Dogged Baggies defeat disappointing Foxes


Leicester 1-2 West Brom –

Following a five-game winless streak and a 4-0 loss to Manchester City last week, West Brom nerves had begun to jangle.

However, dogged second half defending saw them secure a 2-1 win at Leicester, who had spells of pressure but were not sufficiently ruthless when they were on top. Islam Slimani equalized for the Foxes shortly after James Morrison’s opener, but Matt Phillips won it late on.

Leicester looked disjointed early on, too big a gap in their midfield. James Morrison exploited this with some clever passes between the lines for Salomon Rondon, who held the ball up well. The Venezuelen headed wide from the lively Phillips’ cross on 15 minutes, in one of the away side’s openings, most of which they did not need to push too many bodies forward to create.

Leicester got further into Baggies territory later in the half but their final delivery consisted of slow balls into the penalty area, which suited centre-backs Gareth McAuley and Jonny Evans.

West Brom started the second half strongly and soon capitalized. Two of the away side’s better midfielders combined, Phillips crossing for Morrison to head home. Leicester however, equalized promptly in similar fashion. Islam Slimani, otherwise disappointing, headed in Riyad Mahrez’s bending cross from the right. Mahrez tore apart Allan Nyom on numerous occasions but, unlike in the first half, when he ran forward and held onto the ball for too long, his end product was better after the interval.

Leicester’s improved delivery may have been down to the half-time addition of Jamie Vardy, who provided a direct threat and occupied Jonny Evans, which Shinji Okazaki did not do. Mahrez and Ahmed Musa knew that if they could deliver a cross from the byline, they had a higher chance of finding a recipient. The latter beat Craig Dawson repetitively in the second half but was surprisingly taken off on 67 minutes for Demarai Gray, who had less of an influence.

At that point, West Brom regained their shape before going ahead on 72 minutes. Phillips pounced on an uncharacteristic error from Danny Drinkwater, otherwise one of Leicester’s better players, beating Wes Morgan for pace before finishing coolly.

Leicester arguably deserved a point for the pressure they applied in the second half, but when they had been on top, they did not test Ben Foster often enough. Given the work McAuley and Evans were forced to do after the break, much of the credit for West Brom’s victory must go to them. Tony Pulis’ side move up to 11th and the situation at the Hawthorns now looks rosier.

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