Leicester City topped Southampton by a score of 4-1 at the St. Mary’s on Friday evening. It was a busy first half, with Jamie Vardy opening the scoring on just 22 seconds. Kasey McAteer and Wilfred Ndidi scored on either side of a Samuel Edoze strike for the hosts. The second half saw a host of chances, but only a Stephy Mavididi goal to put the match out of reach.
Looking at the scoreline, one might believe that City finally put together a complete performance. One would be mistaken. Both sides committed an absurd number of defensive errors that led to good chances. The Foxes were (relatively) ruthless in front of goal; the Saints were almost largely ruthful.
Stephy Mavididi will get most of the plaudits and with good reason. He seems to find another gear late in the matches and, in addition to being an absolute terror running at fullbacks, he relishes his defensive work as well. KDH, Vardy, Ricardo, Vestergaard, Ndidi, and Hermansen all looked good, but Mavididi really stood out tonight.
Russell Martin's insistence on playing it out when it kept costing them was baffling. Oh well, good result for us. Love being set up to enjoy the weekend, get in you Foxes! Lots of bright points & Doyle made what was probs his first real mistake, not worried when he's only 20— Helen Thompson (@helsy33) September 15, 2023
Are you not supposed to play it out of the back when you’re making bags of mistakes and turning the ball over near your own goal? You see, this is why I’m not a manager.
The victory takes us back to the top of the table with 15 points from 6 matches. That’s a total we didn’t reach until mid-November last season. Next on the docket is a trip to Carrow Road to face Norwich City next Wednesday. The following Saturday, we return to the East Midlands to square off against Bristol City.
Leicester City: Mads Hermansen, James Justin, Jannik Vestergaard, Callum Doyle, Ricardo Pereira, Harry Winks, Wilfred Ndidi, Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, Kasey McAteer, Stephy Mavididi, Jamie Vardy (C)
Southampton: Gavin Bazunu, Kyle Walker-Peters, Tyler Harwood-Bellis, Shea Charles, Ryan Manning, Flynn Downes, William Smallbone, Adam Armstrong, Samuel Edoze, Ryan Fraser, Che Adams
Key Moments and Notes
1’ - GOAL! That didn’t take long. KDH forces a turnover in the Saints’ half. Mavididi picked it, played a one-two with Vardy, and carried it deep into the area. His pullback for McAteer got deflected to Vardy who blasted home from 15 yards.
4’ - It could have been three already for the Foxes. Two more turnovers lead to total chaos in the Southampton area. Dewsbury-Hall gets a couple of decisions wrong, pulling it back when a shot was on and then shooting with Vardy in acres of space 5 yards from the goal.
9’ - Fine save from Hermansen. Justin is a little indecisive in midfield and the hosts pounce. The ball reaches Adams, who is one-on-one with Vestergaard. He cuts inside and curls it towards the far post, but Mad Mads turns it around the post.
14’ - How have the Saints not scored? Winks gives it away in his own area but Hermansen is alert and blocks the close-range effort. The ensuing corner falls to two Southampton players who get it all wrong and allow the keeper to collect.
17’ - GOAL! The hosts are made to pay for their wastefulness in front of goal and carelessness with the ball. Kyle Walker-Peters cannot control a pass and KDH is on it. He plays a glorious diagonal through ball to meet McAteer’s run, leaving the winger with only the keeper to beat. He cleverly shifts it to his left foot and passes the ball into the net.
22’ - Chaos in the Leicester box. Justin slips, allowing Fraser to cross. Ricardo gets a boot to it, but it goes directly onto Mavididi’s forehead and caroms just wide of the post. That could have gone anywhere.
25’ -GOAL! Southampton finally make Leicester pay for a defensive mistake. It’s route one as Bazunu plays a ball deep into the City half. Justin deals with the first ball, but Coady completely whiffs on his clearance. Adams is on it and he slots it through to Edoze, who clips it over Hermansen and into the net.
40’: Things haven’t slowed down, but the chances have. It’s now sloppy in the midfield too so there’s a lot less going on in front of the nets. Neither manager looks happy. That’s appropriate, as neither team looks very good.
45’: GOAL! THE MAVIDIDI-TO-NDIDI train is out of the station. Stephy does the hard work, riding a challenge and tapping the ball to Wilf, who sends the keeper the wrong way and slots home from close range. 3-1 Foxes at the break!
55’: Maresca made no changes at the half and the run of play reflects that. It’s still wide open and not very attractive. The work rates are excellent but I’ve seen better football.
61’: Wilf comes off in favour of Cesare Casadei. Great shift from Ndidi and we may miss his defensive presence. That said, it’s always a pleasure to watch the Chelsea loanee put himself about.
65’: Oh Stephy! Mavididi and Vardy get behind the Soton defence and have only the keeper to beat. The Derby native tries to lift it over the keeper and puts it wide. Vardy, standing all alone in front of the net, is unimpressed.
69’: GOAL! Mavididi intercepts a pass deep in the Leicester half and shows Smallbone his heels (which sounds dirty but really isn’t). It’s now four-on-none with the poor keeper in a hopeless situation. Stephy takes it himself, slotting home when he really probably should have laid it off for KDH, but credit where it’s due: It was a fine finish.
70’: That’s a day’s work for McAteer as Abdul Fatawu comes on for him. Enzo Maresca picks up a yellow for complaining about a very poor challenge on Dewsbury-Hall going unpunished. The gaffer has the right of it: That was a clear yellow.
83’: Lord! Here come the subs! Vardy, Winks, and KDH come off for Kelechi Iheanacho, Hamza Choudhury, and Yunus Akgun. I don’t think I’ve ever heard the St. Mary’s so quiet, which is saying something. They’re not even booking Vestergaard anymore.
94’: Fatawu does brilliantly to slide the ball to Iheanacho behind the Saints’ defence. The Seniorman is on his favoured left peg, but he skies over when all he needed to do was clip it over the keeper.
96’: RED CARD! Kamaldeen Sulemana, who has had a bit of a shocker since coming on, sees his night come to an end a few seconds early. He barrels recklessly into Justin. It doesn’t look particularly violent, but the referee shows a straight red. That seems harsh.
97’: FULL TIME! Leicester get another win from a performance I’m certain will leave Maresca wanting more.
Who enjoyed that one then?— Leicester City (@LCFC) September 15, 2023
Probably everyone but Enzo. That man’s hard to please, and I love him for it.