Leicester City played to an unsatisfying draw with West Brom on Monday following the long international break. In this match the Foxes continued the confusing trend of form not being reflected in the results. It wasn’t a masterclass by any means but City did appear to be the superior side for the majority of the match, only to come away with just one point.
This disappointment led to a strange atmosphere surrounding the club. One of Leicester’s own suffered the most dramatic drop of stock possible while a few others shined through the muck:
Harry Maguire: The English giant has been - by far - the most impressive recruitment the club has made over the last two summers. He continues to show immense quality and is quickly becoming one of the most influential members of the squad. He chipped in in all facets of the game against the Baggies, strongly marshaling the backline and preventing multiple counterattacks with his physical presence. He even chipped in with a shot on target and a key pass.
Riyad Mahrez: The Algerian magician is as mercurial as they come. He was quiet for much of the match, taking less touches on the ball than Marc Albrighton and Christian Fuchs, among others. Mahrez also put in a whopping 10 crosses, all of which were inaccurate. He did, however, pop up in dangerous areas twice. On the first of these two occasions he skied a sitter that would haunt just about anybody. So why is he here? Because he saved the Foxes from an outright loss with a sweet right-footed finish on the second of these occasions.
Just the sheer exhilaration of watching him calmly chest down Slimani’s cushioned header and swing through the ball so cleanly with his weak foot might be enough to land him in this spot, but the surrounding factors make it an easy decision. Leicester was in desperate need of points and he was in desperate need of a spark and he delivered both of these things on one play.
Craig Shakespeare: The long-time Leicester City employee got the boot after just a couple of months as the main man. Did he make any egregiously bad decisions this week? No. Didn’t his substitutions late in the game help rescue a point? They did. Because of these factors the timing of this move may confuse many supporters, as it confused me, but the team was in need of a - ehem - shakeup. Regardless, Shakey’s loyalty and general positive disposition will be missed dearly.
October 19, 2017
Vicente Iborra & Kelechi Iheanacho: I decided to lump these two together because they seem to be suffering from many of the same afflictions. The pair of new Foxes are struggling to fit in with their new teammates and seem to have not yet gained an understanding of the tendencies of those who surround them. For example, on at least one occasion Iheanacho made the exact same run into the exact same space at the exact same time as his strike-partner Jamie Vardy. Similarly, on one occasion Iborra tried to play a quick one touch pass in a dangerous area in the box, only to turn and realize his teammate had already vacated the space he was passing into. With time, however, I anticipate they’ll adjust to their new team and Iborra specifically will adjust to the speed of his new league.
Kasper Schmeichel: “To whom much is given, much will be required.” This comes to mind because of just how hugely talented Kasper is. During the NBC Sports (U.S.) broadcast of the match a commentator referred to him as one of the best keepers in the Premier League, and that commentary was hardly surprising. All this is to say he's really really good. For that reason his costly mistake on Nacer Chadli’s free kick lands him in this spot.