Leicester 3-0 Huddersfield: Slick Foxes sees off visitors while Adrien Silva debuts
By Charlotte Marsh
Last Updated: 01/01/18 11:59pm
A slick second half performance from Leicester saw them beat Huddersfield 3-0 on New Year's Day, which also marked the long-awaited debut of Adrien Silva.
After a goalless opening half, it took Riyad Mahrez (53) just seven minutes of the second to net the opener before Islam Slimani (59) chipped home over Hudderfield goalkeeper Jonas Lossl.
Silva, who was officially registered by Leicester on January 1 and given permission to be included in the matchday 18 by the Premier League, came on for his debut in the 86th minute before Marc Albrighton (90+2) rounded off the scoring late on.
Leicester: Schmeichel (6), Morgan (n/a), Maguire (7), Fuchs (7), Amartey (7), Albrighton (7), Okazaki (7), James (7), Ndidi (7), Mahrez (8), Slimani (8).
Subs used: Dragovic (6), Gray (6), Silva (n/a).
Huddersfield: Lossl (6), Smith (6), Lowe (6), Jorgensen (5), Schindler (7), Mooy (6), Van La Parra (5), Lolley (6), Williams (6), Ince (5), Mounie (5).
Subs used: Quaner (5), Malone (5), Depoitre (n/a).
Man of the match: Islam Slimani.
Leicester have ended a run of five league games without a win although they remain in 8th spot, while Huddersfield are now winless in four matches but stay in 11th place.
Both sides could have nicked an early goal, with Chris Lowe fizzing a shot towards goal in the second minute, but it ended up straight in the hands of Kasper Schmeichel. Slimani then headed a curling Christian Fuchs cross just over the crossbar, but the offside flag was already raised.
Leicester were forced into an early first half change after Wes Morgan injured himself when tackling Steve Mounie at full stretch. He was replaced in the 28th minute by Aleksander Dragovic, with Schmeichel taking the captain's armband.
Leicester made three changes with Shinji Okazaki, Matty James and Islam Slimani coming into the XI. Jamie Vardy was out injured and Adrien Silva started on the bench. For Huddersfield, they switched five players with Tommy Smith, Chris Lowe, Danny Williams, Joe Lolley and Steve Mounie coming into the side.
Chances were at a premium for much of the first half, but the hosts went close again in the 34th minute. Fuchs delivered a long throw into the box but Harry Maguire was unable to see off three Huddersfield defender to head home. The rebound fell to Wilfred Ndidi at the top of the area, but he could only strike past the post.
But Leicester turned on the magic after the break, and Mahrez opened the scoring in the 53rd minute. Another throw in from Fuchs caused problem for Huddersfield who failed to clear it properly, allowing Albrighton to hook the ball back into the box. It landed to Mahrez near the back post, who hit the ball first time to see it hammer into the bottom left corner.
Six minutes later and it was another fine goal from the Foxes with the two Algerian internationals linking up. Mahrez released Slimani into the box, with the striker racing onto the ball and going one-on-one with Lossl before superbly chipping over the Huddersfield stopper to double Leicester's lead.
Ndidi could have added the third in the 83rd minute but his bullet header could only rattle the woodwork, and it was three minutes later when Silva made his debut as he replaced Matty James with the fans singing his name for the remainder of the game.
They were given even more to cheer about in the second minute of injury time as Albrighton slotted home Leicester's third. After some great work from Slimani in the middle of the park to pick out Demarai Gray on the right of the box, the latter flashed the ball across the face of goal for Albrighton at the back post and he duly slotted home to start 2018 in winning fashion for the Foxes.
- Riyad Mahrez has both scored and assisted in the same league game for the first time since February 2016 against Manchester City.
- Leicester are now unbeaten in 14 Premier League home games against newly-promoted opposition (W9 D5 L0) since losing 0-5 to Bolton Wanderers in August 2001.
- Marc Albrighton now has five assists in his last nine league games for Leicester - this after going 12 games without setting up a teammate prior to this run.
- Huddersfield have now failed to find the net in eight of their 11 away fixtures in the Premier League - no side has failed to score more often on the road this season than they have (Brighton and Crystal Palace also on 8).
Claude Puel: "It was a tough game against a good team with quality, a strong defensive unit and good structure. They have good players and tried to play good football but we started very well with a good attitude with quality on the pitch.
"Perhaps in the last 15 minutes before half-time, it was not enough for us but we came back in the second half with a positive outlook and it was a good feeling because I think all the players enjoyed the game with three fantastic goals. It is a good reward for the team and our fans too."
David Wagner: "I think now we are experienced enough, we've played 22 games in the Premier League, we know what it's all about. Small margins decide the games and today, in the first half, we had the best opportunity of the game, we missed it.
"In the second half, we gave the goal away much too easily and this cannot happen at this level. It will cost you, and today, it was us. We have to accept it but we have to try again in the next game."
Paul Walsh: "The first half was a disappointment from both sides, it was very scrappy with both sides giving the ball away. Leicester moved the ball with a lot more purpose in the second half but even so the goal came out of nothing and it's a great finish. That settled Leicester down and from there he started to play, Mahrez started to play, Albrighton became more prominent.
"Puel will be delighted with the performance. I couldn't really work out what the plan was from Huddersfield's point of view, but it was a comfortable victory for Leicester."
Man of the match - Islam Slimani
Usually playing second fiddle to Jamie Vardy - who was injured - Slimani certainly staked a claim for a more regular starting place.
His work rate was second to none, often using his strength to beat the Huddersfield defence, and he linked up superbly with fellow Algerian Mahrez throughout the game as the latter assisted Slimani for his well-taken goal.
His performance meant the fans were singing his name throughout the second half in appreciation - only Silva received more attention on his debut - with the new year starting brightly for the striker. Now is his chance to keep the momentum going.
Both sides are in FA Cup action on Saturday, with Leicester travelling to Fleetwood - the former side of Foxes striker Jamie Vardy - while Huddersfield will visit Sky Bet League One side Bolton.