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Match Report: Leicester City 1 - 2 Southampton

Defeat snatched from the jaws of victory

Leicester City v Southampton FC - Premier League Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

Leicester City fell to Southampton at the King Power on Saturday afternoon by a score of 2-1. After a goalless first half, James Maddison opened the scoring for the Foxes with a brilliant free kick. Southampton’s Che Adams bagged a late brace to turn the match around and give the Saints all three points.

No, Arlo, we so not.

As you may or may not be aware, there’s some transfer window drama in the East Midlands. The Foxes lined up with three of their top eleven players on the bench or left out of the squad entirely, presumably due at least in part due to potential moves away from the King Power. The starting XI: Danny Ward, Timothy Castagne, Daniel Amartey, Jonny Evans (C), James Justin, Wilfred Ndidi, Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, Ayoze Perez, James Maddison, Harvey Barnes, Jamie Vardy.

The opening twenty minutes were played at a breakneck pace, during which there was a lot of action but not a great deal happened. The Foxes has three-quarters of the possession and moved the ball quickly, but the final ball eluded them. The Saints struggled to get out of their own half and gave the ball right back whenever they managed to regain possession.

The visitors got the ball in the net on 25’ only to see it chalked off for offside. Amartey slipped in possession, allowing to counter. A ball over the top found Sekou Mara alone behind the defence. He held his nerve and beat Ward, but the flag went up as he was several yards past the last man when the ball was played.

Leicester City v Southampton FC - Premier League
The look of a man who knows but wanted the goal anyway.
Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

City dominated in every way but the one which matters, which sounds far more Puel-esuqe than it looked. There was plenty of intensity and forward movement, but Southampton were organized at the back and kept the clear-cut chances to a minimum. Leicester were the better side over the course of the half, but 0-0 was a pretty fair representation of the run of play.

There were no changes to either side at the half as both managers seemed reasonably satisfied with their charges in the opening forty-five minutes. That was a fair assessment as both sides played well; the only thing missing was a moment of quality in the final third.

Cue one James Maddison.

Ayoze won a free kick on the right side deep in the Southampton half. The angle looked a little tight for a shot from the right-footed Maddison, but that just goes to show how much I know. Madders low shot started well outside the near post and curled just inside it. Keeper Gavin Bazunu dove for it in vain as it crept in and gave the Foxes a lead they just about deserved.

Enjoy it, as this was the final good moment of the match.

As is often the case, the goal brought the visitors to life as Southampton camped in the Leicester half and had several half-chances and penalty shouts in five very chaotic minutes. Manager Brendan Rodgers reacted by sending on Patson Daka and Youri Tielemans for Vardy and Ayoze.

Unfortunately, the moves failed to stem the tide and the Saints were soon level. A long throw found Armel Bella-Kotchap with his back to goal deep in the City penalty area. He tapped it to Che Adams who was completely unmarked in the 6-yard box. The Leicester-born striker’s shot found Justin on the goal line, and the fullback was unlucky to turn it into his own net.

Kelechi Iheanacho came on for Barnes as the Foxes tried to turn the momentum around in the final quarter-hour. The momentum had other ideas. With just six minutes of regular time to play, James Ward-Prowse lofted a cross into the box that found Adams between Amartey and Castagne. The substitute still had a lot to do, but he did it well, volleying home from close range.

Six additional minutes were added, giving City supporters some hope that an equaliser might be found. Bella-Kotchap, who had been both brilliant and incredibly lucky not to be sent off in the first two minutes, did well to dispossess Dewsbury-Hall in the area to snuff out what looked like a goal-scoring opportunity. That would be the last attack of the match for City as, for the second time in three matches, the Foxes saw a lead slip away from them.

What can you say about a match like that? We were simply overrun after we took the lead. We couldn’t slow down the Saints, we couldn’t string passes together, and we certainly couldn’t defend. It didn’t help that our best defender was in the stands, but that’s no excuse. Three at the back, four at the back, eleven at the back, there’s just no confidence right now. We were second-best for the last half hour only, and that ranking feels flattering.

Leicester City v Southampton FC - Premier League
For what it’s worth, I support leaving Little Wes out of the squad if he’s not interested in playing for us. However, if no deal is done before then, I absolutely want to see him start on the 27th.
Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

The defeat leaves us with a single point from three matches. That puts us 18th on the table, a position which I’m sure you recognize as “problematic.” On Tuesday, we kick off our Carabao Cup campaign at Edgeley Park against Stockport County. We return to Premier League action a week from today at Chelsea, a match which I am certain will be incident-free and by-the-books.