Pres­sure mounts for Puel as No­ble in­spires Ham­mers

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Sport - - SOCCER -

WEST HAM took a gi­ant leap to­wards se­cur­ing their Pre­mier League sur­vival and piled more pres­sure on Le­ices­ter boss Claude Puel with vic­tory at the King Power Sta­dium.

Puel’s side went into the match hav­ing won just twice in their last 11 Pre­mier League games but the French­man re­ceived the dreaded vote of con­fi­dence from club’s own­ers this week. His cause was not helped here by the ab­sence of nine play­ers through in­jury and sus­pen­sion but Le­ices­ter’s per­for­mance, on a hot af­ter­noon, was luke­warm at best.

West Ham in­flicted a fourth Foxes loss in five Pre­mier League matches with goals in each half from Joao Mario and Mark No­ble, the Ham­mers cap­tain scor­ing a pos­si­ble goal-of-the-sea­son con­tender.

The win moved David Moyes’ team six points clear of the bot­tom three and put a three-point cush­ion be­tween Swansea and Hud­der­s­field im­me­di­ately be­low them.

Le­ices­ter looked dis­jointed early on, per­haps as a re­sult of Puel hav­ing to make five changes. West Ham tried to take ad­van­tage and Manuel Lanzini saw two ef­forts blocked — the sec­ond in­ad­ver­tently by team-mate Marko Ar­nau­tovic.

The open­ing goal came af­ter 34 min­utes when Arthur Ma­suaku’s far-post cross from the left was con­trolled and knocked back into the six-yard box where Mario sim­ply tapped the ball home.

West Ham scored their sec­ond goal in the 64th minute and it was a strike wor­thy of set­tling any match.

Mario’s free-kick was cleared by Dragovic as far as No­ble, who struck the ball first time from 25 yards and his shot flew into the bot­tom cor­ner.

Mark No­ble cel­e­brates his won­der­ful strike

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