Claude Puel’s Leicester City fought hard to come away from Stratford with a point last night as David Moyes took charge of West Ham United for the first time on home turf in front of The Sky Sports FNF Cameras.
Marc Albrighton had given the visitors an early lead with a well-finished sliding effort, but Cheikhou Kouyate pegged them back on the very stroke of half-time with a close-range header.
Both sides would go in chase of a winner in an entertaining second period, however, neither coming close enough to claim all three points on a very chilly night indeed in The Capital.
The draw sees the team in Claret & Blue remain in the bottom three after failing to deliver in a must-win clash, meanwhile, Leicester have taken the liberty of climbing a single place after a respectable result for them, they are now 11th.
From the start at The London Stadium, David Moyes opted for one change from defeat at Vicarage Road in his first game in charge for his first home encounter as Hammers Boss.
Long-serving Skipper Mark Noble was dropped to the bench in favour of left-back Arthur Masuaku, as the DR Congo International was started at left-wing for the first time in his West Ham United Career.
Whereas, Foxes Manager Claude Puel decided on no alterations to the starting Xl that was bested 0-2 by Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City at The King Power Stadium last Saturday, naming an unchanged team.
The real danger men in the visitors’ side included England striker Jamie Vardy, his Three Lions teammate Demarai Gray, solid defensive midfielder Vicente Iborra who had already netted against our U23s this season and Danish shot-stopper Kasper Schmeichel.
On the night where the former Olympic Stadium’s atmosphere was by far at its best as a Football venue, the away side aimed to shut the home fans up by getting off to a dream start.
After just eight minutes of the even affair, Vardy broke dangerously down the left side and delivered a low cross that somehow made it through the legs of Angelo Ogbonna.
Albrighton was waiting at the far stick to slide the ball precisely in the bottom corner, giving Joe Hart scarce chance of getting down to keep it out.
There would be little or no response from the hosts to going behind as The Foxes continued to control the game and could have doubled their lead a short while after.
Coming into the box from the right side, Albrighton was brought down by Masuaku, who appeared to trip the winger, but Referee Martin Atkinson was not interested in penalty claims, whilst Marko Arnautovic tracked back well to deny Vardy a golden one-on-one opportunity.
Meanwhile, at the other end, things were starting to improve, whilst a final ball appeared to be lacking, Schmeichel was tested twice before the break, first be a daring Ogbonna header from a Manuel Lanzini free-kick that the Dane got down well to push away.
And secondly, due to a free-kick in a similar position from the Argentina International, this time no attacker managed to get their head to it, but Schmeichel did have to punch, just minutes later he would be picking the ball out of the net.
Lanzini, again the creator going forward, swung in a superb corner from the left side that unexpectedly found the head of Kouyate in a ruck of bodies and infiltrated the City goal via a failed Danny Simpson clearance.
The goal came at a crucial time for Moyes, right on the stroke of half-time, leaving his French counterpart perplexed.
Whatever the Scot said to his players at the break, they came out fighting and were on top for large portions of the second period, only stopping to defend a small number of the visitors’ counter-attacks.
But, the most memorable action of the second-half surely came midway through, when substitute Andre Ayew was pulled down in the area by Harry Maguire, Atkinson said no once again, and replays showed that his antics would have been more suited in the nearby London Aquatics Centre.
The Ghanaian was again at the forefront as he produced the best attacking moment of the closing stages, rising acrobatically in the midst of a goalmouth scramble to fire just over.
Both sides pushed hard late on, the away team most notably through a Christian Fuchs free-kick that caused some problems and the hosts, a few whipped deliveries from Masuaku.
But, neither lacked the cutting edge that was necessary to claim all three points and had to settle for a share of them in the end, something that both Managers were relatively satisfied with.
After a more positive showing, next up for Moyes’s men will be a Wednesday night trip to Goodison Park to face off with Everton, the games are now coming thick and fast.
Meanwhile, Puel’s Foxes are also in action midweek, renewing a more recent rivalry with Tottenham Hotspur on Tuesday night at Leicester’s King Power Stadium.