Leicester opened a four-point gap to fourth place in the Premier League with victory over relegation-bound West Brom at the King Power Stadium.
Three goals in 13 first-half minutes did the damage as striker Jamie Vardy scored one and assisted another.
Vardy was teed up by Timothy Castagne for the opener, before he set up Kelechi Iheanacho after a driving run down the left for Leicester’s third.
Centre-back Jonny Evans had nodded in a deflected corner to make it 2-0.
In a game that had several goalscoring opportunities, Castagne and West Brom’s Matheus Pereira also hit the woodwork in the first half.
Victory means Leicester are now four points clear of Chelsea, who occupy the final Champions League qualification spot with six games remaining. The two sides meet in the league – as well as the FA Cup final – next month.
“I am not thinking about the other teams. We have to think about ourselves. We can only control ourselves,” said Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers.
“This group will sometimes lose games but they are so honest and they want to be better. When you have that it is the dream ticket. It is all you can ask for as a coach.”
West Brom are on the brink of relegation as they remain nine points from safety and have a far inferior goal difference than 17th-placed Burnley.
Manager Sam Allardyce said his side “couldn’t cope” with Leicester, who he added are “only behind Manchester City on that performance”.
“You can see why Leicester are where they are in the league and why they are in the FA Cup final,” he added. “Leicester are a lot better than Southampton and far better than Chelsea. They are as good as the top boys.”
Relentless Leicester round off memorable week
After booking their place in the FA Cup final on Sunday, Leicester could not have finished the week in better fashion.
They looked eager to get on the front foot from the off – carving West Brom’s defence apart with through balls from Youri Tielemans and driving runs from Vardy and Castagne.
Iheanacho and James Maddison both had chances in the opening 10 minutes, before Tielemans eventually played in Castagne and he put it on a plate for Vardy to thump in.
West Brom defender Dara O’Shea’s last-ditch tackle on Iheanacho prevented an immediate second for Leicester but the reprieve was short-lived as Evans then nodded to make it 2-0 within three minutes of Vardy’s opener.
Striker Vardy turned provider when he skipped past his opponent and teed up Iheanacho for Leicester’s third.
That goal came after West Brom’s Pereira and Leicester’s Castagne had both hit the woodwork, and there could have been another goal for Iheanacho before the break but he lashed it over from six yards out.
The relentlessness of Leicester’s attack in the first half did the damage, and they still enjoyed plenty of space in the second half – Iheanacho seeing a shot blocked by O’Shea in the box and a free-kick palmed away by goalkeeper Sam Johnstone, while Vardy’s long-range chip sailed wide.
Rodgers was also able to bring off Maddison, Vardy and Wesley Fofana with Monday’s game against Crystal Palace in mind.
Baggies’ ‘great escape’ all but over
Back-to-back victories against Chelsea and Southampton had given West Brom a glimmer of hope in their fight for safety during a week when Sheffield United’s relegation was confirmed.
Allardyce named the same side that beat Southampton, but the contrast in performance was stark.
Leicester overwhelmed West Brom from the opening minute and they were unable to recover from a first half that could have seen more goals going the hosts’ way.
Pereira’s corner skimmed the crossbar, Mbaye Diagne completely fluffed a chance on the edge of the box and Matt Phillips’ strike was straight at the goalkeeper in a game of few chances for West Brom.
Substitutes Semi Ajayi, Hal Robson-Kanu and Karlan Grant also failed to make an impact in the second half and Leicester coasted to victory.
It means any chance of a great escape for West Brom is all but over – they have 18 points to play for but they have only picked up 24 so far this season.
‘Leicester tore our defence apart’ – what they said
Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers to BBC Sport: “In the first half I wasn’t happy at all. We weren’t precise enough with our passing. In the second half we controlled the game.
“Overall, I’m really pleased as a win in the Premier League is always huge. We were good but we can be much better. It was always going to be a big test. We have to control ourselves and our own performance.”
West Brom manager Sam Allardyce to BT Sport: “Leicester were far too good for us, in the first half particularly. We tried to look after their front two and one of the main reasons for our recent results has been our defensive solidarity. Leicester tore it apart. We couldn’t cope with them.
“It was a respectable second half but we didn’t get much at the other end. In the end we thoroughly deserved to get beat. You have to get the basics right and those basics deserted us. We need to win five out of six to have a sniff [at staying in the Premier League]. We’ll give it our best shot.”
Vardy back on the score sheet – the best of the stats
- Leicester have 59 points from their 32 Premier League games this season; in their top-flight history, only in 1962-63 (63, adjusting to three points/win) and in 2015-16 (69) have they had a better tally from their opening 32 matches to a campaign.
- West Brom have conceded 62 Premier League goals this season; across Europe’s top-five leagues in 2020-21, only Crotone (80), FC Schalke 04 (76) and Parma (66) have shipped more league goals.
- Leicester have won each of their last three Premier League games against West Brom, each by a margin of at least three goals. It’s only the fourth time in their top-flight history that they have won three consecutive league matches against an opponent by 3+ goals, and first since April 1966 against Fulham.
- Vardy scored his first goal in 12 appearances for Leicester City in all competitions, ending his longest run without a goal for the club since December 2016 (16 apps).
- Since Vardy’s Premier League debut in August 2014, only Harry Kane (193) and Sergio Aguero (157) have been directly involved in more goals in the division than the Leicester striker (153 – 116 goals, 37 assists).
- Evans’ goal came 181 seconds after Vardy had opened the scoring for Leicester; it was his first Premier League goal since December 2019 against Aston Villa.
Leicester host Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Monday, 26 April (20:00 BST), while West Brom travel to Aston Villa on Sunday, 25 April (19:00).
West Bromwich Albion
- 3FofanaSubstituted forAlbrightonat 61′minutes
- 10MaddisonSubstituted forPérezat 72′minutes
- 9VardySubstituted forPraetat 85′minutes
- 21Ricardo Pereira
- 5BartleyBooked at 79mins
- 35YokusluBooked at 57mins
- 7RobinsonSubstituted forAjayiat 45′minutes
- 12Costa PereiraSubstituted forGrantat 73′minutes
- 17DiagneSubstituted forRobson-Kanuat 61′minutes
Match ends, Leicester City 3, West Bromwich Albion 0.
Second Half ends, Leicester City 3, West Bromwich Albion 0.
Corner, Leicester City. Conceded by Darnell Furlong.
Corner, Leicester City. Conceded by Semi Ajayi.
Attempt blocked. Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Marc Albrighton.
Marc Albrighton (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Conor Townsend (West Bromwich Albion).
Substitution, Leicester City. Dennis Praet replaces Jamie Vardy.
Attempt missed. Semi Ajayi (West Bromwich Albion) with an attempt from very close range is just a bit too high. Assisted by Matt Phillips with a cross following a corner.
Corner, West Bromwich Albion. Conceded by Youri Tielemans.
Foul by Çaglar Söyüncü (Leicester City).
Hal Robson-Kanu (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Attempt saved. Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.
Kyle Bartley (West Bromwich Albion) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Ayoze Pérez (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Kyle Bartley (West Bromwich Albion).
Attempt missed. Okay Yokuslu (West Bromwich Albion) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Matt Phillips with a cross following a set piece situation.
Foul by Marc Albrighton (Leicester City).
Karlan Grant (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Ayoze Pérez (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.