Late heroics from Riyad Mahrez somehow saw Leicester City to a draw against a mid-table Bournemouth side at the King Power.
With no win in their last four league games, Claude Puel shook up the starting lineup, switching to a 4-3-3 and bringing Adrien Silva into the fold. Leicester did look the better side in the opening 15 minutes, but struggled to create any clear-cut chances. Luckily, a misplaced pass from Bournemouth put Riyad Mahrez through on goal, only for the Algerian to inexplicably attempt a ridiculous chip on the outside of his left foot, rather than simply slotting in past the onrushing Asmir Begović.
Unfortunately the formation change was extremely short lived after Daniel Amartey went down with what looked to be a hamstring injury in the 17th minute. With Danny Simpson absent from the bench for reasons unknown, Leicester were forced into a back three, bringing on Ben Chilwell and having Marc Albrighton fill in as a makeshift right wing-back.
Unsurprisingly, the formation change only seemed to benefit Bournemouth, who immediately exploited Leicester’s shaky right hand side. First Josh King dispossessed Wilfred Ndidi in midfield and sent Bournemouth on the counter. With options on either side of him, he decided to have a shot at goal that was well wide.
Next it was Junior Stanislas’ turn to squander a great opportunity. After Albrighton was caught woefully out of position, Bournemouth were able to get in behind down the right and put in a the perfect cross to Stanislas, who completely scuffed his shot from 8 yards high and wide of Kasper Schmeichel’s goal.
The visitors did take the lead in the 35th minute after a ridiculous challenge from Albrighton took down King on the edge of the box. Despite the fact the Norwegian looked to be going away from goal, Albrighton went flying in from behind to gift Bournemouth a penalty, which King calmly slotted home to give the Cherries’ a 1-0 lead going into the break.
The second half didn’t look much better for the Foxes, who were lucky not to give away another penalty in the 54th minute, after Ndidi attempted an an NFL-style takedown on Charlie Daniels that somehow went unpunished by referee Lee Probert.
From there it was all Leicester, but the Foxes did absolutely nothing other than repeatedly miss-hit corners for the remainder of the half. It was absolutely woeful and the Foxes looked as though they’d be getting nothing from the game as the final minute of stoppage time rolled ‘round, only to earn a free-kick in a somewhat promising central position.
Mahrez stepped up to save Leicester yet again, swinging a delightful ball into the bottom corner (with some help from a Bournemouth wall that might as well have been turnstiles), to level the score at 1-1 and send the King Power into hysterics.
The point sees Leicester keep ahold of 8th place, and only three points behind Burnley. With a very winnable tie against bottom placed West Brom, the Europa League just might be back on the cards for Claude Puel’s side.