Location: King Power Stadium, Leicester, England
Kick-off time: 13:30 PM GMT, 08:30 AM Eastern, 05:30 AM Pacific
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The high-flying Foxes are set to begin a crucial stretch of three of their next four games at home when they welcome Southampton to the King Power Stadium on Sunday, Apr. 3.
The international break halted a run of 13 out of a possible 15 points for the Foxes (four wins, one draw) since losing to Arsenal 2-1 in less than favorable fashion on Feb. 14. Luckily for Leicester, some were kept busy with their respective countries, including two goals in two games for England's Jamie Vardy, a first for N'Golo Kanté with France and a Shinji Okazaki beauty against Syria for Japan. A total of 16 Foxes were selected to their country's international sides this break.
Southampton is a quality side that has strung together two consecutive wins with victories over Stoke and Liverpool. The Saints are most certainly the toughest side the Foxes will have faced since Manchester City and Arsenal in February.
Despite how the final run-in has presented itself in the standings over the past few months, this particular fixture has always been seen as crucial due to Southampton's ability to be dangerous on any occasion. The Saints will be bolstered by the return of Victor Wanyama, who came into his first match since a five-match ban as a second half substitute against Liverpool in the club's 3-2 come-from-behind victory on Mar. 20. Up front, Graziano Pelle has been a part of Southampton's last five goals by scoring three and passing off twice to Sadio Mane.
The Foxes had a comeback of their own in the reverse fixture when Vardy erased a two-goal Southampton lead on Oct. 17 to help Leicester take a hard-earned point from Saint Mary's. Jose Fonte and Virgil van Dijk gave the Saints the first-half advantage before Nathan Dyer and Riyad Mahrez set up Vardy to complete the comeback.
Since winning a Europa League third-round berth in 2014-15 with a seventh-place finish thanks to Chelsea's League Cup victory, Southampton has flown relatively under the radar this season as they push for an automatic qualification spot at the expense of West Ham and Manchester United. They currently sit three points behind the two with both teams having a game in hand over the Hampshire side.
Title rivals Tottenham had to come from behind to earn a point against Liverpool on Saturday, meaning the Foxes sit four points ahead of Spurs with a game in hand and could move seven points off the top of the table with three points against Southampton. Tottenham faces another tricky fixture next weekend at home to Manchester United while Leicester enters a (relatively) more comfortable trio of fixtures away to struggling Sunderland and then home to West Ham and Swansea.
Leicester enter Sunday's contest with the advantage of knowing where Tottenham stands after their 1-1 draw with Liverpool. A victory at the King Power on Sunday would give the Foxes a two-game cushion before things could get very tight in the final run-in.
Score Prediction: Leicester 1, Southampton 0 (Vardy)