James Maddison

Leicester City Relegated Despite West Ham Win

Leicester City have been relegated from the Premier League despite a final-day 2-1 win over West Ham United at King Power Stadium on Sunday.

Harvey Barnes and Wout Faes found the net for City, who needed a victory to be coupled with Everton dropping points against AFC Bournemouth at Goodison Park. A 1-0 win for the Merseysiders, though, prolongs their lengthy run in the top-flight and means Leicester will play in the Sky Bet Championship next term. 

Over a magical nine-year spell in the Premier League, the Foxes stunned the world, lifting the English title in 2016, also winning the FA Cup and the Community Shield in 2021. They reached the knockout stages in three of UEFA’s European competitions too. This campaign was a far cry from those vintage years and concludes with City finishing 18th on 34 points. It began with Brendan Rodgers in charge and ended with Dean Smith at the helm for the final eight games. Leicester suffered 22 defeats across 2022/23 – more than any of their other 16 Premier League campaigns. It also included runs of seven and nine games without victory despite the hope provided by four wins from five before an unusual winter break for the FIFA World Cup in Qatar. 

Momentum and confidence eluded the Foxes throughout the season. The Blue Army have been there throughout, though, following their team around the country. King Power Stadium was a sea of blue on Sunday, with When You’re Smiling being belted out with real emotion at kick-off. On an unseasonably grey early summer’s day in late May, the fans were still playing their part. Some believed that City would survive. There were those, too, who did not share that confidence. They still turned up and sung up for the boys in blue. On a sad day for the Football Club, we saw the best of Leicester City in the stands. 

While the players did their best to focus solely on the matters they could control – the supporters couldn’t help but keep a close eye on proceedings elsewhere. City needed Everton not to win. Leeds United were in the mix too, although their survival was always improbable. They were hoping for losses for both Everton and Leicester and to beat Tottenham Hotspur themselves. Spurs won 4-1 at Elland Road. Whether the Foxes fans’ tech of choice was a mobile phone or a portable DAB radio, the effect was the same. Filbert Way groaned and roared with each and every development at Goodison Park. They were often caught out by false information too. On several occasions, cheers broke out for no reason. The chaos of the final day. 

Leicester, wearing their 2023/24 adidas home kit, had Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, James Maddison and Barnes back in the XI following Monday’s 0-0 draw at Newcastle United. The defensive resolve which kept Eddie Howe’s UEFA Champions League qualifiers at bay was needed again, but with a greater potency in attack.

City’s first opening came over a frantic 60 seconds on 15 minutes. Jonny Evans’ raking forward ball was taken down well by Kelechi Iheanacho, inches inside the area. The Nigeria international, however, had it snatched away from him at the last by Nayef Aguerd. Daniel Iversen, on the other hand, was alert when the visitors from east London broke away down the left. Michail Antonio’s curler was too close to the Danish stopper, though. Łukasz Fabiański’s first save came on 25 minutes too, after tidy link-up play from the Foxes ended with Iheanacho sending it low towards the bottom corner, but too close to the ‘keeper.

Leicester’s No.14 went closer soon after. Barnes’ deep cross was taken down neatly by Iheanacho and given immediately to Maddison. Iheanacho got it back just as quickly and his left-footed curler clipped the crossbar. Leicester were building. The breakthrough they deserved was only around the corner. Super inter-play between Iheanacho and Barnes down the left channel freed the latter. Barnes was away from his man, took his time, and placed it past Fabiański with composure into the far bottom corner. A huge celebration followed on Filbert Way. 

City tried to maintain their pressure. Maddison skidded wide, then had an effort deflected behind. Into the second half, Aaron Cresswell’s corner pinged off Evans’ head and could have landed anywhere. Fortunately for City, it whizzed around the post and not inside it. On the hour, news filter in that – this time – Everton were in indeed front. Seconds later, back in Leicester, Saïd Benrahma struck the post for West Ham. From almost losing their lead, Leicester then extended it. Youri Tielemans’ free-kick, on the left, was perfect for Faes to glance it into Fabiański’s bottom corner. Leicester were doing what they needed to. Maddison could have made it three on 68 minutes after dancing through West Ham’s defensive line, but he hit it straight at Fabiański.

Danny Ings, only just brought on, then blazed over for the Hammers. Another Maddison hit was deflected behind, before Pablo Fornals got one back, via the base of the near post on the counter for the Irons. Fornals was off target again as additional time began. And that was that. There was an anxious wait for confirmation. Everton's game had more added time to get through. But news came through in the end. Everton had won and Leicester City’s latest Premier League spell is at an end. 

Major moment – Events elsewhere 

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City fan

A Foxes fan tries to stay up to date with events at Goodison Park.

Leicester needed to win and they did. Abdoulaye Doucouré's goal for Everton, sealing a 1-0 win for the Toffees over AFC Bournemouth was out of their control, but decisive nonetheless. 

Where does it leave us? – 18th in the Premier League

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Dean Smith

Dean Smith watches on from the sidelines.

The Foxes will contest the 2023/24 season in the Sky Bet Championship – a division they have won seven times. Southampton and Leeds United will join them in England’s second tier next season after also suffering relegation this term. 

Coming up – Pre-season preparations

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Kelechi Iheanacho

Nigerian forward Kelechi Iheanacho on the ball for City.

After a summer break, City will embark on a pre-season schedule which will include domestic friendly fixtures and matches in Bangkok and Singapore. The 2023/24 English Football League season begins the weekend commencing Friday 4 August. 

The details 




Leicester City Crest





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