Wednesday 23 May 2018

Mahrez class gets Foxes back on track

Leicester 3 Huddersfield 0

Leicester City's Islam Slimani scores their second goal. Photo: Reuters/Andrew Boyers
Leicester City's Islam Slimani scores their second goal. Photo: Reuters/Andrew Boyers

John Culley

The idea of Claude Puel giving his players a half-time ear-bashing seems absurd given the whispering tones of his post-match discourse in the press room but something the Frenchman said enabled Leicester to leave behind a lifeless first-half to notch their first win in five Premier League matches.

They - and their opponents - had looked to be paying the price for four matches in 10 days as they struggled to find energy and accuracy in a forgettable first 45 minutes. But the match then turned on two moments of quality, both of which had Riyad Mahrez at their heart.

Leicester City's Wilfred Ndidi (left) and Huddersfield Town's Danny Williams battle for the ball. Photo credit: Nigel French/PA Wire
Leicester City's Wilfred Ndidi (left) and Huddersfield Town's Danny Williams battle for the ball. Photo credit: Nigel French/PA Wire

Still supposedly courting a move after his request for a transfer met without success last summer, Mahrez scored Leicester's first goal and set up their second for Algerian compatriot Islam Slimani to continue an impressive run of form under Puel.

In 13 matches since the Frenchman took charge in November, Mahrez has played a key role - providing the assist or the finish - in 10 goals.

Cynics might feel that his resurgence is not unconnected with the coming of another transfer window but there is no arguing with the skill he possesses when his game falls into place.

His touch for the 53rd-minute opening goal was sublime, meeting a ball hooked back into the box by Marc Albrighton from a half-cleared long throw with a side-foot volley past goalkeeper Jonas Lossl.

Leicester City's Adrien Silva. Photo credit: Nigel French/PA Wire
Leicester City's Adrien Silva. Photo credit: Nigel French/PA Wire

Seven minutes later, linking play in a trademark Leicester counter-attack, he sent Slimani away to score the second.

Leicester unveiled their €25m signing from Sporting Lisbon, midfielder Adrien Silva, before Marc Albrighton added the third in added-time. © Daily Telegraph

Leicester City's Shinji Okazaki and Huddersfield Town's Christopher Schindler (floor) battle for the ball. Photo credit: Nigel French/PA Wire
Leicester City's Shinji Okazaki and Huddersfield Town's Christopher Schindler (floor) battle for the ball. Photo credit: Nigel French/PA Wire
Leicester City's Christian Fuchs in action with Huddersfield Town’s Collin Quaner. Photo: Reuters/Andrew Boyers
Leicester City's Christian Fuchs in action with Huddersfield Town’s Collin Quaner. Photo: Reuters/Andrew Boyers

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