Coming off of their massive 1-0 victory over league title defenders Liverpool just under two weeks ago, Saints will travel to King Power Stadium on Saturday to face fourth-placed Leicester City.
Having received an unforeseen break after COVID complications shifted Southampton’s FA Cup match against Shrewsbury, Ralph’s squad should be fully rested and ready to face the Foxes in a match that could bring both sides level with a Saints victory.
Brendan Rodgers’ side have had a hot start to their 2021 campaign, but have had a mixed bag of results of late, winning two, drawing two, and losing one in their last five league matches. While they have been the victim of a rash of injuries including Jamie Vardy and James Maddison, the Foxes will be seeing their return to league play on the weekend.
Southampton have also had a string of both injuries and positive COVID tests affect their ability to field their typical starting XI, including Fraser Forster’s return in that 1-0 victory over Liverpool.
Danny Ings will be out for the match after his positive COVID test after the side’s last match, as well as Leicester City midfielder Dennis Praet.
How Southampton Will Win
With back-to-back goalless draws in league play before Saints’ victory over Liverpool, the side will need to get back to their goalscoring ways from earlier in the season in order to beat title-contender Leicester City.
After the Danny Ings news, it will likely be up to the likes of Che Adams or another player (Theo Walcott, maybe?) to step up quite a bit on the attacking side of play.
The side’s defense will also be under likely a good bit of pressure from a talented Leicester City attack bolstered by the return of Vardy and Maddison. With Bednarek and Stephens likely to get the starting nod, they’ll have to play clean, mistake-free football in order to set Ralph’s side up for success.
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How Leicester City Will Win
With two of their three top scorers back in Vardy (11) and Maddison (4), the Foxes will need to put some pressure on a Saints defense that has been fairly stout all season long, especially one that will be without Jannik Vestergaard who had played incredibly well to start the campaign.
The defensive pressure will likely be slightly less without Danny Ings lining up against them, but Leicester’s defenders should be wary of taking Saints’ attack lightly even without the star striker. Che Adams has improved immensely on the season, following his form from the replay period to end last season. With four goals and four assists on the season, he could easily be a headache for the Foxes.
If Brendan Rodgers’ side can put the pressure onto Saints’ defense and Alex McCarthy if he makes his return to the goalkeeper’s slot, they could very much find themselves taking all three points at home from Southampton this weekend.
Goalkeeper: Alex McCarthy
Defenders: Kyle Walker-Peters, Jan Bednarek, Jack Stephens, Ryan Bertrand
Midfielders: Theo Walcott, James Ward-Prowse, Ibrahima Diallo, Stuart Armstrong
Strikers: Che Adams, Shane Long
Leicester City: 4-2-3-1
Goalkeeper: Kasper Schmeichel
Defenders: Timothy Castagne, Jonny Evans, Wesley Fofana, James Justin
Midfielders: Youri Tielemans, Wilfred Ndidi
Forwards: Harvey Barnes, James Maddison, Marc Albrighton, Jamie Vardy
Leicester City 1-1 Southampton