Pressure mounts for Puel as Noble inspires Hammers
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