Leicester City 2-1 West Ham United
Premier League, King Power Stadium, Sunday 28 May 2023, 4.30pm BST
West Ham United ended their 2022/23 Premier League campaign with a 2-1 defeat at Leicester City on Sunday.
The Hammers fell 2-0 down to goals either side of the break by Harvey Barnes and Wout Faes – goals which gave the home side hope of beating the drop.
Pablo Fornals pulled one back towards the end, firing inside Daniel Iversen’s near post, and although the Hammers could not find an equaliser, the hosts’ dreams were left shattered by Everton’s victory over Bournemouth.
West Ham would end the league campaign 14th in the table with 40 points, but with one, huge assignment yet to come in Prague.
David Moyes shuffled his pack, aiming to keep his squad fit and firing ahead of the UEFA Europa Conference League final by making six changes.
One of the players to return was Michail Antonio, and he forced the first save of the afternoon, shooting right-footed from the left-hand corner of the penalty area. It was a comfortable diving stop for home ‘keeper Daniel Iversen.
Vladimír Coufal then spun a pass into the right channel for Pablo Fornals with 20 minutes played. The Spaniard took the shot on early, but could not force it inside Iversen’s near post.
Those early shots did not dampen the home support’s enthusiasm, and they soon had reason to raise the volume further as their side began to take control.
Midway through the half Youri Tielemans fed an incisive pass through to Kelechi Iheanacho on the edge of the box. He laid off to Barnes and his low effort was fielded by Łukasz Fabiański.
With 28 minutes on the clock Iheanacho had a go himself after receiving a pass from James Maddison inside the area, but his fierce effort kissed the crossbar on its way over.
Six minutes later Leicester did have their goal. Barnes exchanged passes with Iheanacho to get around Flynn Downes inside the Hammers area and coolly slide beyond Fabiański.
At that point, with Everton drawing their game against Bournemouth, Leicester were doing enough to keep themselves up, and the roar which greeted them onto the field for the second half told of their fans’ hunger to keep it that way.
However, seven minutes after the restart, they were so close to being silenced when Aaron Cresswell delivered a corner from the left and Jonny Evans' header bounced inches past his own post.
Then, with 59 minutes played, Saïd Benrahma curled an effort against the base of the far post with Iversen well beaten, but the Hammers’ bright start to the second period went unrewarded as Leicester grabbed a second three minutes later.
The goal was far too easy from a West Ham perspective as Tielemans sent over a free-kick from the left and Faes was able to plant a simple header into the net.
Moyes introduced Jarrod Bowen and Danny Ings from the bench and the deficit should have been halved as the pair combined after 69 minutes. Pauqetá floated a beautiful pass over to the No20, who controlled and fired in a sharp shot that Iversen did well to push away. Bowen picked up the rebound and laid back to Ings, who scooped over when well placed.
Ten minutes later the Hammers did ensure a nervy conclusion for their hosts when Ings released Fornals in the left channel. The No8 carried the ball to the edge of the area and cracked in a shot which beat Iversen via a touch off his right-hand post.
West Ham pushed for a leveller, but Leicester held out for a victory which ultimately did not prove enough for them.
Leicester City: Iversen, Castagne (Pereira 90+1), Faes, Evans ©, Thomas, Soumaré, Dewsbury-Hall (Mendy 71), Maddison, Tielemans, Barnes, Iheanacho (Vardy 77)
Subs: Smithies (GK), Souttar, Praet, Amartey, Tetê, Daka
Goals: Barnes 34, Faes 62
West Ham United: Fabiański, Coufal, Kehrer, Aguerd, Cresswell (Emerson 72), Downes (Lanzini 86), Rice ©, Paquetá (Cornet 72), Fornals, Benrahma (Bowen 62), Antonio (Ings 62)
Subs: Areola (GK), Zouma, Ogbonna, Souček
Goal: Fornals 79
Referee: Simon Hooper