Alan Pardew left on the brink as West Brom are hammered at home by Leicester City

West Bromwich Albion 1 Leicester City 4: Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez, Kelechi Iheanacho ad Vicente Iborra got the goals

Jack Watson
The Hawthorns
Saturday 10 March 2018 18:06
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Iborra got the fourth
Iborra got the fourth

Leicester City heaped further misery on West Brom and Alan Pardew with a convincing victory at The Hawthorns to condemn the Baggies to their sixth successive Premier League defeat.

Pardew has won just one league game since taking over in December but the bottom of the table side took an early lead through Salomon Rondon. Then a mixture of clinical finishing and cagey defending allowed Leicester to come back into the game with goals from Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez, Kelechi Iheanacho ad Vicente Iborra.

Any pre-match nerves were quickly eradicated with Rondon’s eighth minute goal. Allan Nyom, who was recalled to the starting eleven with captain Jonny Evans missing out through illness, set Oliver Burke away on the right wing and his driven cross was poked in by Rondon. The forward made his way to the front post, got in front of Wes Morgan then stabbed in his fifth league goal of the season.

The Baggies were buoyant by this new-found confidence and may have been two ahead ten minutes later but for the cross bar. A Leicester clearance fell to Grzegorz Krychowiak on the edge of the box, his effort at goal took a deflection and looked to be looping in but Kasper Schmeichel produced a fine fingertip save to push the ball onto the bar.

Mahrez scored a fine second goal

The game plan was looking perfect from Pardew, get an early goal then sit back and keep it tight. The only problem was this lasted 13 minutes.

Despite an impressive start, West Brom were back to their old ways which has them rooted to the table, and soon had their lead snatched away by Vardy.

As with every World Cup cycle, players’ may have half an eye on their place in the squad and Jamie Vardy has now all-but secured his place in Gareth Southgate’s England team. After Marcus Rashford scored twice in Manchester United’s win over Liverpool, Vardy levelled the score line and drew level with Romelu Lukaku in Premier League goals scored.

Mahrez collected the ball deep in midfield and played a precise through ball down the middle of the pitch into Vardy’s path. The English forward watched the ball over his shoulder and fired a left-footed volley across Ben Foster and into the bottom corner.

West Brom responded with enthusiasm but their fast and loud side had quietly fizzled out as half time approached. Leicester has the ball in the net again when Ben Chillwell’s low ball was turned in by Vardy but the forward went too early and was offside.

Iheanacho made an impression at The Hawthorns

After the break the home side responded to Pardew’s rallying cry in the build-up but never troubled Leicester and they soon trailed.

Mahrez, who had a brilliant game, beat another offside trap to collect Iheanaho’s lofted ball. With one touch he brought the bouncing ball under control in the area, and then elegantly lobbed Foster from close range.

This time there was no fight-back and Leicester were cruising. On came Iheanacho who scored his first Premier League goal for the Foxes when he found space in the area and headed in Chillwell’s cross from the left.

With the game as a contest over some time ago, Iborra added a fourth in added time to make the scoreline more emphatic when he powerfully headed in Marc Albrighton's corner.

Throughout the season West Brom’s midfield has been starved of creativity, which will suggest why a good striker such as Rodon has scored so few, but glimpses of invention were shown by Burke who has been sparingly used this season. His youth, guile and energy drove the home side forward and created space for his teammates to work in as well as goal scoring chances.

West Brom are left staring down the barrel of relegation

Getting the best from him may help Pardew’s side but it’s a commitment which will have to work both ways, in some moves Burke was the driving force, while in others he seemed disinterested and was unable to keep up with the speed of the game.

By contrast, Leicester’s winger Mahrez, who has been sporadically absent from the first team since January for entirely different reasons, was magnificent. He played on the right wing by name only and drifted in field whenever he could get on the ball and make things happen. His creativity and skill was too much for the Baggies to handle, let alone his range of passing or finishing which lead to two of Leicester’s goals.

Next for Leicester is a FA Cup quarter final date with Chelsea after some warm weather training, just stick to the set curfews and this side can really kick on.

West Brom considered Pardew’s future after losing 2-1 against Huddersfield in their last home game, two weeks ago. An improved performance in the recent 1-0 against Watford and the lack of available replacements meant the job remained his for a little longer. With another defeat on his card, further conversations about his future would not be farfetched but the lack of credible alternatives is a worry for the board.

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