Leicester City 4-0 Swansea City: Mahrez, Ulloa move Foxes eight points clear
Well, it turns out Leicester City isn’t a one-man team. Not that there was any doubt.
Without Jamie Vardy, the Foxes grabbed a pair of goals from his replacement Leonardo Ulloa and another from Riyad Mahrez as they stormed Swansea City 3-0 at the King Power Stadium to move eight points ahead of Tottenham at the top of the table.
The game took some time to build off the opening whistle, but a cataclysmic moment for Swansea was all Leicester needed to move in front. Mahrez stole a horrible Ashley Williams pass in the Swansea defensive third, and the Foxes went in front as Mahrez slotted it into the bottom corner for a 1-0 lead.
It was a disastrous moment for Swansea, who have relied on Williams for years as their defensive rock, but his lumped ball struck Mahrez in the torso, and the Leicester attacker was able to settle and do the rest.
28 - Riyad Mahrez has been involved in a joint-high 28 PL goals this season (17 goals, 11 assists), level with Jamie Vardy. Dreamers.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 24, 2016
As Leicester maintained possession while holding the lead, the King Power Stadium was absolutely exploding with noise. Leicester City got a second on the half-hour mark as captain Wes Morgan won a free-kick on the left flank, and the free-kick by Daniel Drinkwater met Leonardo Ulloa’s head, and the man in place of Jamie Vardy scored.
The move was all made possible by a mind-boggling run from Swansea defender Federico Fernandez, who ran around the back of the pack and played three Foxes onside as Drinkwater sent in the ball. Had he stood his ground, the flag would have gone up.
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Swansea moved into the ascendency as Leicester hoped to hold at 2-0 until halftime. Gylfi Sigurdsson took a free-kick from straight on with less than five minutes to the break, and his swerving, bouncing effort was turned aside by Kasper Schmeichel.
Leicester wrapped it up in the 60th minute as Schmeichel distributed to Jeffrey Schlupp down the left. Schlupp took Fernandez to school, freeing him to go for goal. He looked to find Ulloa streaking down the other end of the box, and while his first attempt at a cross was blocked, Schlupp worked to get it back, and Ulloa tapped it in with a slide to the post.
For posterity, the Foxes grabbed one more with five minutes to go as substitute Marc Albrighton finished a selfless bit of play by fellow substitutes Demarai Gray and Andy King. Gray found King at the far post with a lofted cross, and while King’s header back in front of net for Albrighton missed its target, it fell back to Schlupp. His initial effort rebounded to Albrighton who crashed home Leicester’s fourth.
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The only worry for Leicester in the match would be the end of Ulloa’s day, which came early due to what appeared to be a back problem. He was substituted off in the 79th minute in clear pain, and should Vardy find himself suspended extra matches, it could leave Claudio Ranieri with a lack of strikers.
All in all, it was a stunning response by Leicester to the draw last time out, and the Foxes moved a whopping eight points clear of Tottenham, although Spurs have a game in hand. The magic number for Leicester City is now five, meaning a combination of five points for Leicester and dropped by Spurs would officially hand the Foxes the title.
Swansea, meanwhile, has little to play for, already safe on 40 points in 14th position but without another target to aim at.