Thursday, April 19, 2018

Leicester City 2-2 West Ham: Five things we learned as Foxes and Hammers share spoils at King Power Stadium

Leicester's saviour / Image via

Leicester’s saviour / Image via

Leicester City managed to salvage a point through Leonardo Ulloa’s stoppage-time penalty in a game which saw West Ham put a huge scare upon Foxes’ Premier League title charge.

Jamie Vardy opened the scorings to give hosts the lead, but his influence in the game has been undone by his 56th minute second yellow card for a dive in the West Ham penalty box.

West Ham utilized the one-man advantage as Andy Carroll levelled the score from the white spot, before Aaron Cresswell smashed a beautiful goal from outside of the area to put visitors one up in an incredible come-back.

And just as it seemed that Ranieri’s men would be dealt a huge blow, Carroll fouled Jeff Schlupp leaving referee with no choice but to point to the white spot in the dying moments of the game.

It was another interesting match between two quality sides and here are the five things we learned:

Premier League title race more interesting than ever

It has been a weird season in England with many of the giants struggling to find their pace in the race, but Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City’s struggles allowed underdogs such as Leicester City and West Ham as well take full advantage of the opportunity that presented itself to demonstrate they can kick the ball right.

Few people would have expected this incredible scenario to unfold and to see Leicester City and Tottenham topping the table with just four rounds to be played.

Sunday’s meeting between Leicester City and West Ham United offered plenty of excitement, justifying the more-interesting-than-ever tag of the Premier League campaign as we have witnessed a match with all of the ingredients of a proper football thriller.

A red card, two penalties, a wonder-goal have met the expectations of the anticipating crowd which have left only Leicester City fans unhappy with the outcome of the match.

We have seen similar outcomes so many times this season in England and the Premier League might not be the strongest competition in Europe according to UEFA’s continental index, but it sure remains the most interesting and thrilling competition in Europe.

Leicester City deserve to be crowned champions

Their romantic journey deserves an analogous ending and seeing Leicester City lift the Premier League trophy would and will be a cosmic justice achieved.

Foxes have been a joy to watch, to be fair to West Ham so did the Hammers, and Leicester’s togetherness merits a worthy prize.

Eight points clear ahead of Tottenham Hotspur and with a game in hand, Ranieri’s men seem to have one hand on the trophy already, with just four games to go until the end.

Claudio Ranieri’s charges still have a long way to go and some pretty difficult matches to play and will have their fans biting their nails to the very last day as the Foxes play against Swansea in the next round, before traveling to Old Trafford at the beginning of May.

Next up is a home game against Everton and a visit to Stamford Bridge in the final round of this season’s edition of the Premier League.

Jamie Vardy should be England’s No. 1 striker at Euro 2016

His expulsion and simulation aside, Jamie Vardy has had another impressive performance against West Ham.

England striker has been making a mess out of West Ham defence for much of the proceedings with his incredible pace and speed, capping the match with a precise finish following Kante’s assist when he put the ball in West Ham’s net to open the scorings after 18 minutes.

It was his 22nd goal of the season for the Foxes and the 29-year-old is currently the leading top scorer in the Premier League with a goal in front of Tottenham’s Harry Kane.

Spurs play their game on Monday when they travel to Stoke City and Vardy will be hoping his England teammate will have a silent night so that he could remain on top of the scoring chart.

Jamie Vardy’s rise to prominence goes hand in hand with Leicester City’s incredible season and as one of the best players in his teams Foxes striker does indeed deserve to cap the wonderful season with a Euro 2016 inclusion.

Roy Hodgson is counting on the 29-year-old and should consider making him his first-choice for the showpiece in France as Vardy will add much needed quality, agility and cutting edge to the Three Lions’ attacking line.

N’Golo Kante can play in any club in the world

The French midfielder has had a dream season behind him.

Having made giant leaps of progress over the course of the last four seasons, N’Golo Kante went from playing for Boulogne in the National league to Ligue 2 and Ligue 1 with Caen, before his 2015-16 move to Leicester.

A year onwards and the diminutive dynamo has secured Champions League football, earned a call-up to the French national team and almost certainly booked his place in the 2016 European Championship finals.

Kante has played in every single Premier League game this season and has been the main engine of Ranineri’s team linking the defence line and the attack with his impressive work rate and tireless running that was at display against West Ham as well.

The 25-year-old French midfielder will be hard to hold on to past summer transfer window and Leicester City will struggle to keep greatest European clubs from making a move for Kante.

Ranieri and Bilic deserve praise for their work

Leicester City and West Ham managers have similar background coming into England this season.

Both Ranieri and Bilic have made their returns, first as a former Chelsea manager and the latter as the former player. Another thing that connects them is a great scrutiny they were both subjected to at the beginning of the season.

A lot of people judged their ability, criticised the boards’ choices to appoint them in the first place, but they will be eating their own words right now.

With Leicester on the verge of lifting the Premier League title and West Ham still in the running for Champions League spot, Claudio Ranieri and Slaven Bilic deserve great praise for all the work they have done.

The Italian and the Croat changed the mind-set of their team, lifted the spirits and united their players to bring the best out of every individual they have at their disposal.

Their hard work is paying dividends and watching these two tacticians in action has been a real joy this season.

LEICESTER CITY: Schmeichel 6.5 – Simpson 7, Morgan 7.5, Huth 7.5, Fuchs 7 – Mahrez 6 (Amartey 6), Drinkwater 7, Kante 8, Albrighton 6.5 (Schlupp 6.5) – Okazaki 6.5, Vardy 5.5.

Unused subs: Gray, King, Scwarzer, Wasilewski.

WEST HAM: Adrian 6.5 – Antonio 6.5, Reid 7, Ogbonna 7.5, Cresswell 7.5 – Kouyatte 6.5, Obiang 6.5 (Carroll 7), Noble 7 (Lanzini 6.5) – Moses 6.5 (Valencia 6), Emenike 6.5, Payet 6.

Unused subs: Byram, Collins, Randolph, Tomkins.

Referee: Jonathan Moss

Other results this afternoon

Bournemouth 1-2 Liverpool


Milos Markovic

Formerly a Chief Editor at the largest sports site in Serbia, Milos Markovic is an avid football writer who contributes to a variety of online football magazines - most prominently and His feature articles, editorials, interviews and match analyses have provided informed opinion and views, helping the football aficionados keep up to date on relevant events in world football.



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