UK Football

Player ratings as Jesse Lingard leads Hammers back to top four

West Ham reclaimed their place in the Premier League’s top four with a deserved 3-2 victory over fellow European hopefuls Leicester City.

After a scrappy start to the game, it was Jesse Lingard who opened the scoring with a glorious 28th-minute volley that curled into the bottom corner and left Kasper Schmeichel with no chance. Lingard’s second, a tap-in shortly before the break, wasn’t nearly as glamorous but still handed West Ham an imposing lead at the break.

The Hammers needed just a few minutes to add a third. Jarrod Bowen tapped home from close range, and Issa Diop thought he had added a fourth soon after, only for VAR to call it back for offside.

Leicester reduce the arrears through Kelechi Iheanacho, firstly with a thunderous strike with 20 minutes to go and a late poke for his second, but West Ham held on for a nervy three points.

Issa Diop
Diop was dominant throughout | JUSTIN SETTERFIELD/Getty Images

Lukasz Fabianski (GK) – 7/10 – Had to be alert throughout but didn’t really have too much to do. Made a few decent saves as well as a fantastic challenge to deny a certain goal from Pereira.

Vladimir Coufal (RB) – 7/10 – Did well at both ends of the pitch, although he fluffed a fantastic chance for a second goal. Clearly bottled it in the penalty area, but made up for it with the assist for Lingard’s opener.

Craig Dawson (CB) – 7/10 – Enjoyed a tough battle with Vardy and Iheanacho. Looked a little wobbly at times but was happy to throw himself at anything and everything.

Issa Diop (CB) – 8/10 – Excellent defensively but made his biggest impact in attack. His stunning through ball for Lingard’s second deserves plenty of praise.

Aaron Cresswell (LB) – 6/10 – Probably the shakiest of West Ham‘s defenders. Spent time swapping between CB and LB, but didn’t really excel in either. Forced off with an injury early in the second half.

Jesse Lingard
Lingard was excellent | Pool/Getty Images

Mark Noble (DM) – 7/10 – On his 400th game for West Ham, Noble was solid. Did well to keep Leicester’s midfield quiet and kept things ticking with some decent passing. Left the game late on with a worrying arm injury.

Tomas Soucek (DM) – 7/10 – Didn’t get involved in attack as much as he would have liked, but Soucek did well at the back. Was unlucky to be shown an early yellow but didn’t get into any more trouble.

Pablo Fornals (RM) – 7/10 – Another whose attacking input was poor, Fornals was excellent with his relentless pressing. Hounded Leicester’s back line into plenty of mistakes and helped keep his side on top.

Jesse Lingard (AM) – 9/10 – Jeeeez. An excellent first goal and a simple second ensured Lingard’s fairytale continues. He was superb.

Arthur Masuaku (LM) – 7/10 – No idea where he was playing to be honest. Commentary described the formation as ‘four-and-a-half at the back’ (useful). Regardless, did some great work up and down the pitch, operating as both a winger and left-back.

Jarrod Bowen
Bowen was impressive in a central role | Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

Jarrod Bowen (ST) – 8/10 – Did a great job of replacing Michail Antonio. Involved in Lingard’s second and took his own strike with real composure.

Fabian Balbuena – 6/10

Ben Johnson – N/A

Said Benrahma – N/A

Wesley Fofana, Pablo Fornals
Fofana had a respectable showing | Julian Finney/Getty Images

Kasper Schmeichel (GK) – 3/10 – Perhaps should have done better with Lingard’s opener but was definitely at fault for the second. Caught in no-man’s land as he let Bowen waltz past him. Didn’t cover himself in glory with the third either.

Daniel Amartey (CB) – 3/10 – Hauled off at half time after a difficult first 45. Sloppy in possession and found it hard to deal with Bowen and Lingard. Didn’t enjoy being in a back three at all.

Jonny Evans (CB) – 3/10 – Poor positioning throughout allowed West Ham to waltz through the ‘offside trap’ far too often. Culpable for both the second and third goals.

Wesley Fofana (CB) – 4/10 – Was he Leicester‘s best defender? Probably, but that’s hardly the biggest compliment. Didn’t directly contribute to his team’s downfall, so that’s nice.

Youri Tielemans
Tielemans struggled to keep up | Julian Finney/Getty Images

Ricardo Pereira (RM) – 5/10 – Wrecked his usual havoc in attack but was fairly sloppy with his final ball. Struggled to deal with the weird two-headed left-back West Ham went with.

Youri Tielemans (CM) – 5/10 – Wanted the ball a lot but was absolutely hounded by Noble and Soucek. Couldn’t get anything going at all.

Wilfred Ndidi (CM) – 4/10 – Looked like he didn’t want this one at all. Passing was sloppy and was taught how to defend by Noble. The ‘Ndidi > Rice’ Twitter brigade went a little quiet.

Dennis Praet (CM) – 5/10 – On his first start in three months, Praet was fairly quite before being hooked at the hour mark. Got himself into a few decent positions but seemed scared of shooting and wasted possession once or twice.

Timothy Castagne (LM) – 4/10 – Underwhelming as a wing-back but even worse as a centre-back after the break. Visibly struggled to get to grips with the position.

Kelechi Iheanacho
Iheanacho took his goal well | Michael Regan/Getty Images

Jamie Vardy (ST) – 4/10 – Non-existent in attack, Vardy’s dry spell in front of goal continues. He tried to make up for it with his passing but even that wasn’t there.

Kelechi Iheanacho (ST) – 7/10 – Was incredibly dangerous throughout, and although his clear-cut chances were few and far between, he did manage to bag a worldie and a tap-in to give Leicester a chance.

Luke Thomas – 6/10

Marc Albrighton – 6/10

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