Leicester City are kicking their preseason campaign off in Hong Kong as they take part in the Premier League Asia Trophy. Today they took on West Bromwich Albion and were held to a 1-1 draw, with Riyad Mahrez equalising after Jay Rodriquez had put the Baggies ahead. It’s a knockout competition, however, so the game went to penalties (taken with the new ABBA order), which the Foxes won 7-6.
Results are obviously not so important at this stage of the season, but there’s still a few things we can take from the game.
1) We have a new keeper!
Former Hull keeper Jakupovic flew out to Hong Kong for his medical and was officially announced by the club today, he’s already working with the rest of the squad.
Ben Hamer was given the start in goal and did ok, eventually saving a penalty, but now it seems pretty clear that we were using this stage as an advertising opportunity for a possible transfer away.
2) Ahmed Musa is really not in favour
Despite playing their traditional 4-4-2 system and completely changing the ten outfield players, only three genuine wingers were used: Riyad Mahrez, Tom Lawrence and Marc Albrighton. Musa was left to sit on the bench for the full 90 minutes, and that’s rarely good news for a player in a friendly. An exit this summer seems more likely than ever.
Meanwhile, it’s good news for Tom Lawrence, who impressed on loan last year. A player of the year calibre season at the Championship level should surely earn him a chance to prove himself this summer.
3) Riyad Mahrez can still be a match winner
So, we didn’t actually win the match in 90 minutes, but if we had it would've been down to Mahrez, who played just the first 50 minutes and scored out only goal. He was the best player on the pitch in the first half and scored a quality individual goal.
That’s exactly why the team is holding out for a higher price, and it should be why plenty of teams would be looking to add him. Hopefully he can keep these performances up to draw in more interest.
What does Okazaki do? Watch closely... pic.twitter.com/y8nZnuXZDJ— Roy Bennett (@ThriveRoy) July 19, 2017
4) Daniel Amartey is the 2nd choice RB
No surprised here with the full team changed at half time and a second right back required, but it confirms that, of the current options, the club sees him as the next best. Of course, with Huth injured they were a bit limited and none of the central defenders could move over (Benalouane, in particular, has played some RB before).
Development squad captain Elliot Moore took full advantage of Huth’s absence, looking very assured as he played the second half alongside first team captain Wes Morgan.
5) The time and date of the next game
A win today puts us into the final of the competition against Liverpool, who beat Crystal Palace. The final will be in the same place on Saturday at 20.30 local time (13.30 GMT, 08.30 Eastern, 05.30 Pacific). For those who want to watch, that’s better than if we’d lost, as West Brom will play Palace at 18.00 local time.