Leicester City vs Brighton & Hove Albion

vs
August 19, 2017
Score: 2 - 0

Match Report

Harry Maguire scored his first Leicester goal as the Foxes eased to a first win of the season against a timid Brighton side in a scrappy affair at King Power Stadium.

The hosts led inside a minute when Shinji Okazaki tapped in after new Seagulls goalkeeper Mathew Ryan spilled a low effort from the impressive Riyad Mahrez.

Brighton’s Glenn Murray had a goal disallowed for offside before the break but, in truth, the newly promoted side offered little threat as they fell to a second successive defeat in the top tier.

Maguire – who saw more of the ball than any Leicester player – rose at the back post to head in a Mahrez corner after the break, effectively ending the contest and ensuring the Foxes responded from last week’s 4-3 defeat at Arsenal.

Craig Shakespeare’s side produced an efficient display without ever seeming to build relentless pressure, but their day was soured a little in injury time when Jamie Vardy was forced to hobble off after contesting a 50-50 ball with Ryan.

Vardy proved a willing runner throughout and had a fine chance of his own in the opening period but failed to make a solid connection after Okazaki had pulled the ball back to him about 10 yards out.

Okazaki looked lively early on, dropping in behind Vardy with both sides playing 4-4-1-1, and he found himself perfectly placed when Ryan failed to hold a Mahrez strike which was straight at him.

It was the first goal scored inside a minute of the Premier League season and summed up why Leicester fans will hope interest in Mahrez from Roma cools as he drifted past defenders graciously in the build-up.

It gave Leicester the platform to play safe football against a Brighton side who never looked capable of taking the risks to open them up and Maguire’s goal summed up the simplicity of the victory as he out-jumped Shane Duffy to nod in.

The summer signing from Hull City seemed comfortable alongside central defensive partner Wes Morgan and already looks like astute business at £17m.

Immediate thoughts will focus on the fitness of Vardy, though Shakespeare played down any worry over the ankle injury afterwards.

Vardy’s energy remains critical to Shakespeare’s side, who will surely believe they can offer more than they did in this scrappy showing, where they saw less of the ball and were less accurate with it than the visitors.

Chris Hughton’s side had 55% of possession and completed 83% of their passes compared to 78% achieved by their hosts. However, their cutting edge was minimal and they managed just two shots on target.

Substitute Tomer Hemed went closest, forcing a diving save from Kasper Schmeichel from 25 yards. The Israeli replaced Glenn Murray, who finished smartly in the first half only to be correctly ruled offside.

There will be moments Hughton can cling to. His side had a shout for a penalty when Morgan used a combination of chest and arm to block from Jamie Murphy before the break and they also looked solid in their shape without the ball.

But they seemed to lack the ability to turn that disciplined structure into any form of attacking force and the former Newcastle boss will surely know this defeat is another lesson on the way to finding what is needed at the top level.

Mistakes such as Ryan’s at such key moments cannot happen – though there is much to look forward to, not least the debut of record signing Jose Izquierdo, who joined in midweek.

Hughton has broken the club’s transfer record three times this summer and brought in players from leagues across Europe. His side looked like a unit yet to gel but they will have easier fixtures than a visit from Manchester City and a trip to the 2015-16 champions.

Leicester manager Craig Shakespeare: “When you get a start like that it’s very pleasing. It was hard to break them down today but it was a professional performance to the end.

“It didn’t feel as comfortable as the stats suggest. We learned cruelly about game management last week [in the 4-3 defeat by Arsenal], but to get the first win under the belt was the main thing.”

Brighton & Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton: “We didn’t help ourselves and the timing of both goals was very detrimental to our style of play.

“We’ve got to keep possession, we need to get into shape but we had ample opportunity over the 90 minutes to do better. They aren’t a side who really opened us up, but where they needed to be sharper and keep possession they did. That’s what we need to learn.

“We’ll look to add to the squad. We’ll work as hard as we can through to the end of window to make this team and squad as good as we can.”

Lineup

1. Matthew Ryan
2. Bruno Saltor Grau
5. Lewis Dunk
13. Pascal Groß
15. Jamie Murphy
17. Glenn Murray
20. Solomon March
22. Shane Duffy
24. Davy Pröpper
29. Markus Suttner

Subs

3. Gaëtan Bong
4. Uwe Hunemeier
8. Jiri Skalak
10. Tomer HemedSub17
11. Anthony KnockaertSub13
12. Niki Mäenpää
23. Liam Rosenior