Premier League
Swansea0Leicester3

Swansea City 0-3 Leicester City

Riyad Mahrez scores for Leicester
Riyad Mahrez described the victory as the 'perfect day' for him and Leicester

Riyad Mahrez's hat-trick propelled Leicester to the top of the Premier League as they beat Swansea to increase the pressure on manager Garry Monk.

Mahrez headed the Foxes in front after five minutes and fired in calmly for his second, although he seemed offside.

Swansea's Ki Sung-yueng headed against the bar after the break, but Mahrez finished an incisive counter-attack to seal his first ever hat-trick.

Manchester City's defeat by Stoke sees Leicester leapfrog them at the summit.

This result leaves the Swans, 15th in the league, four points above the relegation zone, having won only one of their last 11 league matches.

Manager Monk's position had already been under intense scrutiny and, having heard his side booed for a second successive home game, there will be more doubts than ever about his future.

Mahrez outshines Vardy

Mahrez's touches
Riyad Mahrez was ever-present for Leicester, receiving plenty of possession on the right and making dangerous runs into the box

The pre-match attention was inevitably focused on Leicester's Jamie Vardy, who had set a Premier League record by scoring for an 11th successive game against Manchester United.

But the former Fleetwood striker had to settle for a supporting role as Mahrez took centre stage.

Both the Algerian's first two goals were fortuitous, but they were no more than Claudio Ranieri's side deserved for an utterly dominant first half.

Mahrez's opening goal was a scrappy one, the ball flicked on from a corner and appeared to hit his head and arm before trickling over the line.

The 24-year-old's second was a more conventional finish - confidently swept into the bottom corner - but he seemed to be offside from N'Golo Kante's pass.

Piling the pressure on Monk

Monk said his players were affected by the "tension and anxiety" of the Liberty crowd when they fell behind 2-0 to Bournemouth a fortnight earlier.

But whereas the Swans recovered to draw 2-2 against the Cherries, they looked like cannon fodder for Leicester.

Centre-backs Ashley Williams and Kyle Bartley seemed nervous, the latter needlessly conceding a corner for the opening goal and presenting Vardy with a glorious chance to score for a 12th successive game.

Garry Monk (left)
Monk said his team was 'extremely poor' and added that they would have to find a solution 'very soon'

Their unease extended to the rest of the team, with Swansea struggling to keep possession or create any opportunities of note.

And it will have been the dismal performance as much as the result which will compound the concerns of an already worried Swansea board.

Leicester's unlikely title challenge

Manchester City's defeat to Stoke had presented Leicester with the opportunity to reclaim their place at the top of the table and, as Ranieri's men have done so often this season, they seized the moment.

The Foxes were barely tested by a dreadful first-half showing from Swansea, but they were incisive and clinical when they needed to be.

Monk's men posed more of a threat after the interval, with Ki heading against the bar and Gylfi Sigurdsson's whipped shot hitting the post.

But Leicester were still in control and they eliminated any slim chance of a Swansea revival when a swift counter-attack involving Leonardo Ulloa and Vardy was finished by Mahrez's low, firm shot.

Leicester are now two points clear at the top of the table and, with the busy festive period looming, they find themselves in the unlikely position of being early title challengers.

Man of the match - Riyad Mahrez

Riyad Mahrez
Mahrez has been crucial to Leicester's success this season, as demonstrated by this clinical hat-trick which took his campaign tally to 10 league goals

What they said

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Garry Monk's final interview as Swansea City manager

Swansea manager Garry Monk: "It was a poor first half from us. Those first two goals were extremely soft. The first one was clearly handball, the second was clearly offside, but the results haven't been good enough in this period.

"I feel sorry for the fans. We're not playing like this club can play, like these players can play.

"It's very difficult to analyse and put your finger on it. The results aren't acceptable and I'm fully aware of that, and it's up to me to put it right."

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Swansea 0-3 Leicester: We played very good football - Claudio Ranieri

Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri: "We are thinking about ourselves, to take points and make good football. That is our first goal, to achieve 40 points, to be safe.

"It was a tough match because Swansea play very good football. We started very well, we scored three goals, and had a minimum other four clear chances and I'm very pleased.

"Our fans they must dream, but we must stay calm and keep our feet on the ground."

The stats you need to know

  • Riyard Mahrez becomes the first Algerian player to score a Premier League hat-trick.
  • Mahrez has now been involved in 16 Premier League goals this season (10 goals, 6 assists) - a record only team-mate Jamie Vardy can match (14 goals, 2 assists).
  • The midfielder became only the third Leicester player to score a Premier League hat-trick, after Ian Marshall and Stan Collymore.
  • The Swans have won just one of their last 11 Premier League games (D3 L7).
  • Meanwhile, the Foxes have lost just one of their last 19 top-flight games (W12 D6).
  • Claudio Ranieri's side are the only team to have scored in all 15 games this season.

What next?

Leicester face a tricky run of fixtures, with Chelsea their next league opponents - followed by away trips to Everton and Liverpool - but on recent form they have proved they are capable of competing with the best. Swansea, meanwhile, desperately need a league win, though their next match is away to title contenders Manchester City.

Line-ups

Swansea

  • 1Fabianski
  • 26Naughton
  • 27Bartley
  • 6Williams
  • 3Taylor
  • 7BrittonBooked at 47minsSubstituted forBarrowat 63'minutes
  • 4Ki Sung-yuengBooked at 74minsSubstituted forCorkat 78'minutes
  • 15RoutledgeSubstituted forMonteroat 45'minutes
  • 23Sigurdsson
  • 10A Ayew
  • 18Gomis

Substitutes

  • 11Emnes
  • 13Nordfeldt
  • 20Montero
  • 22Rangel
  • 24Cork
  • 33Fernandez
  • 58Barrow

Leicester

  • 1Schmeichel
  • 17SimpsonBooked at 70mins
  • 5Morgan
  • 6Huth
  • 28Fuchs
  • 26MahrezSubstituted forSchluppat 90'minutes
  • 4Drinkwater
  • 14KantéBooked at 23mins
  • 11AlbrightonBooked at 90mins
  • 23UlloaSubstituted forKingat 87'minutes
  • 9Vardy

Substitutes

  • 10King
  • 15Schlupp
  • 20Okazaki
  • 27Wasilewski
  • 29Benalouane
  • 32Schwarzer
  • 33Inler
Referee:
Michael Oliver
Attendance:
20,836

Match Stats

Home TeamSwanseaAway TeamLeicester
Possession
Home59%
Away41%
Shots
Home10
Away16
Shots on Target
Home2
Away5
Corners
Home3
Away8
Fouls
Home3
Away19

Live Text

Match ends, Swansea City 0, Leicester City 3.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Swansea City 0, Leicester City 3.

Attempt blocked. Andy King (Leicester City) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Jeffrey Schlupp.

Attempt missed. André Ayew (Swansea City) left footed shot from the centre of the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Bafétimbi Gomis.

Booking

Marc Albrighton (Leicester City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Jefferson Montero (Swansea City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Marc Albrighton (Leicester City).

Substitution

Substitution, Leicester City. Jeffrey Schlupp replaces Riyad Mahrez.

Attempt missed. Christian Fuchs (Leicester City) right footed shot from outside the box is too high following a corner.

Corner, Leicester City. Conceded by Kyle Bartley.

Attempt blocked. Robert Huth (Leicester City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Marc Albrighton with a cross.

Foul by Neil Taylor (Swansea City).

Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Corner, Leicester City. Conceded by Ashley Williams.

Attempt blocked. Danny Simpson (Leicester City) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Andy King with a cross.

Substitution

Substitution, Leicester City. Andy King replaces Leonardo Ulloa.

Corner, Leicester City. Conceded by Ashley Williams.

Attempt blocked. Leonardo Ulloa (Leicester City) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Daniel Drinkwater.

Attempt blocked. Marc Albrighton (Leicester City) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Daniel Drinkwater.

Attempt saved. André Ayew (Swansea City) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Modou Barrow.

Modou Barrow (Swansea City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Christian Fuchs (Leicester City).

Attempt missed. Bafétimbi Gomis (Swansea City) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Jefferson Montero.

Attempt missed. Ashley Williams (Swansea City) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Gylfi Sigurdsson with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Swansea City. Conceded by Robert Huth.

Gylfi Sigurdsson (Swansea City) hits the right post with a right footed shot from outside the box. Assisted by André Ayew.

Substitution

Substitution, Swansea City. Jack Cork replaces Ki Sung-yueng.

Attempt saved. Bafétimbi Gomis (Swansea City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

André Ayew (Swansea City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Daniel Drinkwater (Leicester City).

Attempt missed. Jamie Vardy (Leicester City) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the right is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by N'Golo Kanté.

Booking

Ki Sung-yueng (Swansea City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Attempt missed. Jamie Vardy (Leicester City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Daniel Drinkwater.

Booking

Danny Simpson (Leicester City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Jefferson Montero (Swansea City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Danny Simpson (Leicester City).

Goal!

Goal! Swansea City 0, Leicester City 3. Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Jamie Vardy.

Offside, Leicester City. Riyad Mahrez tries a through ball, but Jamie Vardy is caught offside.

Kyle Bartley (Swansea City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Jamie Vardy (Leicester City).

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Leicester1595132211132
2Arsenal1593327131430
3Man City1592430161429
4Man Utd1585220101029
5Tottenham1568125121326
6West Ham156542521423
7Liverpool146531815323
8Crystal Palace147161914522
9Watford156451716122
10Stoke156451314-122
11Everton145632719821
12Southampton155642118321
13West Brom155461419-519
14Chelsea154381724-715
15Swansea153571422-814
16Norwich153481727-1013
17Bournemouth153481830-1213
18Sunderland153391729-1212
19Newcastle142481430-1610
20Aston Villa1513111328-156
View full Premier League table

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