From the Vaults: West Ham United v Leicester City 20th April 2021

Hope everyone is safe and well.

Continuing my series of past games looks at the draw between West Ham United and Leicester City where substitute Harvey Barnes scored in stoppage time to secure a controversial Premier League draw with West Ham in a frantic finish at London Stadium.

On our current form we seem to race ahead with 3 goals before holding on for a nail biting finish, with a draw against Arsenal and wins against both Wolves and Leicester.

Almost 2 years ago at the London Stadium the Hammers looked on course for a win after Lucas Perez, a 78th minute replacement for Arnautovic, had turned in a rebound after fellow substitute Pedro Obiang had hit the post in the 82nd minute.

In fact the Spaniard could have scored a second goal before the final whistle after rounding Foxes keeper Kasper Schmeichel from Obiang’s through ball, but he was wrongly called to have been offside and the goal did not stand.

This fired up the visitors to push again for an equaliser which came as Leicester swept forward, Youri Tielemans picked out Barnes who put the ball low beyond Lukasz Fabianski to score his first Leicester and Premier League goal in stoppage time to share the points.

“Unfortunately for us we lost five points,” said ManuelPellegrini. “If we had the points that we deserved in the last game against Manchester United and today then we could be fighting for seventh position. When you have two games in a row with such big mistakes then it is hard to take.”

Leicester, lacklustre for most of the match, looked bright on the counter but lacked any edge in front of goal. Leicester’s ambitions to be a top 6 side have grown in the last two seasons and given the way the Hammers are playing in the 20/21 season, so have our ambitions to break into the top of the Premier League with some blistering counter attacking football spurred on by key players such as Llingard, Rice, Soucek, Bowen and Antonio. 

It was Antonio then who gave West Ham a deserved lead eight minutes before the break. The winger had already been denied twice through last-ditch defending but made no mistake after Felipe Anderson’s cross was delivered perfectly into box, rising above Ben Chilwell to head into the net.

Barnes was brought on from the bench and the impart was felt almost immediately as Vardy was on hand to stab home Chilwell’s low cross at the near post after the England defender was given acres of space to deliver an equaliser. Suddenly Leicester has purpose.

The injustice of previous results, and with three successive defeats spurred the Hammers on and it seems they had sealed the game with Perez’s goal. But controversy was to again darken over West Ham as Obiang nipped the ball off Tielemans and played in Perez, who did not see the flag as he rounded Schmeichel, with replays showing he was just behind the foot of the last Leicester defender.

Pellegrini complained “We deserved more than a draw. We scored a legal goal for 3-1 and with that the game would have been finished, but it was a mistake of the linesman. I’ve seen it again and he was one metre onside. There is nothing you can do about that. Next season when we have VAR it can be more fair.” Well, we know the impact VAR has had on the game since it introduction, but still viewing the reply would have shown that Perez was onside.

The result left Leicester dropping to 8th with 48 points, West Ham remained 11th on 43 points with just 3 matches to play out the season. What a different situation we find ourselves in this season, with the last three games being nail biters until the end but now in 4th place and looking to secure a Champions League spot for next season. 

Enjoy the photos from that home draw 2 seasons ago.

Published by dawudmarsh

Photographer based in London.

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