Southampton v Leicester City Cheat Sheet
Southampton v Leicester City
Saturday night football sees Leicester travel to St Mary’s in another big game at the bottom of the table – with just seven points separating 13th and 20th coming into this round of fixtures. Both sides come into this one on the back of two very disappointing 2-1 defeats at home to lower-league opponents with Grimsby having left Southampton victorious and Blackburn running out winners at the King Power Stadium.
The home side’s only victory in their last six in all competitions was a victory at Chelsea whilst Leicester have lost their last three – albeit with their last two in the league being against title challengers Arsenal and Manchester United.
Southampton are in real trouble this season. They sit bottom of the table and look bereft of confidence and belief that they can stay up, furthered by their 2-1 midweek FA Cup loss to Grimsby. They sacked Nathan Jones recently and he has been replaced by Ruben Selles for the remainder of the season as their third boss of the season and they can take confidence from his first league game in charge so far – a 1-0 victory at Stamford Bridge – although they were poor in defeat at Leeds last time out.
The Spanish manager will be reminding his team that they remain just seven points off 13th and that a few wins can change anything at this point in the season and relegation battle. However, their record at St Mary’s is atrocious this season. They have won just won game (against Chelsea), picking up just six points from 11 games – six less than the next worst team – their opponents here. Their last five home Premier League matches have all ended in defeat and last time out they surrendered a one goal lead (against 10 men) to lose 2-1 to Wolves.
This is Selles’ first league game in charge at St Mary’s and he will be desperate for three points. This match will come too soon for both Juan Larios and Valentino Livramento who are recovering from hamstring and ACL problems respectively, whilst Che Adams and Mohammed Salisu are doubts for this one. Selles will likely continue with a similar side that lost at Elland Road last week.
Leicester were struggling after the World Cup break, with their only wins in the first nine coming against MK Dons, Gillingham and Walsall in the domestic cups and picking up just one league point. However, back to back league victories at Aston Villa and at home to Spurs gave the Foxes confidence. Since then they have lost two games in the league – 1-0 at home to Arsenal and they were impressive, particularly in the first half, in a 3-0 defeat at Old Trafford in their last away game.
Their defeat to Blackburn in midweek increased the pressure on boss Brendan Rodgers as they stand just three points above the drop zone and have still not kept a league clean sheet since the World Cup – nine matches.
They are unbeaten in five trips to St Mary’s, winning three, and in October 2019 they enjoyed a famous 9-0 victory over the Saints. James Justin, Jonny Evans, Ryan Bertrand and Youri Tielemans are all out for this one for the Foxes but James Maddison should be able to return following a small knee injury. Players such as Danny Ward, Timothy Castagne, Nampalys Mendy and Kelechi Iheanacho were rested in midweek for the FA Cup but they should come straight back into the side here.
Kelechi Iheanacho has never made a full impact on Brendan Rodgers at Leicester despite having a decent goal record. He is now in his sixth season with the club and has started just 60 league games for them, scoring 28 goals in that time, at an average of a goal every 261 minutes. In four of his six seasons (including this one), he has averaged over one shot on target per 90 minutes and this season he is averaging 1.09.
In all competitions for Leicester this season he has had seven starts and has had 23 shots in those games, with seven on target. He has also scored four in his last six games (including substitute appearances) and whilst the intention was to rest him in midweek in the FA Cup game, a 2-0 deficit saw him come on with 33 minutes to go. The Nigerian forward had four shots with two on target which included a goal as well.
He did not start the reverse fixture at Leicester earlier this season and missed out in both games against the Saints last season but in 2020/21 he played twice – hitting six shots across the two games, with three on target and one goal. In 2019/20 he made one substitute appearance against them having one shot on target with his 33 minutes on the pitch.
Paul Onuachu joined Southampton on deadline day, becoming Southampton’s fifth signing of the January transer window. At his previous club, Genk, he scored 85 goals in 134 games, averaging 1.77 shots on target per 90 across his last two and a half seasons with the club. This season he has had 24 shots on target in 24 appearances and in his last 12 starts for his old club, he had at least one shot on target in 11 of those games and had 20 attempts on target in total.
For Southampton, he has appeared four times. He came off the bench at half-time at Brentford and managed a shot on target and whilst he did not have a shot here against Wolves, he had two attempts with one on target in each of the games against Chelsea (58 minutes) and Leeds (62 minutes) across the last two Premier League fixtures.
Harvey Barnes has been impressive this season and has been a big part of their attacking threat. He has scored eight goals – one off of his highest return in a league campaign and has had one assist. He is also averaging 2.35 shots per 90 and has had 24 shots on target. The winger has had at least one shot in all but two of his 28 starts in all competitions this season, having at least two on 21 different occasions – including in six of his last eight.
Earlier this season, he had two shots against the Saints. The English winger has appeared six times against the Saints and has had 15 shots in those games with seven on target and one goal. This selection has landed in five of the six matches – including in the last three – and the one with one shot was in just 57 minutes of action.
Jan Bednarek has been out of favour in the Southampton side this season but has recently come into the side and has started five games in a row. In that time, he has committed eight fouls and at least two in four of the five games. Dating back to June of last year, for his country he has started five games and has committed eight fouls, with at least one foul in all of them.
The Polish international has played against Leicester seven times and has committed five fouls in that time. The three players that will play behind Iheanacho – Maddison, Barnes and Tete have been fouled a combined 5.75 times per 90 this season (2.52, 1.11 and 2.12 respectively) and the centre back may be dragged out to deal with those forwards if necessary.
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