Leicester 2-1 West Ham: Foxes relegated to Championship despite narrow final-day victory


Leicester’s relegation to the Championship was confirmed despite a 2-1 victory over West Ham.

The Foxes went into their match at the King Power needing a favour from Bournemouth, who travelled to face an Everton side that knew they would stay up should they secure victory over the Cherries.

At half-time on the final day of the Premier League season, Leicester were on course to survive after Harvey Barnes gave them the lead, while Everton were being held to a goalless draw at Goodison Park.

That changed after the break though, as Abdoulaye Doucoure fired Everton in front, and it meant Wout Faes’ header to double Leicester’s advantage meant very little, and Pablo Fornals’ finish to pull one back even less, as the Foxes dropped into the second tier after nine years in the top-flight, and seven years on from their stunning Premier League title success.

Barnes and James Maddison came back into the starting lineup for Leicester, with Dean Smith knowing much more in the way of attacking ambition was required from his side after their goalless draw with Newcastle a week ago.

There was no real sign of that in the early stages, both sides sloppy on the ball and the Foxes’ best moments coming when the visitors gave away possession. Gradually the hosts began to click into gear, with Kelechi Iheanacho going close as he strike just rose over the bar.

The pressure grew though and Leicester got their goal, with Iheanacho again involved. He combined with Barnes for a lovely one-two, before the Englishman curled a finish low into the far corner as the King Power erupted.

Leeds fell two goals behind to Tottenham shortly after the break, ending their slim hopes of Premier League survival, and with West Ham offering little in attacking areas, the biggest danger to Leicester came from Goodison.

So it proved, as the news they feared filtered through. Abdoulaye Doucoure had given Everton the lead, and it ensured the celebrations were muted when Youri Tielemans whipped a free-kick into the box and Faes rose highest to nod home.

Fornals halved the deficit with a smart finish after Danny Ings set him away, though by now few had their focus on what was going on at the King Power. For West Ham, the attention is very much on a European final to come in Prague on June 7, while for Leicester the closing stages involved a torturous wait for some positive news that never arrived.