After another successful week in the Champions League, Claudio Ranieri will be keen for his Leicester side to transfer that fortune to their hit and miss league form when they play host to Claude Puel’s improving Southampton in one of the Super Sunday showpieces for Matchday 7.
Southampton are also on the back of a decent result in European action, this time in the Europa League, having gained a creditable draw in Israel at Hapoel Be’er Sheva, becoming the first team to avoid defeat at the Israeli side’s new Turner Stadium.
Saints sit ninth in the fledgling Premier League table going into their clash with the defending champions, whilst the Foxes sit three places lower in 12th following their heavy defeat at Old Trafford last weekend.
Hosts Leicester have only two wins in their opening six games in the Premier League this season, and have taken two wins and two defeats from their last four games. Their three losses so far have equalled their total of defeats for the entirety of their title winning season with the fact they shipped four goals in two of those defeats adding to their misery.
However, manager Claudio Ranieri will be hopeful that his side can make their home form count here, with the Foxes unbeaten in their last 18 home matches in the Premier League. They can also draw confidence from the fact that they have beaten Southampton in their last three home meetings with Saints in all competitions.
Southampton initially started slowly under Claude Puel, but now have back-to-back league wins which has taken them up to ninth with a record of two wins, two draws and two defeats from their opening six. Creditable given their only losses have come against Manchester United and Arsenal. They are one point better off in the league than defending champions Leicester at the moment, but with no wins in three attempts at the King Power, Puel’s Saints will have a score to settle when they visit the East Midlands this weekend.
Leicester City predicted starting XI Southampton predicted starting XI
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After a tough encounter with FC Porto at the King Power on Tuesday, Claudio Ranieri is expected to make adjustments to the side that came out with a sensational 1-0 win over the Portuguese, but those changes will of course depend on the fitness of those who featured in midweek.
Demarai Gray and Shinji Okazaki are both in contention, but should be on the bench if Marc Albrighton and Islam Slimani- who netted in the week- prove their fitness. Danny Simpson however is expected to be recalled in place of Luis Hernandez. Daniel Amartey is the favourite to remain in centre-midfield as partner to playmaker Danny Drinkwater.
For Southampton, Charlie Austin’s four goals in his last three matches should render him a guaranteed starter alongside makeshift centre-forward Nathan Redmond, with Shane Long once again starting on the bench. Cedric Soares should retain his place at right-back with the other members of the back four Virgil Van Dijk, skipper José Fonte and Ryan Bertrand also keeping their places. Oriol Romeu is expected to remain the midfield anchor, flanked by Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Steven Davis, with Dusan Tadic in the Number Ten role behind the front two.
Leicester City are still without summer signing Nampalys Mendy, who is struggling with a knee injury. Jérémy Pied is out for Southampton with a knee problem of his own, whilst Florin Gardos is also absent. Club record-signing Sofiane Boufal is also sidelined with an injury to – you guessed it – his knee.
Leicester did away with the defensive problems that plagued them at Old Trafford in their display over Porto in midweek, which will be of huge encouragement for Ranieri and his men as they turn their attentions towards Puel’s Southampton side who seem to be hitting their stride. The Frenchmen rested players for their Europa League group match in Israel during the week in order to keep his side fresh ahead of their trip to the East Midlands, and Charlie Austin is one figure who will return to the fold here, and his manager will be hoping that he can maintain his rich vein of form in front of goal.
Saints are also solid at the back, having not shipped a goal in 450 minutes of football, but they have lost their last three games on the bounce at the King Power and have been unable to score on their previous two visits. For those in Claude Puel’s squad who did feature on Thursday, the long trip will certainly not help their cause, particularly given that Leicester will have had the advantage of an extra two days rest.
Leicester’s home record in itself is imperious, and although they are obviously finding it much tougher going on the road this season (with all three of their losses coming on their travels), they have managed to keep the King Power a fortress and it is a daunting prospect for any team to go there and try to take all three points. They’re due another win to keep their season ticking and the Foxes therefore should just shade this one to return to winning ways. Our call is Leicester City 2-1 Southampton at full-time.
Featured Image: All Rights Reserved by Alex Hannam.