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Riyad Mahrez v Ashley Young: The key battle in Leicester v Man Utd
Last Updated: 23/12/17 11:54am
We take a look at why Riyad Mahrez's clash with Ashley Young could decide Leicester's Sky Live game against Manchester United on Saturday...
Mahrez has an impressive strike rate of late, scoring six goals in his last 13 appearances in all competitions, compared to just three goals in his previous 36 Leicester appearances.
He has already been involved in as many goals this season as in the whole of last season; his nine goal involvements in the Premier League the most of any Leicester player this campaign. His five Premier League goals have been worth an extra six points to his side.
The figures below show his improvement this season compared to last.
|Last season||This season|
|315||Mins per goal involvement||160|
|7.9%||Shot conversion rate||13.1%|
The 2015/16 PFA Player of the Year will be looking to reach his figures of 28 goal involvements in Leicester's title-winning season with 17 goals and 11 assists.
The 26-year-old has an impressive conversion rate from long-range in recent weeks, scoring three goals from his last eight shots from outside the box. He has three goals from outside the box in his last five Premier League appearances. Prior to this he had scored four goals from outside the box in his previous 116 Premier League games. Of his attempts on goal this season, 50 per cent have been long range (19 of 38).
Young will need to be wary that four of Mahrez's last five goals in all competitions have come from when he has cut inside and shot from outside the box. Only Kevin De Bruyne has scored more goals from outside the box this season.
It is not only Mahrez's long-range efforts that has caught the eye. The stats below show just how important he has been to Leicester this term.
|Premier League 2017/18||Total||Leicester ranking|
|Touches in opposition box||54||2nd|
No Leicester player has recorded more assists, had more shots, or dribbled more than Mahrez this season. Only Wilfried Zaha and Eden Hazard have attempted more dribbles than him in the Premier League.
Mahrez's shot conversion rate this season has risen from five per cent prior to Claude Puel's arrival to 21 per cent under the Frenchman. One stat the Algerian will be looking to improve upon, though, will be that he has not scored or won in six games against Manchester United.
Young has been a permanent fixture for Jose Mourinho's side in the last three months, starting 13 of their last 14 Premier League games - mostly at left-back. This is his seventh season at Old Trafford but he has never started more League games by Christmas for the club.
The 32-year-old has started only 54 per cent of United's Premier League games since joining from Aston Villa for £16m in 2011. He is set to start up against Mahrez for only a second time, with the first occasion coming in Leicester's 1-1 draw at the King Power Stadium in November 2015.
Young was playing left wing-back that day and was booked for a foul on Mahrez within 14 minutes. This was the game where Jamie Vardy scored for a record 11th successive Premier League game.
Young's all-round game has been key to United's form in the last three months, with him appearing in the top two in the categories below.
|Since Sep 17th||Total||Man Utd ranking|
|Passes into final third||107||2nd|
He has also weighed in with two goals and three assists this season. His two goals at Watford last month were his first goals for 18 months and was his first league double since March 2012.
His performances have earned him a first England cap in four years, coming on as substitute in the goalless draw against Brazil at Wembley last month. He must now be coming into Gareth Southgate's thinking for next summer's World Cup if the stats below are anything to go by.
England full-back comparison
|Dribble success rate||59%||35%||42%||12%|
However, Young's consistent performances will certainly be put to the test when he faces up to the tricky Mahrez on Saturday.
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