Last updated & checked: 10/08/2021
A suddenly-rejuvenated Southampton side arrive in Leicester for this Saturday afternoon clash, ready to extract some measure of revenge for the 9-0 pasting they received the last time these sides met. For Brendan Rodgers, the hope will be that his side can stabilise in the aftermath of a nervy League Cup draw with Aston Villa and continue their push for a place in the Premier League’s top three – and perhaps higher.
The Foxes will be able to call on Jamie Vardy for a league game for the first time since Boxing Day, and the pacey forward will be hoping to add to his league-leading 17 goals so far. Against everyone’s expectations, one of Vardy’s closest challengers is leading the line for the visitors, with Danny Ings in exceptional form. The former Burnley and Liverpool man has notched thirteen in 21 appearances and occupies second spot in the race for the Golden Boot.
Leicester City vs Southampton Prediction: Leicester City 2-1 Southampton
After drawing with Norwich, Leicester lost their following two games against their closest Premier League rivals Liverpool and Manchester City and, with one point from a possible nine, faced a challenge to get their season back on the rails. This was done with no little aplomb, winning at West Ham with a reshuffled side before going on to thrash Newcastle on the road on New Year’s Day. An in-form Saints side will present more of a contest than either of those opponents, but home advantage and a restored Vardy offer Leicester the best chance of three points here.
Our recommended tip: Choudhury to score
A major feature of Leicester’s season has been the side’s ability to share the goals around, with Vardy having helped himself to 17 but healthy contributions coming from James Maddison, Youri Tielemans, Harvey Barnes and even defenders such as Jonny Evans and Ricardo Pereira. In a 3-0 against Newcastle, the Foxes’ third was scored by home-grown star Hamza Choudhury, a stunning long-range finish that was his first for the club. The midfielder is 5/1 with Betway to get on the scoresheet again here, and he certainly has the confidence to try it.
One of the top footballing stories of the week has been the viral tweet from the Saints’ official account showing a diligent member of staff muting all mentions of the number nine and various spellings of “hahahaha”. Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side were drubbed in the reverse fixture between these sides as Vardy collected a hat-trick, Ayoze Perez helped himself to his first three goals in blue, and additional finishes came from Ben Chilwell, Tielemans and Maddison. Leicester’s sizzling form of late October has cooled slightly, while Southampton have improved immeasurably since that night – but there’ll still be some foreboding among those in red and white going into this game.
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Players to watch: Hamza Choudhury & Danny Ings
As dominant as Leicester were against Villa on Wednesday, the side lacked shape and thrust for much of the first half in the absence of star defensive midfielder Wilfried Ndidi. Introduced at half-time, Choudhury instantly gave his team-mates the confidence to play their usual game and Rodgers later conceded that he should have started the boyhood Foxes fan. The manager is unlikely to make the same mistake today, with Choudhury offering an all-action, tough-tackling approach that will be essential here.
It would be hard to begrudge Ings the superb season he is having on the South Coast, with the 27-year-old having seen a 2015 move to Liverpool from Burnley go so badly wrong. The player suffered potentially career-ending injuries in his first two seasons on Merseyside. Add this to the fact that, as a youngster, he was let go by the club he had supported as a child, and it’s a brutal story for any player. Incidentally, the club that let him go all those years ago? That was Southampton. At least they learned from their mistake.