Last updated & checked: 10/08/2021
Southampton take on Leicester City at St. Mary’s Stadium with Mark Hughes and his men looking for their first win of the season. The Saints have so far drawn with Burnley, before they were defeated at Everton last week, ensuring there’s a slight bit of pressure on the manager and players for the visit of the Foxes.
Meanwhile, the East Midlands outfit head to the south coast in much better spirits. Even though they lost on the opening day against Manchester United, the team put in a very good performance, controlling the play for large spells. That was backed up with a 2-0 win over Wolves last time out and even though that wasn’t a convincing performance, they showed a grit and determination to defend their lead with ten men that will have pleased supporters. The major worry for Leicester is that Jamie Vardy was the man sent off against Wanderers and will be a massive miss for them with his pace and goalscoring instincts.
An interesting side note to this game is that it will see Claude Puel return to Southampton after he was sacked almost 12 months ago. The Frenchman guided the Saints to 8th in the league and a cup final but the style of play didn’t go down well with fans. Since he has left though, things have gone downhill, with the club involved in a relegation battle last season, and even though he may not say it, Puel will surely be relishing the chance to get one over his former team.
Southampton vs Leicester Prediction: Southampton 1-1 Leicester
In all honesty, this is a very tough game to call, with both sides showing their good and bad sides in recent weeks. Southampton looked a very good side when Danny Ings and Mohamed Elyounoussi came on in their opener and with home advantage you would think they could be worth backing for the punters. Yet, Leicester looked composed and very good at Manchester United, yet you have to acknowledge Wolves were the better side last week and deserved to go ahead.
Therefore, we think this is going to be very close to call between two pretty even sides. Leicester may have had the edge but Vardy’s awful tackle and red card last week has left them without their main man going forward. Nevertheless, they have attacking talent in the team and a solid structure which means they should head back with something.
Our recommended tip: Both teams to score
As mentioned, this is a very tough game to call and you have to say it could go either way. Given that, the angle for punters should be the both teams to score market.
It landed in Leicester’s first game at United and how it didn’t win against Wolves is a bit of a mystery. Wanderers hit the post three times and missed some glaring chances, so this is a Foxes defence that does give away chances. With that in mind, combined with the fact Hughes will be demanding a fast, energetic start from his time, it’s easy to see the hosts scoring.
Yet, the same can be said with the visitors. Southampton were carved open too easily last week and with James Maddison, Demarai Gray and Marc Albrighton all providing creativity to Kelechi Iheanacho, then there’s goals there too. We’re not suggesting it will be a classic but there’s certainly enough talent on the pitch to ensure both sides have something to cheer at some point in the afternoon.
This will be the 87th meeting between the two sides and it’s fair to say it’s a fixture that is very even on the whole. Southampton have the slight edge, having won 32 of the previous games, with Leicester victorious in 26 and there has been 28 draws.
Despite the slightly inferior record, the Foxes will have no fear travelling to St. Mary’s as they will have very happy memories of their previous visit, which ended in a 4-1 win, where they were incredibly three goals up at half-time. They picked up for points against the Saints last season, with the other fixture ending goalless.
Top 3 Premier League Bookies
Players to watch: Danny Ings & James Maddison
Southampton completed a very late deal for Ings from Liverpool but it’s already looking as though it could be a shrewd bit of business. He made his debut as a sub in the opener against Burnley and changed the game with his intelligent movement, link-up play and cutting edge. Then, he followed that up with his first goal for his boyhood side in the defeat at Everton. It was a classic poachers effort and he will be delighted to get off the mark. The issue for Ings is his fitness, few have doubted his ability, so Saints fans will be praying he stays fit and available because he’s already shown he can be a major asset to the team.
The key man for the visitors will be another summer signing and another that could be a great signing. Leicester spent big to land Maddison from Norwich after a superb season in the Championship. On the face of it, signing an unproven player from the lower leagues is a risk, however anyone who saw Maddison last season will tell you this was a great deal for Leicester. He has superb technique, finds pockets of space, picks the right pass and can score goals – everything you want from a number ten. He was good at Old Trafford and got the second goal against Wolves last time out with the help of a deflection, but it’s clear he has the ability to thrive at this level and Southampton will have to mark him well to get anything out the game.