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Leicester Stock Watch: Shinji continues his upward trajectory

An up and down week means lots of fluctuating player stocks.

Leicester City v Liverpool - Carabao Cup Third Round Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

A deflating draw at Huddersfield, an abysmal first half against Liverpool in the Carabao Cup, and then... light. A second half sent from the footballing gods (otherwise known as Shinji Okazaki and Islam Slimani) and Leicester is back on track.

With a big result comes big positivity, so let’s analyze what went well:

Stock Up

Shinji Okazaki: The man who never stops running (for at least 60 minutes, that is) bagged another goal in another impressive performance. The Japanese forward came on for the likely-concussed Leo Ulloa and immediately turned the game around. His impact this season has been immense which creates a couple questions: Is he now a must-start player? Is he better utilized off the bench like he was in the League Cup? Should we change the formation to play him behind Jamie Vardy and Kelechi Iheanacho? There are no easy answers here, though this is a good problem to have.

Islam Slimani: The club record signing has yet to really make his mark on the club. Considered a disappointment by some, Slimani flashed a moment of brilliance against Liverpool. His left-footed laser beam nearly burned a hole in the top left corner of the net and the eyes of all who witnessed it. One thing is becoming clear: Leicester City has not yet discovered how to get the best out of the big man. We have regularly asked him to chase long balls as if he were Vardy when we should be providing him with service to his head or to positions in which he has room to shoot.

Ben Chilwell: Asked to step in after a freak eye injury to Christian Fuchs, Ben Chilwell performed at an impressive level. He led the team in touches against Huddersfield, and put in dominant performance against Liverpool, including five tackles, four interceptions, four clearances, three blocked shots, and two successful dribbles. Between Chilwell and Demarai Gray, the Foxes and the Three Lions have plenty of talent for the future.

Stock Down

Marc Albrighton: The hard working winger is in the midst of an uninspiring stretch of outings. Albrighton started the season in good form by whipping beautiful service into Jamie Vardy against Arsenal but has not replicated that magic in some time. In both of this week’s matches he made almost no meaningful contribution.

Vicente Iborra: With Adrien Silva still in limbo and Matty James sidelined with an achilles injury many assumed Iborra’s debut would come against Huddersfield, but it was actually Andy King who started. Midweek against Liverpool, the large Spanish midfielder finally made his full debut for the Foxes. His performance wasn't particularly bad, but it also wasn’t particularly good. He did, at least, contribute with a beautifully cushioned header to set up Shinji’s opening goal. Still, much is expected of Iborra as he is a player with vast experience as the captain of Sevilla - a club of such a stature that Leicester should hope to emulate.

Burton Albion v Leicester City - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images

Kelechi Iheanacho: Another player suffering from the burden of expectation. The Nigerian ace certainly has not been bad but he did not impress in his full debut at Huddersfield. The best we’ve seen from Iheanacho remains his very brief cameo in the preseason match against Borussia Mönchengladbach.