Harvey Barnes has scored three goals in his last four games for Leicester

Leicester returned to winning ways against West Ham at King Power Stadium but lost the league’s top scorer Jamie Vardy to injury in the first half.

Harvey Barnes scored the opener, poking in from a yard out, before turning provider for Ricardo Pereira on the stroke of half-time.

West Ham captain Mark Noble made it 2-1 from the spot before Leicester’s Ayoze Perez did the same.

And Perez drilled in a fourth for Leicester with minutes to go.

There had been a lengthy stoppage time at the end of the first half as Vardy received treatment for what looked like a hamstring injury.

Less than 10 minutes before, Leicester midfielder Nampalys Mendy was substituted for an apparent knee injury and West Ham’s Robert Snodgrass came off at half-time after a knock.

One in, two out as Foxes’ injuries mount

Leicester were boosted by the return of key midfielder Wilfred Ndidi, who was on the bench just 13 days after having minor knee surgery.

Manager Brendan Rodgers had said before kick-off that Ndidi was “there if we need him”.

And in the end, Leicester did need him when Mendy went down with an apparent knee injury after 32 minutes.

Mendy had filled in for Ndidi in the 2-1 defeat by Burnley on Sunday, as well as playing 70 minutes in the same defensive role in December’s victory over West Ham.

But Leicester’s injury concerns got even worse when Premier League top scorer Vardy immediately clutched the back of his left leg after clearing the ball in his own defensive area.

Silence spread through the King Power as Vardy – who has scored 17 goals and picked up four assists this season – received treatment on the pitch before attempting to run it off.

He lasted barely two minutes when he returned and was eventually substituted for striker Kelechi Iheanacho.

Rodgers said after the game Vardy’s injury was “not his hamstring, which is good”.

The striker has contributed to 34% of Leicester’s Premier League goals this season and Rodgers added he hoped it would “ease off over the next couple of days”.

Job done for Foxes as Hammers struggle

West Ham had just 32% of possession and only two shots on target

Leicester were cruising in the first half and came out the blocks firing.

They enjoyed 72% of possession and West Ham only managed 17 passes in the opening 10 minutes.

Vardy drew a save from Darren Randolph within minutes – finishing off a slick passing move from Leicester – and there were further chances for Pereira and Mendy before Barnes eventually got the opener on 24 minutes.

Pereira slotted the ball across the face of the goal and Barnes could not miss from a yard out, before the two combined again in stoppage time – giving the home fans something to cheer about despite the mood dampening when Vardy trudged off injured.

West Ham looked well beaten at the break but they may have sensed the anxiety among the Leicester players and fans because they looked a more threatening side at the start the second half.

Noble stepped up confidently to put away the penalty – which was given after minimal contact from Ndidi on Sebastien Haller in the box – and Manuel Lanzini came close to an equaliser when he almost poked in a loose ball from Michail Antonio’s rebounded flick.

Leicester rode the simmering pressure and began to settle again – Iheanacho and James Maddison being denied before Perez eventually thumped in the third goal from the spot after Angelo Ogbonna’s clumsy tackle on Iheanacho.

The job was done for Leicester, who continued to pepper Randolph’s goal, but Perez doubled his tally with a slick finish from inside the box.

The victory leaves Leicester 14 points ahead of fifth-placed Manchester United, while West Ham remain level on points with second-bottom Watford and without a win in three successive league games.

Man of the match – Harvey Barnes (Leicester)

Harvey Barnes scored one and assisted one, as well as playing four key passes in an impressive display

Noble’s coolness from the spot – best of the stats

  • Leicester picked up their eighth home victory in the Premier League this season – this is their most ever during the first 12 home games of a league campaign.
  • This was West Ham manager David Moyes’ 50th Premier League away game against a side starting the day in the top four – the Scotsman has won just one of these 50 games (D15, L34), with that lone victory coming in December 2010 (Manchester City 1-2 Everton).
  • Leicester have now scored 52 goals in the Premier League this season, their most after 24 games of a top-flight campaign since 1930-31 (52).
  • Since the start of October 2019, no team have gained fewer points (11) or lost more games (11) in the Premier League than West Ham.
  • Harvey Barnes has scored in consecutive Premier League games for the first time as a Leicester player, while he’s already netted as many goals in the competition in 2020 (two in three games) as he managed in the whole of 2019 (two in 35 games).
  • Mark Noble has now been directly involved in 79 goals for West Ham in the Premier League (46 goals and 33 assists), the most of any player for the club in the competition’s history, overtaking Paolo Di Canio.
  • Ricardo Pereira has had a direct hand in 13 goals in the Premier League since the start of last season (five goals and eight assists) – the only two defenders with more in this period are Liverpool pair Trent Alexander-Arnold (24) and Andrew Robertson (18).
  • Noble has now scored 27 penalties in the Premier League (out of 31 taken), the fourth-most of any player in the competition’s history, behind Alan Shearer (56), Frank Lampard (43) and Steven Gerrard (32).

‘Success is about the team’ – what they said

Leicester showed real authority and personality – Rodgers

Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers, speaking to BBC Sport: “I thought we were very good. We played with that authority in the game and personality that the team has played with all season. Tempo was good, pressed well.”

On Jamie Vardy’s injury: “It is not his hamstring which is good. Hopefully over the next couple of days it will ease off and he will be fit. Jamie is a real talisman for the team but if we are going to have success it is about the team.

“He hasn’t played for us in a number of games and the team has still played well but of course we want him fit and well. He is such a good player and we hope it is not too serious.”

Worst West Ham display since my return – Moyes

West Ham manager David Moyes, speaking to BBC Sport: “It was a positive that we got something for 10 to 15 minutes but for most of the game Leicester were by far the better team. That hasn’t been the case in all the games, we have been in them or close.

“I thought in the second half we at least got the ball forward more. It was good to get Michail Antonio back because he has been good for us. We didn’t have enough players who could make something happen in the final third. We are missing that type of player.

“They looked faster to the ball than us. It is never easy but we won’t make excuses. We’ve been good but tonight was probably the worst I have seen us defensively at times.”

What’s next?

Leicester travel to Brentford for their FA Cup fourth-round tie on Saturday, 25 January (12:45 GMT) before the crucial Carabao Cup semi-final second leg at Aston Villa on Tuesday, 28 January (19:45). Their next Premier League game is at home to Chelsea on Saturday, 1 February (12:30).

West Ham host West Bromwich Albion in the FA Cup on Saturday, 25 January (15:00) and return to Premier League action against leaders Liverpool at London Stadium on Wednesday, 29 January (19:45).



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