Leicester City has had a complicated week. Things had generally been going well for the team, as they took down Peterborough in the FA Cup fourth round and appeared to be in good position for the rest of the season.
Then came deadline day.
Manchester City came calling for Riyad Mahrez and oh yea there was that pesky Everton fixture to deal with. The results were... not great. But at least there was the memory of the Peterborough match to enjoy:
Fousseni Diabaté: He is the best player to ever live. Alright, maybe not quite the best ever, but that was an unbelievable debut for the 22-year-old. Diabaté was heavily involved from the start and bagged a ninth minute goal. He ended with a brace and and was integral to the build-up of two more goals. The young Malian showcased a feathery soft touch, explosive quickness, and a more advanced skillset than would have been expected. He did, however, struggle to get involved in his Premier League debut against Everton after being subbed on in the 57th minute, though the comical nature of that performance for the Foxes as a whole probably had something to do with it.
Kelechi Iheanacho: Mr. FA Cup struck again. Iheanacho’s habit of dominating the cup is becoming uncanny as he bagged himself another brace, making it nine goals in nine appearances in the competition. He once again displayed his prowess in front of goal with a low-curled strike from outside of the box to open his scoring on the day. His second came from a superb lunging effort with his weaker right foot after a flawless cross from Christian Fuchs. Iheanacho will be pushing for more playing time now that Islam Slimani is gone, so hopefully there are more performances like this in store.
Riyad Mahrez: Riyad. Oh Riyad. What a conundrum. On the one hand, he has been a loyal servant to the club, helped it to reach new heights, and was up-front with his desire to move on. On the other, he is under contract for two-and-a-half more years - and apparently didn’t bother to negotiate a buy-out clause - and his desired move didn’t become an option until the night before the deadline. This left City with no time to try and find a replacement, in addition to the fact that Manchester City’s offer was well below what the Foxes considered to be market value. Regardless of who you side with, this has left both the club and player in unenviable positions. Mahrez now faces the decision of whether to continue his alleged boycott (and sacrifice the accompanying salary) or return to the team and continue to push towards a move in the summer. Either way, the whole debacle has made his standing uneasy and tarnished the regard in which he is held by the club and many of its supporters.
Ben Chilwell: The young left-back has replaced Christian Fuchs as the first-choice at the position and done so with mostly positive results. Against Everton, however, he was disastrous. His howler of a giveaway made Everton’s opening goal about as easy as they come. He then proceeded to lose Theo Walcott at the far-post later in the same half, and allowed him to score their second goal. To make things worse, he completed just 57.5 percent of his passes in the match and was dispossessed on three separate occasions. Chilwell will want to forget this performance as soon as possible.
Matty James: He had played so well since his return. He was consistently calm and decisive with the ball at his feet, and kept things flowing. Unfortunately, Goodison Park appeared to get the best of him, as he seemed uncharacteristically out of sync. He was a relative non-factor in City’s attack, attempting less passes than his midfield counterpart Wilfred Ndidi who is usually more of a defensive presence. James was also late on a couple of challenges and did little to disrupt Everton’s attack. With Adrien Silva and Vicente Iborra waiting in the shadows, there won’t be much room for error for James if he hopes to keep his spot in the first-choice XI.