West Ham denied by officials for second week running
PUBLISHED: 12:30 22 April 2019
PA Wire/PA Images
Hammers striker Antonio close to his best but it is still not enough
It's a good job that it didn't really matter. West Ham fans must be getting paranoid about the decisions that have gone against them in the last two games.
Leicester City, like Manchester United last week, got away with things thanks to the officials, but in truth, a draw was probably about right in this end- of-season encounter.
In a week where great rivals Tottenham had made the Champions League semi-finals, West Ham unveiled their new claret carpet surround.
It did look good, it did make the pitch look smaller, but it was no magic carpet and it could not make this decidedly average season look any better.
West Ham led twice, but in the second half, it was the Foxes who looked more likely as they showed some real attacking class.
Manager Manuel Pellegrini certainly saw some good things from this 2-2 draw.
“There are a lot of positives,” he said. “The team played well again, we dominated from the beginning.
“Leicester have a good squad with dangerous players, but they did not create a chance in the first 45 minutes.”
Maybe, but West Ham didn't create too much either. Robert Snodgrass delivered some dangerous corners, but when they did break the deadlock it was something of a surprise.
Mark Noble appeared on the left wing and when he floated a ball over to the middle, Michail Antonio got up above his marker to head into the corner.
Remember when Antonio was lethal in the air and most of his goals came from headers? Remember when he actually scored goals?
Looking at his substitute appearance at Old Trafford and then this game, maybe he is fully fit at last and returning to his best form – that would be a huge boost.
Jamie VARdy cleverly got in front of Fabian Balbuena to score the equaliser in the second half, but the Hammers restored their lead in a most unlikely way.
Subs Pedro Obiang and Lucas Perez were at the heart of it. The former thumped a shot against the post and the latter reacted first to put in the rebound.
It was the same pair at it again when Obiang's through ball allowed Perez to run in on goal and score, but the linesman flagged for offside.
It looked like it was at the time and there were few dissenting voices, but it wasn't and once again the rub of the green had gone against the Hammers.
“Unfortunately for us we lost five points in the last two games and maybe if we had those points, which we would have deserved, we'd have been fighting for seventh place in the table,” said a distinctly unimpressed Pellegrini.
“When you have two games in a row wirh such big mistakes, it is difficult to understand and accept.”
True enough, but the only error for Leicester's injury-time leveller came via the West Ham defending.
It had been coming. They had cut through the Hammers defence more than once, but this time Harvey Barnes was able to get into the box and find the room to drill a shot into the corner.
The season is all but over for West Ham and though the flip-flops are not quite on yet and there is a matter of a London derby clash with Spurs tp come, most of us are looking through the holiday brochures.