Leicester City’s rapid descent from champions to the Championship moved a step closer to reality after a 2-0 defeat to Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium.
Last season Claudio Ranieri’s side supplied the magic but on Sunday afternoon it was 23-year-old centre-back Alfie Mawson with a goal he will not forget in a hurry.
Magic Mawson flattens Foxes
With 37 minutes on the clock and very little of note to have happened in the game, the youngster lit up the occasion with a thunderous strike.
The Foxes failed to clear a deep free kick allowing Federico Fernandez to head back across goal for Mawson, who caught it beautifully, volleying it Zidane-esque past Kasper Schmeichel who stood absolutely no chance.
It was a stunning finish, Mawson’s third goal in his last six games, making him the joint top scoring defender in the Premier League in 2017, alongside Marcos Alonso. Not bad going, particularly for a centre-back, who was on loan at Wycombe Wanderers just two years ago.
If that was bad news for Leicester who had struggled to offer a goal threat whatsoever in a timid first half, it was about to get a whole lot worse just 10 minutes later, just seconds away from the safety of half-time.
A couple of slick passes sent Martin Olsson racing through on goal before confidently thumping a fierce strike past Schmeichel at his near post, his first goal for the club.
If ever Leicester needed Ranieri to do some tinkering it was at half-time and it duly arrived at the break, Ben Chilwell and Islam Slimani coming on for Marc Albrighton and Christian Fuchs.
Reigning Player of the Year Riyad Mahrez, who scored a hat-trick in this fixture last year, tried to inject some danger into the champions, popping up on the left but his woeful cross did not even beat the first man.
Demerai Gray took over, but fared little better, his jinking run down the left ending in a timid cross straight into the arms of Lukasz Fabianski.
Foxes lacking bite
The goalkeeper was finally called into action on 62 minutes, incredibly Leicester’s first attempt on target. Vardy and Mahrez finally conjured a chance, sending Slimani through on goal, with just Fabianski to beat, but the substitute was denied by the goalkeeper’s block.
The Tinkerman’s final throw of the dice was to send on Daniel Amartey, back from AFCON duty where he was named in the team of the tournament, for Danny Simpson.
Yet Swansea held firm with very few scares, to give their survival hopes a huge boost leaping into 15th place with their fourth win in their last seven games and their first clean sheet under Paul Clement.
For Leicester it continues to be another incredible campaign, but for all the wrong reasons. This time last season Leicester were beating Manchester City 3-1 to move five points clear at the top of the table.
Fast forward 12 months and the Foxes are still without a Premier League win in 2017, or even a goal. The Foxes haven’t won away from home since April of last year and are on a run of 15 games without a win, just one game away from matching their worst ever winless run.
Life is not going to get any easier either. Next up is a trip to Millwall in the FA Cup before Sevilla in the Champions League and Liverpool in the Premier League. It could be about to get even worse.
Swansea: Fabianski 7, Naughton 6, Fernandez 7, Mawson 8, Olsson 7.5, Fer 6, Cork 7, Carroll 6, Dyer 5 (Routledge 6, Narsingh 5), Llorente 6.5 (Ayew 6), Sigurdsson 8.
Unused subs: Amat, Nordfeldt, Rangel, Kingsley.
Leicester: Schmeichel 5, Simpson 5 (Amartey 5), Huth 6, Morgan 5, Fuchs 4 (Chilwell 6), Drinkwater 6, Ndidi 5, Mahrez 5, Gray 6, Albrighton 4 (Slimani 6.5), Vardy 5.
Unused subs: Musa, King, Okazaki, Zieler.
Referee: Jon Moss
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