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Leicester Stock Watch: Islam Slimani impresses

The new year brought new joy for the Foxes.

Leicester City v Huddersfield Town - Premier League Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images

The year 2017 ended with disappointment after a second-half brace by Mohamed Salah sunk the Foxes. Thankfully, the new year brought new hope in the form of a 3-0 thrashing of Huddersfield.

In these two performances there were players who stood out for both good and bad reasons:

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Islam Slimani: The club record signing has had a turbulent season. He has struggled to get game time and even been left out of the squad entirely for weeks. Slimani was also used as a late sub in the Liverpool match and had little impact on the game. Against Huddersfield, however, the big Algerian finally broke through. In the 60th minute he was played through by his compatriot Riyad Mahrez and stunningly chipped the Terriers’ keeper. The deft touch necessary to pull off a shot like that was particularly impressive coming from a man of brute force. Slimani later sealed the game in the 91st minute with a skillful run past several defenders before feeding the ball out wide (though perhaps he was a second late) to Demarai Gray who then whipped a ball into the box that found its way to Marc Albrighton for the third goal.

Adrien Silva: He is the best. He is the greatest of all time. He is better than Lionel Messi.

Ok, ok, fine. That may have been an overreaction. But regardless, it was wonderful to finally see Silva in action for the Foxes after the infamous transfer debacle. In his very brief cameo as an 85th minute substitute Silva looked completely comfortable in blue. Hopefully there is much more of that to come.

Leicester City v Huddersfield Town - Premier League
Adrien Silva (center) raising questions about the ethicality of allowing superheroes to play competitive sports.
Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images

Matty James: James is back after a long absence once again. He didn’t dominate the match by any means, but he did hold his own with 55 passes and 62 total touches to his name without any glaring mistakes against Huddersfield. In reality, it’s just good to see Matty James on the field for Leicester City after such long periods of injury for the English midfielder. Any production at all by James is appreciated.

Riyad Mahrez and Marc Albrighton: These two seem to be reaching peak form at the same time. They have each found their way onto this list often in recent weeks as their play continues to improve, but it’s difficult to envision it getting any better than it is at this moment. Mahrez contributed a simple assist to Jamie Vardy against Liverpool and then another assist and a goal against Huddersfield. Meanwhile, Albrighton continues to be a tireless worker and creative machine. He provided another stellar cross for an assist in the match against Huddersfield, this time dropping a flawless ball into Riyad Mahrez’s magical left foot. City’s first-choice wingers are a nightmare-inducing tandem for opponents in their current form.

Leicester City v Huddersfield Town - Premier League
The Mahrez (right) and Albrighton (not pictured) death-machine combination in full-effect once again.
Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images

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Wes Morgan: The captain was not much of a factor against Liverpool and was a bit lazy on Salah’s opening goal. He watched on from behind rather than make a concerted effort to get back into the play. In the Huddersfield match he was substituted off early with a groin injury that may keep him out of action for a couple weeks. For the usually infallible team captain, this unfortunate run is substandard.

General squad health: Wes Morgan may miss a couple weeks with the aforementioned groin injury. Danny Simpson is likely out for several weeks as well after picking up an injury against Manchester United. Perhaps worst of all, Jamie Vardy might miss what would be a sentimental affair against his former club Fleetwood Town, who famously purchased him from a non-league side for £1 million. Health and consistency were hallmarks of Leicester City’s success in 2015-16, so the bad luck in this department is an unwelcome addition to the squad.