Leicester ease relegation worries

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Leicester City held on to claim their first away win of 2016/2017 Premier League season and further ease their relegation worries in a stirring victory over West Ham on Saturday.

The Foxes scored twice inside the first seven minutes, with Riyad Mahrez’s cross evading Hammers goalkeeper Darren Randolph for the first.

Later on, an unmarked Robert Huth headed in Marc Albrighton’s deft chipped pass following an excellent set-piece move.

Manuel Lanzini put the hosts back in contention with a sublime free-kick on 20 minutes, only for Jamie Vardy to restore his side’s two-goal advantage before the break.

He pounced on lax defending from Albrighton’s corner kick to strike high past Randolph.

After the interval, Andre Ayew headed in after Andy Carroll won the ball at the back post from a corner kick.

This was after West Ham exerted constant pressure on the visitors in a dramatic finale.

However, Kasper Schmeichel made two tremendous saves to deny Carroll from close range late on and ensure a fourth straight victory for the Foxes under new manager Craig Shakespeare.

The title-holders have now moved six points clear of the English Premier League relegation zone.

Meanwhile, Slaven Bilic’s West Ham are now winless in five league games as their struggles in the first year at the London Stadium continue.

Leicester’s resurgence under Shakespeare following the sacking of Claudio Ranieri is no longer surprising, even if the reasons behind it remain slightly disputed.

But their first half showing at West Ham was perhaps the closest they have come to last year’s thrilling title-winning performances.

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Their first goal was fortuitous as Mahrez’s cross from deep missed both Shinji Okazaki’s run across the six-yard box and Randolph’s last-ditch attempted save.

But it did rock West Ham and the visitors capitalised ruthlessly.

Mahrez, unrecognisable from the forlorn figure of earlier this season, combined brilliantly with opposite winger Albrighton in a well-worked free-kick.

It culminated in Albrighton chipping a reverse pass first-time over the Hammers defence for Huth to easily nod past Randolph.

After that early one-two punch, Leicester played football worthy of their status as champions, drawing the Hammers out of shape with their passing.

It resulted in England striker Vardy scoring only his second away league goal of the campaign.

However, the second half was more reminiscent of Leicester’s problems at the start of this year.

Their decision to slow the pace of the game only seemed to stifle their own creativity and invite West Ham back into the contest.

Ultimately, though, Shakespeare’s side showed enough grit in the absence of injured captain Wes Morgan at the back to double their points won on the road this season.

In other English Premier League matches played on Saturday, West Brom beat Arsenal 3-1 while Crystal Palace beat Watford 1-0.

Everton hammered Hull City 4-0, Stoke City lost 1-2 to Chelsea, while Sunderland drew goalless with Burnley, with Bournemouth hosting Swansea in a late game.

On Sunday, Middlesbrough will host Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur will also host Southampton, while Liverpool are guests of Manchester City. (9News Nigeria)

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