Just as he did against Sevilla in the Champions League, Kasper Schmeichel made a very late, absolutely crucial save, one that secured a vital result for Leicester. It was against a penalty in Europe, and here at the London Stadium, a miraculous stop from open play, in stoppage time. Andy Carroll might have completed a resplendent comeback for West Ham, but the Dane thwarted him.
It meant that Leicester continued their flying resurgence; Craig Shakespeare is now the first Premier League manager to oversee a team that has scored 3+ goals in their first three league matches under him. Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez both scored here, sparking fond memories of their remarkable double act last campaign.
As for West Ham, well, the manner in which they conceded in rapid succession in the opening ten minutes, falling 2-0 behind, was galling. Damaging defensive lapses have been a hallmark of the Hammers’ season, and here it hampered them fatally, with Manuel Lanzini’s free kick and Ayew’s goal just after the hour mark not enough to drag them back into the contest. When Ayew scored, to bring his team within one goal of equalising, Slaven Bilic turned back to his bench, eyebrows raised, non-plussed; he knows his team can score goals, it’s the conceding that has made this season such an ordeal.
Injuries again pursued the Hammers like a ravenous dog, with Winston Reid and Pedro Obiang both forced off in this match. Schmeichel’s saves secured Leicester’s first away win of the season, but West Ham’s hapless defending initiated it.
West Ham United
Randolph: 6 – Should have done better for the first goal, with the ball slipping under his hand from Mahrez’s half-cross-half-shot.
Cresswell: 6 – His crossing was largely underhit or poorly aimed. Subbed.
Fonte: 7 – Wasn’t responsible for any of the goals, although might have picked up Huth for the second.
Reid: 6 – Injured early, and subbed.
Byram: 7 – Energetic and defensively sound. Crossed with only occasional accuracy.
Kouyate: 7 – Excellent, and did very well once moved from midfield to centre back.
Obiang: 7 – Tackled hard and passed well. Injured, the subbed.
Lanzini: 8 – West Ham’s best attacker, and scored a lovely free kick.
Ayew: 6 – Won a handful of fouls, but missed a glorious chance to equalise.
Antonio: 7 – His otherworldly endurance showed late, driving his team on.
Carroll: 7 – Won countless headers late, but missed a golden chance, denied by Schmeichel.
Schmeichel: 9 – Leicester’s man of the match, with a handful of vital saves.
Simpson: 6 – Adequate defensively, was rarely seen in attack.
Huth: 7 – Tussled with Carroll well, and scored from a nice free kick routine.
Benalouane: 7 – Also tussled well with the Hammers attackers, one a rare start.
Fuchs: 6 – Mainly defended, and hurled in long throws.
Drinkwater: 7 – Very good going forward, and marshalled the space in the centre well.
Ndidi: 7 – Tackled with bite, and hustled continuously.
Mahrez: 7 – Scored from a flukey cross, and set up his teammates with some sumptuous passes.
Albrighton: 7 – Very active on the wing, but he shot wastefully.
Okazaki: 7 – Always hard at work, but had little tangible impact offensively.
Vardy: 7 – Scored a fortunate goal, that landed at his feet during a corner kick scuffle, but it proved decisive.