Monday 5 December 2016

How Riyad Mahrez and David Silva fared at the King Power Stadium

Published 29/12/2015 | 22:21

David Silva, right, tried his best to lead Manchester City to victory
David Silva, right, tried his best to lead Manchester City to victory

It was second against fourth before kick-off but, perhaps more intriguingly, Riyad Mahrez and David Silva were also locked in a playmaking play-off at the King Power Stadium.

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Everything Mahrez has touched this season has seemingly turned to goals for Leicester but how did the Algerian wizard compare to the man Manchester City fans call 'Merlin'?

Here, Press Association Sport assesses how two of the hottest Barclays Premier League properties compared in the top-of-the-table clash.

GOAL THREAT

Only Jamie Vardy and Romelu Lukaku had a better goals-per-game ratio than Mahrez heading into the game and the Algeria international came close to narrowing that gap midway through the first half.

Mahrez, who has 13 Premier League goals this season, easily dispossessed Aleksandar Kolarov and fired a rasping 25-yard drive narrowly over Joe Hart's bar.

By contrast Silva, with just one league goal this term, rarely looked like adding to his modest tally and failed to muster a single effort on target before he was replaced in the 74th minute.

CREATIVITY

Arsenal's Mesut Ozil may be streets ahead of anyone else in the Premier League assists chart but these two are arguably the German's biggest threats.

Ozil took his tally to 16 for the season against Bournemouth on Monday and while neither of Mahrez or Silva added to their total of seven, it was not for the want of trying.

Silva, as he does so often, was roaming in the channels to good effect and Mahrez fed Marc Albrighton with a neat pass in the second half but he failed to finish from a narrow angle.

INFLUENCE

In a recent interview, Silva suggested that Mahrez was one of this season's star performers so it is little wonder he has become a target for opposition defences.

Stopping him is a different matter and Manchester City managed it well - aside from when Nicolas Otamendi took matters into his own hands towards the end of the first half with a robust challenge.

Silva settled down to the task with some early interplay with the likes of Yaya Toure, Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero as the visitors set up camp in Leicester territory, but he faded away as the game wore on.

DELIVERY

Mahrez has been the master of the well-placed cross this term but he rarely had the chance on this occasion.

Silva's first corner was easily dealt with by Leicester while his second led to a Sterling shot that was easily saved by Kasper Schmeichel.

The Spaniard was consistent in avoiding the first man - and an embarrassing replica of Kevin De Bruyne's attempt at a corner at Arsenal which saw the Belgium kick the flag - but he failed to find the head of a team-mate from any of his attempts.

SKILL

Mahrez bagged an early nutmeg on £55million man De Bruyne and looked dangerous when he got between Manchester City's midfield and defence - jinking past Fernandinho on a couple of occasions. He also left De Bruyne for dead in the last act of an entertaining goalless draw.

Silva kept the flash touches to his counterpart but did embark on a seemingly impossible mazy run through the heart of Leicester's defence on the hour mark which almost led to a Fernandinho goal.

OVERALL CONTRIBUTION

Mahrez had arguably his quietest day at the office this season and found space hard to come by. He did try to force his way into the game by switching flanks with Albrighton yet his best spells came from the centre of the pitch.

The former Le Havre winger often found himself tracking back to counter the threat of Kolarov on Manchester City's left but, as so often from this Leicester side, his work-rate was never in question.

Silva, on the other hand, dictated much of Manchester City's play in the opening 45 minutes with the movement of Sterling, De Bruyne and Aguero creating the space the Spaniard needs.

Fitness has been an issue for the 29-year-old of late and that showed as the match entered its latter stages and he was replaced by Jesus Navas.

Press Association

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