2017/2018 English Premier League
  • João Mário (34')
  • Mark Noble (64')

Mark Noble's second-half volley helps West Ham end winless run at Leicester

West Ham United took a giant leap towards securing their Premier League survival and piled more pressure on Leicester City boss Claude Puel with a 2-0 victory at the King Power Stadium.

Leicester went into the match having won just twice in their last 11 Premier League games but Puel received the dreaded vote of confidence from club's owners this week.

His cause was not helped on Saturday by the absence of nine players through injury and suspension but Leicester's performance, on a hot afternoon, was lukewarm at best.

West Ham inflicted a fourth Leicester loss in five Premier League matches through goals in each half from Joao Mario and Mark Noble, with the captain scoring a possible goal-of-the-season contender.

The win moved West Ham six points clear of the bottom three and put a three-point cushion between Swansea City and Huddersfield Town immediately below them.

Leicester looked disjointed early on, perhaps as a result of Puel having to make five changes, and struggled to settle. West Ham tried to take advantage and Manuel Lanzini saw two goalbound efforts blocked -- the second inadvertently by teammate Marko Arnautovic.

The game was played almost exclusively in the Leicester half until the hosts finally found their feet and put together their best passage of play as the half-hour mark approached. Although, it must be said, without troubling Adrian in the West Ham goal.

West Ham's best spell immediately followed, during which they took the lead. Arnautovic fired a couple of warning shots across Leicester's bow.

First, he forced Ben Hamer to save with his legs following a swift break down the left by Lanzini before his shot on the turn struck the crossbar.

The opening goal came after 34 minutes when Arthur Masuaku's far-post cross from the left was controlled and knocked back into the six-yard box, where Joao Mario simply tapped the ball home.

West Ham should have extended their lead early in the second half. Joao Mario's pass put Arnautovic through on goal down the right side of the penalty area but he dawdled and allowed Christian Fuchs to make a block when he did eventually shoot.

Puel, who had brought Aleksandar Dragovic on for Vicente Iborra at half-time, made his two remaining substitutions after 61 minutes with Demarai Gray and Kelechi Iheanacho replacing Hamza Choudhury and Fousseni Diabate.

Harry Maguire, in central midfield, went close with a half-volley from the edge of the area. The centre-half showed good technique but his shot was always rising.

West Ham scored their second goal in the 64th minute and it was a strike worthy of settling any match. Joao Mario's free-kick was cleared by Dragovic as far as Noble, who struck the ball first time from 25 yards out and his shot flew into the bottom corner of the net.

The closest Leicester came to a reply was when Yohan Benalouane's late header was pushed away by Adrian.

English Premier League Standings

1 Liverpool 26 +46 76
2 Manchester City 27 +39 57
3 Leicester City 27 +27 50
4 Chelsea 27 +8 44
5 Manchester United 27 +12 41
6 Tottenham Hotspur 27 +8 40
7 Sheffield United 27 +4 40
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 27 +6 39
9 Arsenal 27 +3 37
10 Burnley 27 -6 37
11 Everton 27 -5 36
12 Southampton 27 -14 34
13 Crystal Palace 27 -8 33
14 Newcastle United 27 -17 31
15 Brighton & Hove Albion 27 -7 28
16 AFC Bournemouth 27 -17 26
17 Aston Villa 27 -18 25
18 West Ham United 26 -15 24
19 Watford 27 -19 24
20 Norwich City 27 -27 18