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Leicester City start 2018 on a high, topping Huddersfield 3-0 at the King Power

New year, new win streak

Leicester City v Huddersfield Town - Premier League Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images

With an absolutely perplexing lineup consisting of Islam Slimani, a man strongly linked with a move away from Leicester, starting in place of an injured Jamie Vardy, Demari Gray on the bench, and no Andy King in the squad, plenty of questions have been raised as to the comings and goings at the King Power this transfer window.

The only good news was that Adrien Silva was named on the bench for the clash. Despite reports that he’d be unable to take part, the club allegedly received special permission from the Premier League allowing him to play.

That surprise inclusion was the only thing to celebrate in an absolutely dreadful first half, which saw neither team create much of anything and raising questions in regards to the Premier League’s scheduling of two games in three days. And just to add insult to injury, Wes Morgan limped off with what looked like a groin problem before the half hour mark.

The only real action to speak of in the first half came on 20 minutes after a long ball over the top was able to beat Leicester’s offside trap, setting Danny Williams through on goal. Harry Maguire attempted to wrestle his way back goal side, clumsily knocking Williams to the ground in the process. Referee Graham Scott waved play on, much to the dismay of the visiting supporters.

The second half initially looked to be more of the same, only for a spectacular finish from Riyad Mahrez to emphatically turn the tide in Leicester’s favour. Marc Albrighton put in an excellent cross towards the far post for Mahrez to smash home first time to give the Foxes the 1-0 lead on 52 minutes.

From there it was all Leicester, with Shinji Okazaki nearly doubling the lead in the 57th minute after being played through by Mahrez. The Japanese international battled to get on the end of the ball and managed to produce a spectacular finish on the outside of his right foot, only to be called back for impeding the Huddersfield defender in the process.

Slimani did double the lead in the 60th minute, channeling the spirit of the injured Vardy and finishing off a classic Leicester counter attack. Mahrez was once again at the heart of it all, playing his Algerian teammate through on goal. Slimani managed to keep his cool and calmly dink the ball over the outrushing Jonas Lössl and into the back of the net.

Wilfred Ndidi nearly netted a third in the 82nd minute after he jumped the highest to get on the end of a Demari Gray corner, with the effort rattling the bar.

Albrighton did finish things off in the dying stages of stoppage time after Slimani managed to outmuscle a couple of Huddersfield defenders to play in Gray on the right. The wingers shot took a heavy deflection off a leg and straight into the path of Albrighton who was easily able to thump home from close range to make it 3-0.

Overall after a slow start, the Foxes started 2018 with a bang. With Claude Puel stating post-match that Vardy’s exclusion was precautionary, there’s still the possibility that he’ll be included in Saturday’s trip to Fleetwood in the FA Cup. Either way, the team seems to be back to firing cylinders, much to the delight of the Foxes faithful.