Hammers Secure Safety And Four Other Main Talking Points From The Comfortable Foxes Triumph
David Moyes’ West Ham United secured their Premier League safety for another season by defeating Claude Puel’s Leicester City 0-2 at the King Power Stadium on Saturday afternoon, with Joao Mario and captain Mark Noble on the scoresheet for the Hammers, here are Five Main Talking Points from the one-sided affair.
Hammers Get Back To Winning Ways On The Road For Second Time In 2018
Given the way that the East Londoners strode to a comfortable win against the tame Foxes away from home two days ago, it’s hard to believe that it was only the club’s second away win of the entire year so far.
The only other came in mid-January, an emphatic 1-4 thrashing of Huddersfield Town at the John Smith’s Stadium and while on that day, the Terriers offered the Hammers some resistance, there was very little in the way of that from the home team this time around.
Moyes’ men raced ahead in the first half through Mario, having dominated and could have been at least three to the good by the time they took the lead, adding to that advantage in spectacular style through Noble in the second-half, putting the cherry on a very sweet cake.
The three points brought an end to a run of four without a triumph for the East London outfit, providing the much-needed victory to out a defining cushion between them and the bottom three and closed out a miserable campaign of away matches in their final of the season, in style.
Keeping a clean sheet away from home, something they did in the league for the first time since the Stoke City win in mid-December, is also a sizable achievement for the East Londoners in a term that has given them better home form than away form, a stark contrast to the 2017/2018 campaign.
Noble Screamer Threatens To Dethrone Obiang In Scoring West Ham’s Goal Of The Season
Surely the highlight of a much happier afternoon for the travelling Claret & Blue Army came in the 64thn minute of the contest, with captain Noble giving them something to go wild over after a tricky few months.
The club captain has endured a turbulent time of it recently, from receiving criticism from supporters due to his declining performance levels to clashing with a fan on the pitch during early March’s infamous home defeat by Burnley at London Stadium.
But, there can be little doubting that the 31-year-old has continued to work hard throughout and deserved his moment in the King Power Sun, putting the game to bed with what can only be described as a moment of pure brilliance and magic from range.
A Marko Arnautovic free-kick was nodded away by Aleksandar Dragovic with the scoreline 0-1, it fell perfectly to Noble who, with his body still as can be, smashed an unstoppable low volley towards the far post, the lightening pace on the ball taking it into the back of the net vis the inside of Ben Hamer’s right-hand post.
Irons boss Moyes joked after the game that fellow midfielder Pedro Obiang, who returned to the substitutes’ bench for the clash, may have to give back his Goal of the Season Award, earned for a thunderbolt away at Tottenham Hotspur in January, to Noble for the strike, although joking aside, he may well have a case.
Super Mario Also In The Goals With Adrian Making Solid Return
The man who provided the visitors’ other goal, opening the scoring just before half-time, was the Inter Milan loanee Mario, picking up his second since arriving in East London in January.
The man to provide it, not a surprise to many, was the ever-threatening Arnautovic, getting his fifth assist in 18 games, ten goals accompanying them, continuing the kind of form that saw him crowned Hammer of the Year, with a neat set-up for his colleague.
An Arthur Masuaku cross was collected by the Austrian at the far post, shrugging off Christian Fuchs to lay the ball into the path of Mario in a composed fashion, he could only fish calmly past Hanner and into the half-empty net.
The Portuguese International may not stay permanently in East London in the summer, but there can be no denying that he has enjoyed some memorable moments in Claret & Blue, one man who certainly has over his five years, and counting, at the club is Adrian San-Miguel.
The ex-Spanish International kept his place from the 1-4 thrashing by champions Manchester City last Sunday in the absence of the unwell Joe Hart and kept his first clean sheet since February, his only action of note, denying a close-range Yohan Benalouane header in the latter stages, he is being predicted to hold onto his starting spot between the sticks in the closing two games.
Foxes Leave Fans Frustrated With Absent Display For Fifth Match On The Spin
For all of the away side’s dominance and impressive performances in all areas, there can be little understating the drab and uninspiring performance put on by Puel’s Foxes as they went five matches without reigning victorious.
Home supporters had to wait until well into the final ten minutes to watch their teams register an effort on target, doing so through Adrien Silva, who’s low shot from outside the penalty area was comfortably dealt with by Adrian in the blistering heat.
Ironically, the only two shots they managed to test out Adrian with came via the same source, Benalouane, the central defender, his first being the aforementioned header that the shot-stopper managed to prevent from sneaking inside his near post, just about clawing it away.
The next header came just minutes later, a corner picking out the Tunisian to head at goal and Adrian being quite happy to catch under very little pressure, while Leicester’s forward players largely went missing, prompting many to accuse the team of ”Already being on the beach.”
The likes of Jamie Vardy, who’s only contribution was to almost force Aaron Cresswell into getting sent off for a handball early in the second period and Riyad Mahrez, who threatened briefly for a short period before the break, were AWOL, along with much of the home starting Xl, questions marks carry on hanging above the KP, two years to the weekend they lifted the PL title.
Irons Secure Safety From Relegation As Leicester’s Campaign Peters Out
It’s now time to take a look at what this result meant for the Premier League standings and both side’s outlooks heading into the final couple of matches of the 2017/2018 campaign.
City remained ten points adrift of Burnley in the final European place and now five points behind Everton, directly above them, their Europa League hopes being dashed a number of weeks ago.
On 44 points, they still have a faint hope of reaching the 50-point mark if they can defeat Arsenal at the King Power Stadium on Tuesday evening, before a clash in North London, away to Tottenham on the final day, where they will look to end a rocky season in style.
Meanwhile, the win for the Hammers was one of the most significant of a difficult term in making sure of their Top-Flight status for another season, lifting them up to the mark of 38 points ahead of welcoming Manchester United and Everton to Stratford this week.
The reason for their safety being made sure of on the penultimate weekend was Southampton only being able to get a draw at Goodison Park a few hours after Chris Kavanagh’s final whistle in Leicestershire, they were also helped out by AFC Bournemouth defeating Swansea City on the afternoon, the Swans and the Saints face each other on Tuesday evening.
So, now that everything there was to talk about from one of the most tranquil away outings of the season for the Hammers has been well and truly covered, will there be yet more positive points to draw on come Thursday night, after Jose Mourinho’s Red Devils have paid London Stadium a league visit? Join us once again then to find out.
If you want to read more about David Moyes’ West Ham United’s decisive Premier League win over Claude Puel’s Leicester City at the King Power Stadium on Saturday, you can, with our Match Report and Hammers Player Ratings, simply click on the links.