Riyad Mahrez was nowhere to be seen and it was hard to escape the feeling that Leicester City were not the same team without their talisman. Jamie Vardy’s early goal was no more than Leicester deserved after a bright start but Claude Puel’s side lost their way in the second half and allowed victory to slip through their fingers after Federico Fernández punished some poor defending to earn Swansea City another precious point.
From Leicester’s point of view it has been an extremely testing and hugely disappointing week, dominated by the Mahrez saga. His value to this side is clear – Leicester have failed to win any of the four Premier League matches the Algerian has missed since the start of last season – and Puel must curse that moment when Manchester City came knocking on their door just before deadline day. As for Swansea, their upward momentum continues. They have now lost only once in six league games under Carlos Carvahal and this point lifts them out of the relegation zone.
It had been one-way traffic for the majority of the first half and the only surprise was that Leicester had just a solitary goal to show for their dominance. Swansea were desperately poor and, to compound things, they lost Leroy Fer to a potentially serious injury before half-time. Fer collapsed in agony – it looked like a problem with his ankle – and left the field on a stretcher.
Leicester’s breakthrough arrived in the 16th minute and although there was a touch of food fortune about the way that the ball arrived at Vardy’s feet, after Iheanacho had tried to dance his way through the centre of the Swansea defence, the goal had been coming. It was Harry Maguire’s clever pass that picked out Iheanacho in space, about 25 yards from goal, and the ball broke kindly to Vardy after the Nigerian tried to get away from Fernández. With only Lukasz Fabianski to beat, Vardy opened up his body and steered the ball into the far corner.
The home team should have had a second 12 minutes later. Fousseni Diabaté, who was booked inside the first couple of minutes for a reckless challenge on Sam Clucas, wriggled clear on the left and saw his powerful shot repelled by Fabianski. Iheanacho pounced on the loose ball and looked certain to score but his shot was blocked by Alfie Mawson on the line.
Swansea had offered nothing as an attacking force prior to the interval, yet they level within eight minutes of the restart. Ki sung-Yueng delivered a corner from the left and Fernández, totally unmarked after Christian Fuchs allowed the Argentine to drift away from him, headed home from six yards.
The game was now much more open as Swansea started to play with a bit more belief and Leicester lost some of the control they enjoyed in the first half. Leicester, however, still looked dangerous when they broke forward and a lovely exchange between Diabaté and Vardy ended up with the former side-footing a first-time left-footed shot that flashed narrowly wide. Ultimately, though, Leicester lacked that little bit of creativity and imagination that Mahrez may well have provided on another day.