Going into the game against Swansea City on Saturday afternoon, most supporters were hoping for big performances in hopefully the Foxes’ first win of the season.
Having lost at Hull City on the opening weekend and toiling to a 0-0 draw with Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal at the King Power Stadium last time out, the pressure was on Claudio Ranieri’s troops to notch their first three points of the new campaign against Francesco Guidolin’s side.
Thankfully, goals from Jamie Vardy and Wes Morgan were enough to see the East-Midlanders over the line, despite a late surge from the Welsh side. However, who did enough to be named man of the match as the champions finally got their new campaign up and running?
Kasper Schmeichel – 7/10: Regardless of cruelly being struck-down by injury mid-way through the second period (which was then revealed to be a hernia problem), the Danish No. 1 still had a respectable game. Albeit not tested all that much, the former Manchester City stopper managed to make some good, solid saves from efforts from the likes of Gylfi Sigurdsson and Wayne Routledge.
Nonetheless, could have cost his team with some wayward kicking but did manage to recover well when presenting a chance to Fernando Llorente with a poor goal-kick.
Danny Simpson – 7/10: A very accomplished display from the Englishman. Having to face the pace and direct threat from the likes of Wayne Routledge and Jefferson Montero is not an easy task by any means but the ex-Newcastle United defender did it comfortably. Had it not been for the interventions of Simpson, particularly an important interception and following clearance at the back-post with Llorente lurking for a tap-in, the Foxes may not have held out for the win.
Wes Morgan – 8/10: A real captain’s performance from the Jamaican international. Impressively dealing with the aerial threat of Fernando Llorente extremely well, the Foxes’ skipper was a dominant force at the back throughout the 90 minutes.
Another real positive was the 32-year-old’s influence in an attacking sense as well. A menace at corners, the former Nottingham Forest defender showed the reaction time and finishing ability of a cultured striker to spear the ball home and double his sides’ lead early in the second period. However, may have felt he could have done better in marking Leroy Fer for the visitors’ goal.
Robert Huth – 7/10: As with his defensive partner, the big German put in an impressive display against the Swans. Continuing his fantastic partnership with the aforementioned Morgan, the three-times Premier League winner continues to show why the Foxes conceded so little last season. Always utilising his great strength and understanding of the game, he was a great influence at the back.
May have felt a little unfortunate not to have earnt a penalty after being hauled down in the box by Jordi Amat and Federico Fernandez.
Christian Fuchs – 7/10: Another strong performance from the former Austria captain. Not quite reached the heights of last season but the 30-year-old still looks as reliable as ever in the left-back position. Keeping the considerable talent of Modou Barrow quiet is not a straight-forward assignment by any means but he coped well. On the other hand, he could take some responsibility for Leroy Fer’s goal thanks to a poor clearance but that is really clutching at straws.
Marc Albrighton – 6/10: Not as proficient going forwards as most fans have got used to seeing from the former Aston Villa wide-man but a valuable defensive performance nonetheless. Powering up and down the right-flank, the energy of Albrighton was key to the Foxes’ win. However, various over-hit crosses were a theme of the Englishman’s play at times. Was eventually substituted for Ahmed Musa.
Danny Drinkwater – 8/10: Judging from this performance, it’s no surprise that Drinkwater has been included in Sam Allardyce’s first England squad. A truly fantastic display from the ex-Manchester United midfielder. Not to mention his unbelievable pass for Jamie Vardy’s opening goal, he was constantly displaying his willingness to run beyond attackers, strong tackling and range of pass. An extremely impressive performance considering the treacherous conditions.
Daniel Amartey – 8/10: What a display from the Ghana international. Coming in for the injured Nampalys Mendy, the January signing seamlessly slotted into the side. With his physical presence, the 21-year-old was able to put in plenty of strong tackles, winning the ball back on numerous occasions.
Also looking forward once he had regained possession for his side, he provoked memories of the departed N’Golo Kante. Played a key role in the Foxes’ opener by winning the ball from Wayne Routledge near his own goal.
Riyad Mahrez – 6/10: A disappointing but not disastrous performance from the Algerian. Was still trying those trademark tricks and flicks throughout the game but did not light-up the match as expected. The PFA Player of the Year just seemed to hold on to the ball too often and at times was non-decisive. An under-par afternoon was topped off by a poor penalty which was comfortably saved by Lukasz Fabianski.
Shinji Okazaki – 8/10: The one question that most have at the end of this performance is: how much energy does the Japanese international have? Constantly pressing and harrying the Swansea defence all afternoon, the former Mainz 05 striker was a thorn in the visitors’ side. Also using his considerable physical presence to win the ball back both in the air and on the floor, he proved to be a fantastic outlet for the Premier League champions.
He may have felt unlucky not to have scored with a wicked shot from distance that was only just parried away from the top corner. A great afternoon was concluded with him winning his side’s penalty.
Jamie Vardy – 7/10: Still not quite at top-form but finally back on the score-sheet in the league. Latching onto a trademark Drinkwater pass over-the-top, the England international was impressively able to strike the ball home of the near-post. Utilising his terrifying pace all afternoon, Swansea were always under pressure in defence. May need to work slightly more on his fitness before he is firing on all cylinders yet again.
Ron-Robert Zieler – 7/10: Replacing the injured Kasper Schmeichel, the World Cup-winning stopper was thrown in right at the deep end. The German may not yet have the full confidence and understanding in relation to his back-four but still not too many problems to report.
As a matter of fact, one aspect of his game that impressed fans most was his kicking. Being able to find distance as well as accuracy, this may be a potent weapon that Ranieri may look to utilise in the future. Wasn’t left with much of a chance with Fer’s headed goal.
Ahmed Musa – 6/10: After starting in the Foxes’ opening match of the new season, the Nigerian has been introduced from the bench in his two succeeding appearances and has impressed. Replacing Albrighton on the wing, he utilised his jaw-dropping pace to probe the Swansea defence. Wasted a glorious chance right at the death to notch his first Leicester goal when one-on-one with Lukasz Fabianski.
Leonardo Ulloa – 5/10: Yet again the Argentine was only afforded a few minutes by Claudio Ranieri and in honesty, failed to make much of an impact in an attacking sense. Did however do well to hold the ball in the closing stages to make sure of the win for the Premier League champions.