude Puel 6
West Ham (4-1-4-1): Fabianski 7; Zabaleta 7, Balbuena 7, Diop 7, Masuaku 6.5; Rice 7.5, Noble 5; Diangana 6 (Cresswell 75', Anderson 6 (Ogbonna 81'), Snodgrass 7; Hernandez 5 (Antonio 61' 6.5)
Subs not used: Adrian, Fredericks, Powell, Coventry
Goalscorers: Balbuena (30)
Sent off: Noble (38)
Manager: Manuel Pellegrini 7
Referee: Michael Oliver 8