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Leicester City Show Arsenal How Its Done


RiyadToo many positives to list, including a precious clean sheet. Leicester were disciplined, gritty and hungry. They stuck to their game plan perfectly. Robert Huth and Wes Morgan were colossal at the back and the latter even popped up with a poacher’s goal. Marc Albrighton and Riyad Mahrez were as good defensively as they were in attack, Jamie Vardy and Shinji Okazaki ran their socks off and the fans turned the King Power Stadium into a caldron.

Vardy missed three chances he would have buried last season, but it would be harsh to focus on what he or anyone else did wrong on one of the most glorious nights in Leicester’s 133-year history.

Craig Shakespeare marked his first game in permanent charge with a phenomenal victory and still hasn’t lost when in the dugout as a No. 1. It was the correct call to pick the same starting XI for the third match running. The decision to persist with Okazaki paid off and the boss also brought on Islam Slimani for the Japan striker instead of a defensive midfielder for the last 25 minutes. That was a pretty bold move, but the right one and helped the Foxes see out the game.

GK Kasper Schmeichel, 10 — Was slightly rash in giving away the penalty, but still gets top marks. Made a string of vital saves, including Steven N’Zonzi’s dreadful spot kick.

DF Danny Simpson, 9 — Was probably Leicester’s least busy defender, but looked assured with every touch. Refused to get sucked too wide, unlike in the first leg, offering protection to Huth and Morgan.

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DF Robert Huth, 9 — Was back to the Huth of old. A commanding presence at the back winning just about every header in the box.

DF Wes Morgan, 10 — Was phenomenal, plain and simple. Showed excellent striker-like instincts to prod home the opener and like Huth was towering at the back.

DF Christian Fuchs, 9 — Dealt really well with the threat of Samir Nasir before the Manchester City loanee was so foolishly sent off. His long throw caused problems in the first half, too.

MF Marc Albrighton, 10 — Drilled in his goal with aplomb and took on a very selfless (and largely defensive) role for the team. His celebration, running half the length of the field, was also memorable.

MF Danny Drinkwater, 9 — Was quiet but effective, stopping Sevilla from having any time in the centre of the park. Pressed superbly and maintained his energy levels for the full 90 minutes.

MF Wilfred Ndidi, 9 — Put in an N’Golo Kante-like performance, aside from a few dicey challenges. Has slotted into the team seamlessly and gets better with every game.

MF Riyad Mahrez, 10 — Top drawer from the get go. Got the assist for Morgan’s opener and should have had a second when he unselfishly laid on Vardy, only to see the England striker spurn a sitter.

FW Shinji Okazaki, 9 — Had a typical Okazaki display and one that inevitably ended early due to fatigue. Rightly got a standing ovation.

FW Jamie Vardy, 8 — Produced what was probably his most significant impact when goading Nasri into getting sent off. Lost his cool at times and could have had a hat trick, but his effort and intrepidness can’t be faulted, which is why the misses should not be overblown. Had Leicester gone out we might be talking more about them, though.

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MF Daniel Amartey, N/R — Came on for Mahrez late on when the latter could barely walk, let alone run. Didn’t really have time to make an impact, but nonetheless helped see the game out.

FW Islam Slimani, 8 — Held the ball up well and proved a threat in front of goal as City looked to knick a third on the counter-attack. Great to see Leicester’s record signing back in action.