Jesse Lingard scored twice to continue his remarkable vein of form and inspire West Ham to a 3-2 victory over Leicester, a result that lifts the Hammers back into the top four.
The 28-year-old struck his seventh and eighth goals for David Moyes' side since joining on loan from Manchester United with both coming in the first half.
Jarrod Bowen added a third after the restart before Kelechi Iheanacho pulled two back for the visitors but despite his best efforts, he couldn't prevent Leicester from falling to back-to-back defeats.
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After a tentative opening, West Ham edged in front in the 29th-minute. Lingard was left unmarked on the edge of the penalty area and with a gorgeous first-time effort he wrapped a volley around the defence and past Kasper Schmeichel.
Leicester were caught out by a raking ball over the top as they conceded a second just before half-time. Bowen, deputising in the absence of the injured Michail Antonio, timed his run to perfection to latch onto it and with Kasper Schmeichel off his line, he rolled it to Lingard, who was left with a simple tap-in.
West Ham piled on the misery three minutes after the restart and Lingard was involved once again, squaring it to Tomas Soucek whose clever pass was finished by the excellent Bowen.
The introduction of Marc Albrighton on the hour-mark immediately improved Leicester and the visitors gave themselves hope with 20 minutes still remaining when Iheanacho lashed a shot home from 20 yards.
Albrighton's devilish low cross assisted Iheanacho's second in injury-time but the Hammers held on for a victory that takes them above Liverpool and Chelsea back into the Champions League spots and a point behind Leicester who remain third.

TALKING POINT - Lingard keeps West Ham's top-four hopes on track

With such an inspirational player in Antonio picking up an injury in the 3-2 victory over Wolves last Monday, questions were asked if West Ham could maintain their push for a top-four spot in his absence. Well, the excellent performances of Bowen and Lingard today have helped to answer that question. The latter will take the headlines, and deservedly so.
In front of the watching England manager Gareth Southgate - with James Maddison, a rival for his Euro 2020 position, 'unavailable' according to Foxes' manager Brendan Rodgers - Lingard was sublime once again. Everything he touches is turning to gold at the moment and whether he stays at the club next season or not, West Ham will always remember his contribution. Of course, their main priority this summer will be making him a permanent signing. Their best chance is by landing a Champions League spot, and judging by this performance - for 70 minutes at least - they have every chance. Seven games remain and Chelsea are the only top six contender they have left to play. From relegation contenders to European hopefuls, David Moyes deserves all the credit.
Leicester, on the other hand, cannot afford too many more performances and results like this. They dropped out of the top-four late on last season and history is threatening to repeat itself. Their fixture list looks kind on paper but can they hold their nerve?

MAN OF THE MATCH - Jesse Lingard (West Ham)

His influence waned in the second half after West Ham went to a more pragmatic approach to protect their lead, but his all round display will have reminded Gareth Southgate of his qualities. Despite not playing a minute of football until February 1, Lingard now has more goals than Mason Mount, Phil Foden and Jack Grealish.

PLAYER RATINGS

West Ham: Fabianski 6, Coufal 7, Dawson 7, Diop 7, Cresswell 7, Masuaku 6, Noble 7, Soucek 8, Lingard 9, Fornals 7, Bowen 9. Subs: Balbuena 5, Benrahma N/A, Johnson N/A.
Leicester: Schmeichel 5, Pereira 7, Fofana 6, Evans 5, Castagne 5, Amartey 4, Tielemans 6, Ndidi 5, Praet 4, Vardy 4, Iheanacho 8. Subs: Albrighton 7, Thomas 6.

KEY MOMENTS

29' - GOAL! West Ham 1-0 Leicester (Jesse Lingard): Everything he touches at the moment turns to gold! Lingard breaks the deadlock with a beautiful finish! Masuaku skips past his marker on the left and delivers a cross that evades everyone. Coufal keeps it alive on the opposite flank and finds Lingard free on the edge of the penalty area. And he somehow wraps a gorgeous volley around the defender and past Schmeichel!
44' - GOAL! West Ham 2-0 Leicester (Jesse Lingard): Lingard at the double! He's done it again! Leicester are caught out by a raking ball over the top as Evans plays on Bowen, who races onto it with a clever run down the right. Schmeichel races off his line and Bowen looks up and rolls it across to Lingard, who is left with a simple tap-in.
48' - GOAL! West Ham 3-0 Leicester (Jarrod Bowen): Leicester are falling apart! Lingard is involved again as he drives forward and feeds Soucek. He rolls it across to Bowen who makes no mistake with a clinical finish. Three shots on target, three goals for West Ham, and, as it stands, they're going back into the top-four!
70' - GOAL! West Ham 3-1 Leicester (Kelechi Iheanacho): Pereira gets a toe in to win Leicester possession deep in the home side's half and Iheanacho ensures the mistake is punished, slamming a venomous shot past Fabianski from distance. Game on?
90'+1 - GOAL! West Ham 3-2 Leicester (Kelechi Iheanacho): Albrighton drills a lovely ball across the face of goal, West Ham can't clear and it falls to Iheanacho, who prods it home. Now then, with five minutes left, can Leicester find what would be a dramatic late, late equaliser?

KEY STATS

  • In 2021, only Manchester City (16) have won more Premier League matches than West Ham United (10), who have picked up 32 points from a possible 45 this calendar year (W10 D2 L3).
  • This was David Moyes’ 50th Premier League game during his second spell at West Ham – the Hammers have won 75 points in this time (W21 D12 L17), their most over a 50-game period in the top-flight since winning 76 points between March 2007 and September 2008.
  • Since making his Premier League debut for West Ham, Jesse Lingard has been directly involved in more goals than any other player (eight goals, three assists).
  • Despite only playing in his ninth Premier League game this season, Jesse Lingard (eight) has now equalled his best scoring return in a top-flight campaign - also netting eight times in 2017-18 for Man Utd (33 appearance).
  • Kelechi Iheanacho has scored six goals in his last five Premier League games for Leicester, as many as he managed in his previous 57 games in the competition combined.
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