Leicester 2-1 West Ham: Foxes relegated seven years after lifting Premier League title
Match report and highlights as Everton midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure’s strike against Bournemouth seals a 1-0 win to send Leicester down; Foxes end five-game winless run but cannot avoid the drop; Harvey Barnes and Wout Faes put the Foxes 2-0 up before Pablo Fornals halved the deficit
Leicester have been relegated from the Premier League just seven years after lifting the title despite beating West Ham 2-1 on the final day of the season.
Dean Smith’s side started the day in the relegation zone, two points behind Everton in 17th, but Harvey Barnes stepped up for Leicester in their time of need and slotted in a crucial opener (34) after combining with Kelechi Iheanacho to momentarily lift them out of the bottom three.
The King Power Stadium went quiet though after Abdoulaye Doucoure’s stunning strike at Goodison Park gave Everton the lead against Bournemouth. Not even Wout Faes’ first goal for Leicester (62) – a header from Youri Tielemans’ corner – could lift the mood as their destiny was out of their hands.
Leicester City were crowned Premier League champions just seven seasons ago. But fast-forward 2,557 days and they have become the second side to carry the unwanted tag of ‘Champions to Championship’ – following on from Blackburn Rovers.
It was hard to see this fall from grace coming. Leicester has finished in the top half in each of the previous five seasons, missing out on Champions League qualification on the final day in both 19/20 and 20/21, prior to an eighth-placed finish last season. But this league can swallow you up. Make one wrong key decision in terms of recruitment or strategy and teams will motor past you. The opposition boardrooms are just too shrewd now. One slip is all it takes.
Leicester’s recruitment is where it has all gone wrong. There has always been a next along the production line, a Riyad Mahrez, Harry Maguire, Wesley Fofana, N’Golo Kante, or Ben Chilwell. The cupboard has run dry on that part. Patson Daka, Boubakary Soumare, and Wout Faes for £67m have been good money spent very badly. James Maddison and Harvey Barnes have flirted with season-saving performances, but both have faltered in the heat of a relegation battle, while Jamie Vardy’s legs went last season so reliance on him has proved fruitless.
It is the Championship now. It could be a long road back if the common theme of bad boardroom decisions continues.