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Will Mahrez's or Slimani's absence hurt more?

Which 2017 AFCON star will Leicester miss most vs. Chelsea: Mahrez or Slimani?

January 13, 2017 By Ali M.
The Foxes lost their Algerian duo to international duty, with their first game since their departure being against the league leaders.

Fans may be excited for the upcoming African Cup of Nations, due to kick start on Saturday. However, it is a headache for several managers, as key players are obliged to leave their clubs in the middle of the season.

Manchester United have lost Eric Bailly; Arsenal have let Mohamed Elneny go, but the English club that looks destined to suffer the most from the 2017 AFCON is Leicester. Daniel Amarte has joined up with Ghana, but the biggest blow was the loss of both Riyad Mahrez and Islam Slimani.

Which Algerian ace is the bigger loss for the Foxes? We take a look ahead of their clash with Chelsea on Saturday.

Where Slimani outshines his compatriot

Games played

Riyad Mahrez: 20

Islam Slimani: 13

Since we are focusing mainly on their clash with the Blues, we will only take Premier League stats into consideration.

Goals scored

Mahrez: 3 goals

Slimani: 5 goals


Mahrez: 2

Slimani: 3

The former Sporting Lisbon ace has contributed to eight goals – scored 5, assisted three. That’s more than Mahrez’s tally of five – three goals, two assists. However, the CAF African Player of the Year has endured an abysmal season in England so far, so it wasn’t a high bar to clear for his compatriot.

Riyad Mahrez, Islam Slimani, Leicester City, English Premier League

Now things turn in Mahrez’s favor

Shot accuracy

Mahrez: 63%

Slimani: 38%

Successful take-ons

Mahrez: 43

Slimani: 9

Key passes

Mahrez: 23

Slimani: 6

Chances created

Mahrez: 25

Slimani: 9

Although Slimani has more assists, Mahrez has been more creative and troublesome for opposing defenders. Last season’s PFA Player of the Year winner can still create magic with his feet.

Riyad Mahrez, Islam Slimani, Leicester City, Algeria, African Cup of Nations

Who would have been able to hurt Chelsea the most?

Chelsea’s defense is tough, but the one thing they suffer at handling is long balls. Stoke used that aspect to near perfection, and could have won had the Blues attack not been perfect.  And with that, we give you this statistic:

Average pass length

Mahrez: 15.8m

Slimani: 16.65m

Riyad could have been the catalyst against Conte’s boys, and Islam the finisher. Unfortunately, Ranieri has neither and must cope.

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