“Mahrez has to stay at the King Power” – Three things learnt from Leicester City 2-0 Brighton
Leicester City secured their first victory of the new Premier League season as goals from Shinji Okazaki and Harry Maguire proved enough to see off a dogged Brighton outfit at the King Power.
It took less than a minute for the hosts to breach Brighton’s defences, with Okazaki on hand to pounce on Riyad Mahrez’s parried shot and take his tally to two goals in as many league matches.
The visitors struggled to get a foothold in the match thereafter, with Glen Murray’s disallowed goal the closest they came to breaching Leicester’s back-line, and new boy Harry Maguire doubled the Foxes’ lead shortly after the break when he rose above Shane Duffy to meet Mahrez’s neat corner.
Craig Shakespeare’s side then safely saw out the closing half hour – if not for a minor injury scare concerning Jamie Vardy – as they condemned Brighton to their second successive top-flight defeat.
Mahrez shows his importance to the Foxes
Despite handing in a transfer request at the beginning of the summer, and all of the speculation of a move away, Riyad Mahrez is still turning up each week and putting in the effort.
He showed moments of brilliance against Arsenal and it took him less than a minute to have a defining impact against Brighton, producing one of his trademark jinking runs through the heart of the opposition defence before his fierce drive was parried into the welcoming path of Okazaki.
The visitors simply didn’t know how to contain him at times and, seeing the Algerian in form that mirrors his title-winning exploits, Leicester fans will be biting their nails until the 31 August comes.
He deservedly earnt himself another assist with a nicely-floated corner to the back post for Harry Maguire and provided some class and quality on the ball in an otherwise scrappy encounter.
Brighton may already be favourites for relegation
As much as the old cliché says that nobody can win the title in the first six games, nobody can be relegated in the first six too – but Brighton have shown they will be down there when May comes.
A tough opening day fixture with Manchester City was followed by a winnable match against Leicester City but the Seagulls didn’t do enough on the day, barely causing the hosts any problems in their own half.
Perhaps the most worrying thing for boss Chris Hughton is that it’s not clear where the goals are going to come from this season, managing just two shots on target – both from outside of the area.
A trip to League Two side Barnet in the EFL Cup this week might not be the worst thing for Brighton, who will look to gain a morale-boosting win, before another winnable trip to Watford next Saturday.
Vardy injury casts shadow over good day’s work
It was all relatively routine as far as Leicester City boss Craig Shakespeare was concerned heading towards the full-time whistle, with his side poised to pick up their first three points of the campaign.
But the afternoon turned sour relatively quickly as star man Jamie Vardy hobbled off the pitch following a 50/50 tackle with Brighton ‘keeper Matthew Ryan, injuring his ankle in the challenge.
The England international was undeniably the main bright spark during their 4-3 defeat to Arsenal last week and, although he struggled to make as much of an impact in a tepid match against the Seagulls on Saturday afternoon, he has started the campaign showing glimpses of being back at his brilliant best from 2015-16.
It seems that Shakespeare has finally got a neat 4-4-1-1 system going too, with Okazaki thriving in behind Vardy, and Leicester fans will pray that he’s fit enough for Manchester United next weekend.