Leicester held at home by Swansea with Mahrez still missing
Federico Fernandez cancelled out Jamie Vardy’s opening goal.
Swansea’s resurgence continued as they climbed out of the Premier League relegation zone with a 1-1 draw at Leicester, who were again without wantaway midfielder Riyad Mahrez.
All the pre-match talk was about the AWOL Algerian, who has not been seen by the club since his proposed move to Manchester City collapsed on Wednesday.
Mahrez unexpectedly missed the defeat at Everton that night and has not been at training subsequently, although his absence on Saturday was anticipated as Leicester boss Claude Puel allowed the former PFA Player of the year time to “clear his head.”
It looked like he might not be missed as Leicester played some lovely football during the first half and took the lead after 17 minutes through Jamie Vardy.
However, after Federico Fernandez headed Swansea level early in the second half, Leicester lacked the guile and craft so often provided by Mahrez to respond and had to settle for a point.
The opening goal came out of the blue. There looked to be little danger with Harry Maguire surveying the scene with the ball at his feet on the halfway line. But when he fizzed a pass into Kelechi Iheanacho, who had found space between the lines, Swansea were in trouble.
Iheanacho had time to turn and and jink his way towards the penalty area before a loose touch saw the ball run perfectly into the path of Vardy who bent his right-foot finish around Lukasz Fabianski.
Leicester’s tails were up and they nearly extended their lead. Fousseni Diabate’s driven shot was pushed out by Fabianski and Iheanacho’s follow-up was blocked on the line by the chest of Alfie Mawson.
Some of the hosts’ approach play was a joy to watch during the first half and another neat move culminated with Wilfred Ndidi putting the ball in the net but the flag was up for offside.
Swansea’s first meaningful effort on goal ended up in the back of Leicester’s net as the unmarked Fernandez headed in Ki Sung-yueng’s corner from seven yards out.
Leicester had been on the back foot since the break but went close to restoring their lead just after the hour mark. Vardy raced clear down the right and his cut-back was steered narrowly wide by Diabate.
Substitute Demarai Gray guided a volley over the crossbar from 10 yards out and Maguire sent a header into the side-netting but Swansea were largely comfortable in holding in to the point they had, leaving Leicester’s fans to ponder whether Mahrez might have made the difference.