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Three talking points as managerless Leicester battled to three points at Swansea

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Leicester City began life after Craig Shakespeare with a welcome win as they proved to have too much for Swansea City and condemned Paul Clement’s side to a fourth home defeat of the season.

Shakespeare was given his marching orders following Leicester’s drab 1-1 draw with West Brom on Monday night but they showed no signs of mourning as they thoroughly outplayed their Welsh opponents.

Swansea were indebted to Lukasz Fabianski for keeping Leicester out early on, making a string of critical saves from Shinji Okazaki, Marc Albrighton and Jamie Vardy. However, his solo resolve came to a somewhat inevitable end before the break when Federico Fernandez inadvertently headed into his own net.

The visitors then doubled their lead four minutes into the second-half, turning their dominance into a second when Okazaki finished off a Leicester counter-attack with a close-range effort beyond Fabianksi.

Alfie Mawson pulled one back for the Swans when he hooked in but the hosts never looked like threatening Leicester’s lead further, and the Foxes held on for just their second win of the season.

Lightning strikes twice for managerless Leicester

It may be coming up to Halloween, but there is an eerie sense of déjà vu around Leicester City as, almost eight months after Craig Shakespeare started his reign as caretaker manager with a desperately needed win over Liverpool, Michael Appleton began his turn in the caretaker role with three points.

The dismissal of Claudio Ranieri sparked a drastic turnaround in Leicester’s fortunes back in late February, with the Foxes embarking on a run of five successive wins in Shakespeare’s opening five games in charge.

Appleton couldn’t have got off to a better start on Saturday, with the ex-Oxford United boss leading his side to an impressive three points with a performance that was a far cry from Monday’s stalemate.

On that occasion, the Foxes were dull, toothless and largely uninspiring. However, against Swansea, they seemed a livelier outfit and had a better tempo to their play, able to carve the hosts apart with regularity.

With struggling Everton and Stoke City to come over the next two Premier League matches there is a genuine chance that Appleton can start his caretaker role with a rousing run reminiscent of his predecessor – even if he remains coy on the prospect of being Leicester’s next manager.

Swansea home form causing concern

Paul Clement would have seen Saturday as a very winnable fixture prior to kick-off, with Leicester arriving on the back of a tough week behind the scenes and devoid of confidence after a poor start to the new season.

But it transpired into an all-too-familiar afternoon at the Liberty Stadium as they fell to a fourth home league defeat this season, leaving them above the relegation spots by virtue of goal difference alone.

Their home form has been the source of much frustration this year, already falling to defeat to Manchester United, Newcastle, Watford, and now Leicester, with the latter three games being ones that boss Clement would have seen as a potential three points had his side applied themselves right.

The worrying thing for Swansea is that they never looked like getting anything from the game against Leicester – you can argue that the score-line flattered the home side too – and if they had managed to steal a result then there would have been a huge sense of injustice after a poor team display.

Last season it was Swansea’s home form that salvaged their Premier League status, claiming 27 of their 41 points at the Liberty, and they need to re-find this level of form if the Swans want to stay out of trouble.

Riyad Mahrez starting to pick up form once again

It is no secret that when Riyad Mahrez plays well, Leicester play well.

He was the main architect of their title triumph and, since then, Leicester’s best results have come when their Algerian has been pulling the strings – although this has been too sparse in recent times.

Yet, after popping up with a critical equaliser – and his first Premier League goal of the season – on Monday against West Brom, he was at his scintillating best against Swansea as he ran them ragged.

He was given plenty of the ball by his teammates and he thrived on it, looking to run directly at a retreating Swansea defence time and time again, and it is no surprise he created both of their goals.

It was clear to see that the confidence was coursing through his veins again, and there was one vintage Mahrez moment during the second-half where he brought down a high-ball with the deftest of touches before, in the same motion, he turned a Swansea City defender and left him flat on the floor.

It is these sort of audacious moments that the 26-year-old should be producing week-in, week-out such is his raw potential, and Leicester will hope that Saturday was just the beginning of his revival.

Will is a Multimedia Journalism graduate from the University of Salford, specialising in the art of sports. Long-time suffering Northampton Town fan who once saw us win a league title. Find him on Twitter - @96PearsonW.

Leicester City

Tottenham should elevate reported interest in Leicester City protege Demari Gray

The 21-year-old could become a superstar if nurtured properly.

Jamie Watts

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Tottenham Hotspur were reportedly interested in the possibility of signing Leicester City‘s attacking protege Demari Gray a few months back, according to reports from ESPN. And after a fruitless period in the search for attacking reinforcements, Mauricio Pochettino should revive his interest in sorting a deal.

Gray contributed four goals and three assists in 30 Premier League appearances last term, and is currently the captain of the England U21 squad. But he is likely to evaluate his future with the Foxes this summer, due to his lack of regular game-time. And Tottenham seems a great fit for the winger.

Photo: Getty Images

Spurs have pursued multiple attacking targets since the window commenced, without gathering any real traction on any of their targets, and it seems Pochettino – for once – is more concerned with making a marquee signing, than bringing in a player with the scope to develop and grow into a top player at White Hart Lane.

Talks for Anthony Martial, Christian Pulisic and Ivan Perisic have all stalled in recent times, and a move for the Leicester City man could be just the ticket for Spurs. He brings all the attributes they’re currently looking for; blistering pace, exceptional balance, end product, a cool head and notably the ability to hit an absolute cracker if awarded space.

If he reaches his peak under the guidance of Pochettino, which is more likely than not given his immense talent, the player could double in market-value and could become a key player for the Lilywhites for years to come.

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Celtic

Celtic boost as Leicester City pull out of race for Patrick Roberts

The winger could stay at Parkhead beyond the summer, after the latest events.

Jamie Watts

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Celtic have revived hope in the possibility of signing Patrick Roberts once again, after Leicester City pull out of negotiations for the forward, according to the Daily Mirror.

The winger looked set to depart Parkhead, come the end of his loan, as part of an exchange deal with Premier League champions Manchester City for Leicester City superstar Riyad Mahrez, but the report claims the Foxes have ended negotiations with City.

James Maddison has been confirmed at the King Power Stadium on a five-year deal today, via the official club website, effectively ending their interest in Roberts, as the two operate in similar areas.


The news will have come as a surprise to fans of the Scottish champions, as Brendan Rodgers was all but resigned to the prospect of Roberts leaving this summer. But it now looks as though he could be spending a third-consecutive season in Glasgow.

The 21-year-old is unlikely to be made a permanent addition this summer, with the Leicester Mercury reporting that the player is currently valued at £15 million, which, without serious out-goings isn’t a realistic prospect for the Bhoys.

Photo: Getty Images

Rodgers will now hope he can convince Roberts to stay beyond the summer on loan, to remain as a key-part of the outfit as they begin their title defence. And the Manchester City man may have to accept if alternate suitors fail to make enquiries and he wishes to continue playing regularly.

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Leicester City

Forgotten Leicester City man Yohan Benalouane will hope to keep England at bay this evening

The 31-year-old Leicester defender will hope to start for Tunisia.

Mathew Nash

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England take on Tunisia this evening in their opening World Cup fixture. Whilst not many names on The Eagles of Carthage team-sheet will ring a bell there are some familiar faces. Sunderland fans will know all too well the talents of attacker Wahbi Khazri, who still remains a Black Cat.

Leicester City fans will, however, be forgiven for forgetting that one of the Tunisia players is still at the King Power. Yohan Benalouane will be hoping to make just his fifth appearance for the Tunisia national team against England this evening.

Born in France the 31-year-old had been called up by Tunisia two times previously. However, his form at Parma and Atalanta saw him on the cusp of a French call-up and he always turned down the nation of his heritage. Until March, when he finally decided to accept the call and become a Tunisian international.

Now he is fighting for his place in the starting XI, something he is used to with Leicester.

Signed from Atalanta in a deal rumoured to be worth £5.6 million he arrived on the same day as N’Golo Kante. Whilst the latter went on to help Leicester claim the title, the Tunisian has had a far less impressive run with the Foxes.

(Photo credit should read VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images)

He barely featured in Leicester’s title-winning campaign, spending an unsuccessful spell on loan at Fiorentina in the second half of the campaign. His game time was so minimal he did not receive a winner’s medal.

The following season he was initially not given a squad number but he was brought in from the cold by new manager Craig Shakespeare.

But this season has again been a struggle for Benalouane. He played just one game in the Premier League last season, a 2-0 loss against West Ham in May.

Tonight his place in the starting XI, much like his Foxes team-mates and England stars Harry Maguire and Jamie Vardy, is up for debate. But he will be chomping at the bit to keep England quiet and prove a point to his parent club Leicester ahead of another season at the King Power.

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