The Premier League is back after the international break and the Saints will be looking to continue their fine form when they take on Leicester City at St. Mary’s on Saturday. The Saints are playing superbly as of late with convincing 3-1 wins over Swansea City and Chelsea in their last two outings. As for the Foxes, they’ll be looking to carry on their fine start to the season with the recent 2-5 loss at the hands of Arsenal being the only blip. Leicester are expected to face a difficult challenge against Southampton as the Saints carry the momentum of their previous win versus Chelsea in the match. Boss Claudio Ranieri pledged to treat his players to a pizza if they kept out the Potters, but the Italian is now upping the ante.
“Don’t get me wrong, I prefer to win and concede a goal if that’s what it takes,” he said. “If we continue with that then, I will be happy, but I would be really happy if we could do it and our opponents don’t score. Maybe the pizza isn’t enough. Maybe I will have to push the boat out and offer them a real slap-up meal. I am delighted with my players but I just want to push them and sooner or later I know I will have to pay.”
The Saints’ long term absentees for the season Fraser Forster and Florin Gardos are definitely out, striker Shane Long is expected to miss a couple of weeks. However, midfielder Jordy Clasie is expected to be fit to make the bench.
I’m very pleased hat Clasie is back], because we like to have everybody available,”
Matty James is the only casualty for the Foxes, who is out with a ruptured ACL. They are expected to have a full squad to face the Saints sans James.
- Both meetings between these sides last season ended 2-0 to the home team with a player scoring a brace (Long, Mahrez).
- Jamie Vardy has scored eight goals in his last nine BPL appearances, including in each of his last five matches in the competition. Only three English players have scored in six consecutive BPL appearances this century: Michael Owen (6 in 2003), James Beattie (6 in 2003) and Daniel Sturridge (8 in 2014).
- The Foxes have won more points from losing positions than any other top-flight side this season (6).
- Saints have lost one of their last 18 top-flight home fixtures against Leicester (W10 D7).
- Leicester have scored and conceded in all eight of their league matches this season.
- Maarten Stekelenburg has made 10 saves in eight fixtures this term, that is four fewer than David de Gea has made in half as many matches (14 in four).
Graziano Pelle – Southampton
Striker Graziano Pelle has been in fine form for Southampton scoring five goals for the Saints this term including the fine goal against Chelsea. He returns to action with his club having netted a late winner in Italy’s concluding UEFA Euro 2016 qualifier against Norway on Tuesday. Koeman would hope his striker would continue his goal scoring form against the Foxes to lead his team to a third consecutive victory.
Jamie Vardy – Leicester City
Vardy is going through a purple patch this season, scoring seven goals this term having eclipsed his tally of the previous season. His pace has been his great asset, consistently annoying the league’s defenders. He’s been immense to Leicester’s fine form this season and he’d once again hope to continue his and his team’s fine form in the league.
A draw is a more likely result in this one.
Southampton 2-2 Leicester City.