Leicester 1 Swansea 1
Report by Chris Griffin
A turbulent week finished on a frustrating note for Leicester fans. Having dominated the first half Leicester should have sewn up the result by half-time after taking the lead in the 17th minute through Vardy. The second half began with a more front-foot Swansea and it was no surprise when they nicked an equalizer from a corner – yet another goal conceded from a set piece. Despite a spirited Leicester resurgence the Swansea back five stood firm and Leicester had to settle for a point.
Claude Puel made five changes bringing in Simpson, Fuchs, Silva, Iheanacho and Diabaté for his home debut. It was nearly a short-lived debut following Diabaté’s late challenge on Clucas: reckless rather than malicious but referee Taylor showed the newcomer a yellow card nevertheless.
City started really well playing from the back. There was plenty of crisp neat passing with Ndidi and Silva dominating midfield. Swansea scarcely made an attack and when out of possession immediately transferred to a solid 5-4-1. Nevertheless City’s pressing caused pressure and Swansea mistakes. Leicester took the lead after Maguire brought the ball over the halfway line and played a firm and accurate pass to Iheanacho. The young striker’s excellent first touch enabled him to spin past two defenders. Despite being closed down he played a delightful through ball to Vardy who gave Fabianski no chance.
Leicester kept pressing. A rare Swansea counter saw Ndidi make a superb tackle on ex-Fox Dyer who was about to shoot. Ndidi was having a storming first half and was the target for robust treatment from his opponents. Mr Taylor kept his cards in his pocket to the annoyance of the home fans.
Diabaté and Albrighton swapped wings and it was a rapid surge down the left from Diabaté which gave him the chance to let fly. Fabianski saved his powerful shot but the ball fell to Iheanacho whose firm left foot shot seemed goal-bound till Mawson blocked the effort on the line.
City kept pressing and the crowd celebrated what they thought was the second goal when Ndidi galloped into the box and beat Fabianski. The goal was chalked off because Diabaté had received the ball in an offside position several phases of play earlier. The referee allowed play to continue, not responding to his linesman’s flag. Eventually, after consultation, he ruled in favour of the offside decision: probably the right outcome but reached in a very roundabout way.
Swansea had a little more possession in the last few minutes of the first half. Carroll came on for the injured Fer (a ruptured Achilles according to later medical reports.) Carroll had a cohesive influence on Swansea’s play. Even so, the half finished with Leicester still threatening the away defence.
Conversation at half time was primarily about Mahrez and how the Swansea manager would be telling his team they were still in the game despite chasing the ball for 45 minutes. Sure enough Swansea came out in a more assertive mood, got amongst the City midfield and enjoyed more possession. City’s passing lost the crispness and accuracy so apparent in the first half.
Swansea equalized in the 53rd minute. Ndidi conceded an unnecessary free kick about 30 yards out. An inventive set piece move between Clucas and Sung-Yeung led to a corner. Sung-Yeung whipped it in and the City defence was static while Fernandez helped himself to the easiest of headers from within the six yard box.
Leicester responded well as the game became more open. An Albrighton free kick led to Maguire heading wide. Vardy broke down the right behind the Swansea defence but no one was on hand to take advantage of his centre. A thrilling move down the right again saw Vardy leaving his markers in his wake. His excellent cut back found Diabaté but the youngster’s left foot effort rolled past the post. Vardy then closed down an underhit back pass but Fabianski was alert to the danger.
With 20 minutes left Gray came on for Iheanacho and James for Silva. Swansea were back on the defensive but still made the occasional break. Dragovic had to be quick to deal with one threatening Clucas run. Meanwhile at the other end Gray shot over the bar from a Fuchs’ cross. Then Diabaté was clobbered (again no card.) Albrighton’s in-swinging free kick reached Maguire at the far post but the big centre half could not redirect the ball across the goal and his header went into the side-netting. Bony had come on for Dyer who was given a warm ovation from the Leicester fans. Not so good for Bony are after match medical reports which say he has ruptured a cruciate ligament.
City were having joy attacking down the right but too many crosses were meat and drink to the imposing van der Hoorn in the Swansea defence. Okazaki came on for Iheanacho with ten minutes left and immediately added his energy to the game with a probing run into the Swansea area but he was shepherded away from danger. Fuchs launched a series of long throws but the knock down or the second ball invariably fell to a Swansea player. Maguire headed one throw back across goal but Gray again shot over. City kept going forward but the subtlety of play required to unlock such a tight defence was not apparent. Wonder who on the club’s books could have provided that(?)
M. Puel succinctly shared his feelings: "I'm frustrated…it was a good game against a tough team and they defended very well. I don't think it is a fair result and we have lost two points…we had to score more in the first half. Congratulations to Swansea, but we deserved to win. We finished strong but we didn't get the result in the end."
Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson (Okazaki 80), Dragovic, Maguire, Fuchs, Diabaté, Ndidi, Silva (James 68), Albrighton, Iheanacho (Gray 68), Vardy. Substitutes: Chilwell, Hamer, Iborra, Benalouane.
Swansea: Fabianski, Naughton, van der Hoorn, Fernandez, Mawson, Olsson, Fer, (Carroll 36), Ki Sung-yueng, Clucas, Dyer (Bony 71), J Ayew (Routledge 90).
Substitutes: Abraham, Narsingh, Nordfeldt, Bartley.
Referee: A Taylor. Attendance: 31,179
The views expressed in this report are the opinions of the Trust member nominated to file the report only and do not represent the views of the Foxes Trust organisation