LONDON: Jesse Lingard fired West Ham United into fourth place in the Premier League as the revitalised midfielder inspired a 3-2 win against Leicester City.
Lingard struck twice in the first half at the London Stadium to maintain his remarkable form since arriving on loan from Manchester United in the January transfer window.
The 28-year-old’s career had stagnated at United, where he rarely featured under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
But he has been reborn with West Ham, scoring eight times in nine appearances and earning a recall to the England team.
Jarrod Bowen scored West Ham’s third after half-time as David Moyes’ side climbed above Chelsea to reclaim fourth after being knocked down by their London rivals’ victory earlier this weekend.
West Ham are one point ahead of fifth placed Chelsea, who thrashed Crystal Palace 4-1 on Saturday, and two in front of Liverpool with seven games left for all three teams.
The Hammers haven’t finished in the top four since 1985-86 when they came third.
Qualifying for next season’s Champions League via a top four place would be an incredible achievement for Moyes, whose work this season has rehabilitated his reputation after his failures at Manchester United and Sunderland.
Lingard volleyed home from the edge of the area in the 29th minute and he doubled the lead with a tap-in from Bowen’s pass in the 44th minute.
Bowen bagged West Ham’s third in the 48th minute with a simple finish from Tomas Soucek’s pass.
Kelechi Iheanacho got one back for third placed Leicester with a long-range drive in the 70th minute.
Iheanacho struck again from close-range in stoppage-time, but having look certain to earn a top four place, Leicester are now only one point above West Ham.
Adding to their problems, James Maddison, Hamza Choudhury and Ayoze Perez were left out by Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers after breaching coronavirus protocols.
Newcastle United took a big step towards securing their survival with a vital 2-1 win against Burnley.
Steve Bruce’s side came from behind at Turf Moor to end their seven-game winless run.
Matej Vydra put Burnley ahead from close-range in the 18th minute, but Jacob Murphy equalised in the 57th minute.
Allan Saint-Maximin had set up Murphy’s goal after coming off the bench and the French winger grabbed the priceless winner with a superb solo effort in the 64th minute.
Fourth bottom Newcastle are now six points clear of the relegation zone and hold a game in hand on third bottom Fulham.
Burnley are seven points above the bottom three, but aren’t certain of survival after just one win from their last eight matches.
In Saturday’s late game, American international Christian Pulisic scored twice for Chelsea at Selhurst Park.
With Pulisic also scoring in Chelsea’s surprising 5-2 loss to West Bromwich Albion last weekend, he now has three goals in two league games and 13 goals overall in the English top flight.
Chelsea surged into a 3-0 lead inside half an hour against Palace. Kai Havertz netted just his second Premier League goal before Christian Pulisic blasted into the roof of the net.
Kurt Zouma’s header from Mason Mount’s free-kick rounded off a dominant first-half as Thomas Tuchel’s men made it 12 wins in 16 games since the German took charge in January.
Christian Benteke pulled a goal back for Palace after the break, but Pulisic converted Reece James’s deflected cross at the back post to round off the scoring.
Published in Dawn, April 12th, 2021