LEICESTER CITY 0-3 WEST HAM UNITED
- Goals: Michail Antonio (£6.3m), Pablo Fornals (£6.4m), Jarrod Bowen (£6.3m)
- Assists: Aaron Cresswell (£4.9m) x2, Fornals
- Bonus: Cresswell x3, Antonio, Fornals x2
West Ham put in a third consecutive impressive performance on Sunday, with several FPL assets set for watchlists at a minimum for the club’s fixture turn in Gameweek 8.
Chief among those is Michail Antonio (£6.3m), who will be under immediate consideration after an all-action showing at the King Power stadium.
West Ham’s opener after 13 minutes was Antonio from start to finish. In typical bustling style, the striker won a free-kick from Caglar Soyuncu (£5.5m) on the right-hand side of the pitch.
A switch to the opposite flank saw Aaron Cresswell (£4.9m) swing in an excellent cross to the back post, where Antonio was waiting to head across Kasper Schmeichel (£5.0m) into the net.
Despite registering just one attacking return, Antonio still managed to pick up two bonus points.
That was mostly thanks to Pablo Fornals (£6.4m) picking up a second-half yellow card, though top-bonus earner Cresswell was slightly fortunate to be so far ahead in the post-match BPS standings.
Fornals doubled Leicester’s lead after 34 minutes, with West Ham’s left centre-back earning a second assist. The midfielder pulled Cresswell’s upfield punt from the sky before advancing to shoot past Schmeichel from inside the area.
FALLING ON VARD TIMES
Cresswell’s second slice of luck came to the chagrin of a multitude of FPL bosses, as the VAR picked up on a marginal offside to deny Harvey Barnes (£7.1m) a goal from a Jamie Vardy (£10.1m) pass.
Barnes began an intricate passing move as the final whistle approached, with substitute Kelechi Iheanacho (£5.8m) also involved before Vardy – from an ever-so-slightly offisde position – rolled the ball onwards for Barnes to finish sweetly.
“It’s huge. You can see that on the reaction from Lukasz Fabianski and Angelo Ogbonna when Jamie Vardy didn’t score, and the VAR as well.
It is really important to them. I am not sure how important it was to them previously but you can see just how much that means to them.” – Alan Irvine
As Irvine – who again stood in for David Moyes – pointed out, Vardy had a big chance to get a Leicester consolation after 89 minutes.
Released by an Iheanacho pass, the striker flicked the ball beyond an on-rushing Fabianski but also past the keeper’s left-hand post.
On his team’s performance, Brendan Rodgers admitted:
We were nowhere near it today. West Ham were excellent. You need to be good at the counter-press to stop them counter-attacking and we weren’t good enough.
Technically we weren’t at the level either. Too many passes going out of play. We got what we deserved. We could never make the last pass or find the quality to give Jamie the service he needs.
Our attacking structure wasn’t very good. We missed Dennis Praet (£5.5m) and James Maddison (£7.0m) who give us that bit of quality.
Maddison was ruled out of the clash with a calf injury, while a knee problem sustained in Gameweek 3 saw Praet fail to make the matchday squad.
It is now three goals in two games for Jarrod Bowen (£6.3m), who scored West Ham’s third on the break following fine work from Declan Rice (£4.9m).
The defensive midfielder – who had earlier struck the crossbar after a marauding run – broke the Leicester press from deep to find Fornals, whose through ball was swept home in now-trademark style by his attacking midfield counterpart.
Following the match, Bowen said:
Clean sheet and three goals. We were solid without the ball and had chances and looked dangerous on the break. A perfect away performance. I think everyone is buzzing. To score four last week and three this week against very good teams shows where we want to be this season.
You can see the workrate Michail shows. He pulled off to the back stick and what a header it was. He is a great lad and unplayable on his day.
Irvine, deputising due to Moyes having tested positive for Covid-19 almost two weeks ago, added:
Our shape in and out of possession was fantastic. The workrate and ability to fill in for each other, everything we have been working on and asking for. We could have scored more against a very good team. I am delighted.
[David] is doing very well from the living room. He has been involved in everything. He picks the team, we talk about training and substitutions in games. He deserves the credit.
New signing Vladimir Coufal (£4.5m) had an impressive debut at right wing-back, which probably ends any chance of Ben Johnson (£4.0m) emerging as a viable budget defender for the time being.
Irvine said of the Czech Republic international:
I have to be honest, it was a big decision for David to make. [Coufal] has only had two sessions with us. We know his quality and experience but we didn’t know how he would fit in the team.
He picked up the messages we gave him really well. It was a great performance. What a debut.
WING-BACK TO BASICS
Rodgers set his side up in a 3-4-3 formation, matching West Ham’s tactical set-up, though an injury to right-sided centre-back Daniel Amartey (£4.0m) saw a switch to 4-2-3-1 on 55 minutes before Iheanacho’s introduction soon after meant the Foxes ended in a 4-4-2.
On Amartey, Rodgers explained:
Looks like a hamstring, which is unfortunate. We will get confirmation of that.
The Leicester boss added on his side:
Everything was missing. It was poor. It is easy to tell the truth. We started the season well and scored goals but we lacked aggression in our defending and West Ham have shown they are a good side.
We rushed the game and then gave away two poor goals. It gave us a mountain to climb. They deserved to win.
They set up to deny us space in behind, really, so we have to deal with that, and we had enough of the ball to create opportunities.
We lacked precision in our pass and gave it away so easily. From that aspect, we made it really difficult for ourselves.
They were good defensively and on the counter-attack. We didn’t see the performance coming from us.
FPL bosses can relate to that last line from Rodgers, with a topsy-turvy season in terms of form making it difficult to pin down transfer targets.
However, if Rodgers continues with a back-three system then Timothy Castagne (£5.7m) and James Justin (£4.7m) will continue to appeal despite a lacklustre defensive showing in Gameweek 4.
Leicester XI (3-4-3): Schmeichel; Soyuncu, Evans, Amartey (Ünder 55′); Justin, Mendy (Choudhury 88′), Tielemans, Castagne; Barnes Vardy, Perez (Iheanacho 63′).
West Ham XI (3-4-3): Fabianski; Cresswell, Ogbonna, Balbuena; Masuaku, Rice, Soucek, Coufal; Fornals, Antonio (Haller 88′), Bowen (Noble 88′).
Lessons Learned from FPL Gameweek 4
- Chelsea 4-0 Crystal Palace
- Everton 4-2 Brighton and Hove Albion
- Leeds United 1-1 Manchester City
- Newcastle United 3-1 Burnley
- Leicester City 0-3 West Ham United
- Southampton 2-0 West Bromwich Albion
- Arsenal 2-1 Sheffield United
- Wolves 1-0 Fulham
- Manchester United 1-6 Tottenham Hotspur
- Aston Villa 7-2 Liverpool
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