That’s a little more like it. Leicester City picked up the 3 points with a 3-1 victory over Crystal Palace, but the real winners were the Foxes’ fans, who were able to relax before the final whistle for the first time since the 3-0 win over Burnley more than a month ago.
Again, Ranieri rang the changes, this time making the brave decision to leave out a fit Jamie Vardy, which he had never done before. The decision was vindicated, however, with an impressive and fluid attacking display.
CLAUDIO: "Palace started better than us, but after this we made a good performance against a good team. We had to fight for it." #LeiCry— Leicester City (@LCFC) October 22, 2016
If anything, the only question left to be answered is how does the England striker fit back into that side, after such a display? It’s a good problem to have, of course, and we’ll await the answer eagerly next weekend.
Kasper Schmeichel - 8
A great shot stopper will usually look good under periods of sustained pressure like the end of the Copenhagen game. The difficulty is to keep enough concentration to make those saves after stretches of doing very little, but Schmeichel was always up to the task.
Rare to see a keeper in the sort of form Kasper Schmeichel's in right now.— Ian Stringer (@StringerSport) October 22, 2016
Pivotal, match winning saves.
GKs don't get enough credit
Danny Simpson - 7
The performance rater’s least favourite player. Simpson is defensively solid, he knows his job and he does it well. He rarely makes mistakes, and that’s about it.
Wes Morgan - 8
He might not have the speed for long chases these days, but he certainly can cover his own area. Not many shots get by without the captain at least getting something in the way of it.
Robert Huth - 8
We’ve seen it before and we’ll see it again, these two know how to deal with big strong forwards. Huth was impressive throughout, comfortably leading the game for clearances.
Christian Fuchs - 8
Another astute fullback who knows his defensive duties and carries them out very capably. The Austrian was another strong presence at the back, winning the ball again and again. He’s also got quite a left boot, it would seem.
Riyad Mahrez - 7
I can’t shake the feeling that we’d be praising the Algerian magician non stop if it was’t for the raised expectations of last season. His touch is still beautiful and his involvement in some steady build up play has been outstanding. He just isn’t matching last year for goal creation and it’s hard to get that out of your mind. He missed a sitter at 3-1; if he’d missed it at 1-1 we’d be talking about it.
Danny Drinkwater - 8
Covered every blade of grass, as ever. Won the ball as ever, made clever interceptions as ever, spread it around with his impressive passing range as ever. If you feel you’re ever in danger of under appreciating him, remember that two years ago he couldn’t get into a side that had just started a streak of 15 winless games and then watch how fantastic he is now.
I think Drinkwater is one of the best players here and, for me, one of the best midfield players in the country - Palace manager Alan Pardew has eyes
Andy King - 7
A slight come down after his heroics in midweek, but a decent game. Rotation will probably be the answer alongside Drinkwater this year and I’d expect Amartey to be back next week as a defensive option against Spurs.
Ahmed Musa - 9
Much like his gradual adjustment to the english style, the speedster took time to settle into the game, but he looked dangerous once he had. That seems to be his way, a constant threat, but not one to be relied upon. When he’s on, he’s on though and he took his first goal for the club very well.
Shinji Okazaki - 9
The difference between playing with and without Shinji is night and day (and not just from the glare of his beaming grin). His deeper presence links attack and midfield, helps his team to defend and makes their attacking play slicker and harder to stop. Plus just look at him. He’s a delight.
Islam Slimani - 7
His sizeable presence offers something to the side that no one but Ulloa can compare to, but he’s still got enough touch and movement to fit in with the mobile and fluid attack created by the three around him.
Jamie Vardy - 7
The striker hadn’t made a substitute appearance in the Premier League for since February 2015, but did well to get going straight away and keep up the intensity Slimani had provided.
He is our goalscorer. He knows when there are so many players a little rotation doesn't matter - we have the boss’ full assurance that the Vardy Party will continue
Demarai Gray - 6
Will be disappointed by his lack of opportunity, but he did nothing to impress in the short time he did get.
Daniel Amartey - 6
Had no time at all, so this is probably harsh, but a 50% pass completion rate is not what anyone is looking for.
A great display all round I thought. If we ignore the last 5 minutes then probably the best so far this year. Unsurprisingly that performance involved Shinji Okazaki, my Man of the Match.