clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Premier League Match Report: Southampton 2 - 2 Leicester City

An improved second half performance by the Foxes cannot completely overcome an awful start

Southampton v Leicester City - Premier League Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Leicester City and Southampton fought to an intermittently entertaining draw on Wednesday evening at the St. Mary’s. The Foxes put on a first-half clinic in “how not to defend corners,” conceding twice on either side of a Jonny Evans goal. James Maddison levelled the score early in the second half, but City couldn’t find the final touch for a third and had to settle for a single point.

Manager Brendan Rodgers kept the faith with the side that saw off Watford by a score of 4-2 on Sunday. Would it be lazy to just copy and paste the starting XI from the last match? I’ve been called worse things. Kasper Schmeichel (C), Timothy Castagne, Jonny Evans, Çağlar Söyüncü, Luke Thomas, Boubakary Soumare, Wilfred Ndidi, James Maddison, Ademola Lookman, Harvey Barnes, and Jamie Vardy.

Speaking of things that could be copied and pasted...

It took only three minutes to make a repeat of the famous 9-0 scoreline an impossibility. The Saints won an early corner and played it short to James Ward-Prowse. The England midfielder returned it to Nathan Tella who fired in a low cross that was turned towards the goal by Mohammed Salisu. Schmeichel did well to save the initial effort, but Jan Bednarek reacted first to the rebound and tucked it home from close range.

It took twenty minutes of really uninspiring play before the Foxes mounted their first sustained attack, but sometimes one is all it takes. A Maddison corner was cleared all the way to Thomas near the halfway line. The fullback played a perfect ball over the top to give it to Madders, who found Lookman in the area. He tapped it to Ndidi, whose volley was on-target but parried by Alex McCarthy. Evans found himself alone in front of the net with the ball at his feet and he made no mistake, lashing it past the stranded keeper.

Southampton v Leicester City - Premier League
We’re not the only team that struggles to clear corners. That’s not as comforting as it sounds.
Photo by Plumb Images/Leicester City FC via Getty Images

Southampton retook the lead just after the half-hour mark and it was yet another example of “failing to adequately clear a corner.” The hosts played it short again, but this time the first ball was easily dealt with. It was only cleared as far as Adam Armstrong, who tapped it wide to Nathan Redmond. The former Norwich City man swung in a cross that split the difference between Evans and Söyüncü, finding Che Adams seven yards out. He couldn’t miss from there, and he didn’t.

You may have noted the lack of discussion of anything but the goals. There’s a reason for that. It was a poor, poor first half. Southampton were the better side, but neither side were anywhere within spitting distance of “good.”

The gaffer made one change at the half, withdrawing Soumare in favour of Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall. Good call by Rodgers, as it took all of three minutes for the Foxes to equalise for a second time. Madders skinned James Ward-Prowse deep in the Leicester half. Barnes and Dewsbury-Hall were involved in the buildup before Thomas slipped a lovely ball through to Maddison. The midfielder took it on his left foot, cleverly reversed it to his right, and smashed a low shot just inside the near post for his third goal in three games.

Southampton v Leicester City - Premier League
“Just how in-form are ya, James?”
Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images

The tide seemed to be turning, but not quickly or thoroughly enough, so Rodgers made his second change just before the hour mark, introducing Ayoze Perez for Lookman. The pace of the game was a gear or two higher than that of the first half, with both sides trying to pounce on any error. Barnes spurned a golden opportunity when an attempted tackled saw the ball into his path in the penalty area, but McCarthy made a brilliant save at full stretch to keep the match level.

The Foxes got even closer to taking an increasingly deserved lead on 75’ when a Southampton backpass was deflected into Vardy’s path. The former Fleetwood Town man was one-on-one with the keeper and you’d have bet the house on him to score, but he skied his effort over the bar with McCarthy beaten.

City made their final change moments later, with Patson Daka coming on for Barnes. The Foxes were looking the more likely side to break the deadlock without actually looking likely to do so. They came close in the 2nd minute of injury time as Vardy released Daka down the right. He found Madders late run, and Madders found Ayoze, but the former Newcastle man’s effort was parried to safety by McCarthy.

The draw was probably just about the right result. The Foxes were dire in the first half, much improved in the second, and just maddeningly inconsistent. There were some good individual performances, and, in the few moments when everyone was on the same page, we looked unstoppable. Most of the time, we did it to ourselves and that’s what really hurt.

At least there’s a vaccine for COVID. Seriously, do not forget that we are still without Fofana, Justin, and Ricardo. Temper your expectations accordingly.

The draw leaves us on 19 points from 14 matches. That puts us 8th on the table, but most of the teams around us have games in hand. This is the start of a brutal period where the Foxes will play 10 matches in 32 days, the next of which is away to Aston Villa on Sunday and then conclude our Europa League group stage program next Thursday away to Napoli.