Wednesday 16 December 2015 15:23, UK
Riyad Mahrez turned in another man-of-the-match performance in Leicester’s 2-1 win over Chelsea on Monday Night Football.
Mahrez laid on the opening goal for Premier League top scorer Jamie Vardy, before scoring a superb second himself to take Leicester back to the top of the table.
As well as his goals, there was all the usual trickery to enjoy, with the bargain buy from Le Havre nutmegging Eden Hazard and Ramires in a scintillating display.
Leicester moved back to the top of the Premier League with a stunning 2-1 victory over Chelsea.
But, while Mahrez has become the Premier League's great entertainer, he also has the numbers to back up his case for being the country's outstanding performer.
Here are just some of the ways in which the Algeria international has starred this season…
Vardy leads the way following his record-breaking run and Romelu Lukaku is on a sequence of seven consecutive games with a goal too, but Mahrez is not far behind. The 24-year-old took his tally for the season to 11 by scoring the second goal of the night at the King Power Stadium on Monday.
It represents an extraordinary progression for Mahrez given that he averaged a goal every 10 appearances for Le Havre in the French second tier, and had scored at a rate of one goal every seven games for Leicester prior to this season.
As well as being a scoring sensation himself, Mahrez has succeeded in providing a number of goals for his team-mates. Vardy has been the recipient of four assists courtesy of the winger, who, in total, has seven assists this season. That's second only to the acclaimed assist king himself, Mesut Ozil.
They've been crucial too. Mahrez provided the assist for Nathan Dyer's late winner in the comeback against Aston Villa and Vardy's stoppage-time equaliser at Southampton. He also set up Vardy for the equaliser at Stoke and the winner against Crystal Palace. He's been the difference maker.
It's not been a fluke of fine finishing that's bolstered Mahrez's number of assists either. He ranks among the top 10 in the Premier League for chances created this season. But the better indicator of his creativity comes from the number of clear-cut chances that he's carved out.
Jamie Carragher says he still cannot see Leicester winning the Premier League.
Opta defines a big chance as one where a player might reasonably be expected to score, either a one-on-one or an opening from very close range. When it comes to such chances, only Ozil can compete. Mahrez has created 12 of them. Ozil aside, no other player has created more than seven.
|Player||Team||Big chances created|
Much of Mahrez's ability to cut through defences is as a result of his outrageous dribbling skills. Cesar Azpilicueta had no answer on Monday night, seemingly unsure when Mahrez was going to check, cross or shoot. In truth, few have been able to deal with him all season.
Mahrez has completed 54 dribbles, more than any other Premier League player. His closest rival is Wilfried Zaha, but the Crystal Palace winger's dribble success rate is down at 46 per cent compared to Mahrez's rate of 57 per cent. He's overtaken Eden Hazard as the country's best dribbler.
|Wilfried Zaha||Crystal Palace||51|
These numbers offer just a taster of Mahrez's season so far. He's also among the top dozen crossers in the Premier League and boasts a superior shooting accuracy to all of his rivals for the Golden Boot.
Vardy may be the man leading that race at the moment and Ozil tops the assist charts, but when it comes to the numbers game, Mahrez is the great all-rounder. And for all the stats, nothing beats the sheer joy of watching him in action.