West Brom boss Alan Pardew’s position is under further scrutiny after a heavy defeat by Leicester left the Baggies eight points adrift of safety.
The hosts had taken the lead when Salomon Rondon produced a close-range finish from Oliver Burke’s low cross.
Leicester equalised in spectacular fashion when Jamie Vardy volleyed crisply past Ben Foster from Riyad Mahrez’s ball over the top.
Mahrez then got on the scoresheet himself after half-time when he coolly finished after a clever pass from Kelechi Iheanacho.
Former Manchester City striker Iheanacho put the game beyond West Brom when he headed in Ben Chilwell’s cross.
Leicester completed the rout in injury time when Vicente Iborra headed home from a corner.
With fixtures against Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham to come in their remaining eight matches, West Brom’s survival hopes look forlorn.
Pardew’s long-term prospects are equally bleak with just one victory since he was appointed successor to Tony Pulis in October.
What does this mean for Pardew?
There had been speculation Pardew would only get one more match to save his job and defeat could spell the end of his brief tenure.
However, the vibe from The Hawthorns before kick-off was that the 56-year-old will stays in charge until the end of the season come what may.
Whether this loss changes the opinion of West Brom’s owner Lai Guochuan in the coming days remains to be seen.
The Chinese entrepreneur will surely have been unimpressed by the second-half capitulation on Saturday.
West Brom had actually shown some fight in the first period, sensing it was now or never to deliver a performance.
As soon as they fell behind the life appeared to be sucked out of West Brom’s players, though, and the Foxes were merciless in their approach.
The decline at the West Midlands club looks terminal and Pardew’s chances of being in charge beyond the end of campaign look virtually non existent.
Vardy shows no signs of slowing up
Vardy turned 31 in January but if the late blooming of his career continues at the same speed with which he runs on to defence-splitting passes, there is plenty more to come.
The England international’s first goal was a thing of beauty.
Vardy hovvered on the line of the West Brom defence, watched Mahrez’s ball over the top of the backline drop over his shoulder before striking a crisp, low volley into the corner of the net.
The Hawthorns clearly brings the best out of him – Vardy has scored in all four of his Premier League appearances against West Brom at the ground.
He has also either scored or assisted 15 goals this season. Only he and Mahrez – with 18 – have been directly involved in at least 14 goals this season and play for clubs outside the top six.
But Vardy is much more than just a goalscorer and showed as much here. He was a constant pest to the Baggies’ defenders, brought team-mates into play and made dangerous runs.
If he continues in this form, particularly with a World Cup to come this summer, then there may yet be more unwritten chapters to come in the Vardy story.
Man of the match – Riyad Mahrez (Leicester)
‘We found a clinical edge’ what they said
West Brom boss Alan Pardew: “You have to fight. You have to fight until the end. I don’t care whatever job or workplace you are in.
“If you are under pressure and you are not going to fight, then don’t bother turning up.
“I am not going to lay down tools because I am saying to the players they have to fight until the end.”
Leicester boss Claude Puel: “It was a crucial win because we have drawn some games at home
“We found a clinical edge. The first half was end to end and a very open game with chances for both sides.
It could have been 3-3 at half-time. It was important to manage the game in the second half and we were clever, with good quality and scored fantastic goals.”
Home side struggles continue – the stats
- The side which hosts this fixture have failed to win in eight Premier League meetings.
- West Brom have dropped a league-high 21 points from winning positions in the top flight this season.
- The Baggies have now lost six Premier League games in a row. They last lost seven straight games between February and April 2003 when they were relegated.
- Mahrez has now been involved in 18 Premier League goals this season (10 goals, eight assists) – twice as many as last season (nine – six goals, three assists).
- West Brom striker Rondon’s goal was his 22nd Premier League strike – since the start of 2015-16, he has scored 12 more goals for the side than any other player.
West Brom travel to Bournemouth for a Premier League game next Saturday (15:00 GMT kick-off). Leicester host Chelsea in the FA Cup quarter-finals at the King Power Stadium the following day at 16.30.