Leicester relegated despite win over West Ham
Leicester City were relegated from the Premier League despite a 2-1 victory over West Ham United as Everton beat Bournemouth 1-0 to stay up on the final day of the season on Sunday.
Leicester, who were promoted to the top flight in 2014 and won the title against all the odds in 2016, finished in 18th position on 34 points, two behind Everton, and were relegated along with already doomed Southampton and Leeds United.
“Hard to take. We knew it would be a tough ask, we knew we had to win our game and hope something went for us. It didn’t,” Leicester captain Jonny Evans, who missed a long period of the season through injury, told Sky Sports.
Harvey Barnes had fired the Foxes ahead in the 34th minute after a superb exchange of passes with Kelechi Iheanacho, slotting the ball past goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski to lift Leicester above Everton on goal difference.
West Ham looked very much like a side with one eye on their Europa Conference League final with Fiorentina on June 7, but they still threatened on the break, leaving Leicester’s fans on the edge of their seats.
Central defender Wout Faes netted Leicester’s second in the 62nd minute, connecting with a Youri Tielemans free kick to head past Fabianski but by then the crowd was aware that Everton had taken the lead and the celebrations were subdued.
Jamie Vardy, the goalscoring hero of the 2016 title run, came on in the 77th but with Leicester’s fate out of their hands there was little the talismanic striker could do to help.
Pablo Fornals pulled a goal back for West Ham two minutes later and Leicester spirits were briefly lifted when news of a Bournemouth goal spread around the ground but they proved to be unfounded and the stadium quickly fell silent again.
The players gathered around mobile phones to watch the final few minutes of stoppage time from Goodison Park, but Bournemouth could not score the goal that the Foxes needed and relegation was confirmed at the final whistle on Merseyside.
“You have to earn the right, there’s so many good teams in this league,” added Northern Ireland’s Evans. “Everything has to go right for you. It’s a really competitive league.
“It’s a great club. I have no doubt we’ll bounce back.”