Antonio sets record as Hammers beat 10-man Leicester
- Updated: August 24, 2021
Michail Antonio became West Ham’s outright top scorer in the Premier League in a dominant victory for the Hammers over 10-man Leicester City at London Stadium.
Antonio celebrated by lifting a cardboard cut-out of himself after scoring his 48th top-flight goal to break Paolo di Canio’s club record.
The 31-year-old added a second four minutes later to wrap up an impressive win for David Moyes’ side.
It is only the second time the Hammers have won their opening two fixtures of a Premier League campaign.
Pablo Fornals and Said Benrahma scored West Ham’s first two goals either side of Ayoze Perez’s dismissal for a stamp on goalscorer Fornals.
Youri Tielemans had briefly given the visitors hope at 2-1 before Antonio’s late double.
Antonio shines as Foxes are hammered
Only Manchester City and Manchester United won more points away from home than Leicester in the Premier League last season, but the Foxes were outplayed in their first game on the road in the new campaign.
Brendan Rodgers put it mildly when he said his side were “very light” at the back in his pre-match interview, with new signing Jannik Vestergaard joining Wesley Fofana, James Justin, Ryan Bertrand, Jonny Evans and Nampalys Mendy on the sidelines.
The makeshift Foxes defence was finally undone by West Ham on 26 minutes when Fornals scored his third goal in as many league games for the Hammers.
The Spaniard played a quick one-two with Benrahma on the left before continuing his run into the box, sweeping past Kasper Schmeichel with a first-time finish from 10 yards.
Leicester’s evening went from bad to worse 15 minutes later when Perez was sent off for stamping on Fornals’ ankle as he stumbled forward trying to win the ball back from a challenge with Aaron Cresswell.
After initially allowing play to continue, referee Michael Oliver produced the red card following consultation with the VAR officials and viewing a replay himself. It is the Spaniard’s first red card on his 274th appearance in English football.
There was calamitous defending from Caglar Soyuncu for West Ham’s second as the Turkey international’s sloppy backpass was intercepted by the unselfish Antonio, who crossed for Benrahma to fire past Schmeichel from 12 yards.
Antonio had drawn level with Di Canio courtesy of his strike at Newcastle in West Ham’s season opener, but it seemed as if he would have to wait for his moment of glory as he saw five chances go begging.
But after holding off Soyuncu in the box from Declan Rice’s cross, Antonio turned past the centre-back and found the bottom corner.
His night was not over yet. As a packed London Stadium chanted ‘ole’ with each Hammers pass, Antonio capped off a near-perfect evening as he flicked the ball above two Leicester defenders, before beating them both on the turn and stabbing past Schmeichel.
After missing out on a place in the top four by two points last season, West Ham start the new campaign full of optimism and – even if after only two games – end the day top of the Premier League for just the second time ever.
Source: BBC Sport