Despite a commendable defensive effort, Leicester City couldn’t quite keep Manchester United off the scoresheet for a full 90 minutes. As a result, this week’s Leicester stock watch will have more negatives to analyze than the inaugural edition.
Still, we’ll start with the positives:
Kasper Schmeichel: Despite allowing two goals - one of which may have been preventable - Kasper still finds himself in higher standing than he was a week ago, if that’s even possible. An onslaught in the form of United’s attack kept the pressure on him for the duration of the match, forcing five saves including one from the penalty spot. What the Dane provides for this team is irreplaceable.
1 - Kasper Schmeichel (1) has now saved more Premier League penalties at Old Trafford than Peter Schmeichel (0). Eclipsed. pic.twitter.com/ILSOPPPQBi— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) August 26, 2017
Riyad Mahrez: By now Leicester City supporters should be well aware of The Magician’s quality. Riyad at his best is a game-breaking trickster capable of superhuman feats. While this match may not have provided us with one such moment, it did reaffirm his place as our most potent attacking threat. The fact that the Algerian continues to give everything to the team despite the obvious conflict, reflects well on what kind of person he is. Either that or he just really wants shop his talents and inspire a bid large enough for Leicester to allow him to leave. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Open Play Defense: United dominated with 69 percent possession and bombarded Leicester with shot after shot, finishing with 22 in total. Still, only seven of those shots actually found themselves on target and that was thanks in large part to a solid game plan and commitment from the players. The lone open play goal came after the game had been broken open as a result of a set piece goal.
Set Piece Defense: This is becoming an area of real concern for the Foxes. It appears not even the addition of half-man half-giant Harry Maguire has helped the team prevent the ball from finding the back of the net on set pieces.
Demarai Gray: The young English hope of Leicester City received his first real chance of the season with an early substitution for Marc Albrighton. Unfortunately, a lot of his flaws were on display in this match. Gray played with his head down far too often and missed the chance to play Mahrez clear through, among other missed opportunities. Possibly the only instance in which he picked his head up and picked out a pass resulted in a beautiful cross that found a streaking Andy King in the face of goal, forcing a reactionary save from David De Gea. Gray will have to show a lot more if he hopes to supplant Mahrez or Albrighton any time soon (assuming they’re both still around after the transfer window closes).
Andy King: I would never dream of slandering this Leicester legend. It might even get me fired. But his contributions as a substitute have been lackluster for a while now. King is the type of player who can come in and do a necessary yet unflattering job. This is more a criticism of the role he has been deployed in than the player himself. Expecting him to come on and flip a game on its head at this stage in his career may be unfair, regardless of how pretty some of his past goals are.
Craig Shakespeare's Substitutions: I won’t go as far as to say the manager is doing a poor job, as his initial tactics seem to be working. However, Jake Lawson makes a good point. The substitutions he has made in the Premier League’s early matches have done more harm than good.