Southampton (0-1-1) vs Leicester City (1-0-1)
Premier League action: Saturday, August 25th @ 9:00 AM (ET) (St Mary’s Stadium)
Odds: Southampton +130/ Leicester City +225/ Draw +225
Premier League Free Pick Leicester City vs Southampton
Southampton will be looking to finally kick start their 2018-19 campaign with a first win of the season against a Leicester team who are still looking to deal with the loss of influential winger Riyad Mahrez.
The Saints have started this season in the same vain as they ended the last. A 0-0 draw against Burnley on the opening weekend flattered to deceive fans of any expectations that they might have had on European football come May. Southampton were favorites heading into that game as Burnley were fielding a team that had travelled for a Europa League game only three days earlier. The keepers ended the game very much on top with Saint’s stopped Alex McCarthy receiving the man of the match award.
It didn’t get much better in their second league outing on their trip to big-spenders Everton. A cleverly worked free kick allowed Theo Walcott to open the scoring at Goodison Park before a second header in as many games allowed Richarlison to double the Toffees lead. The one bright spark of the game came in the form of Southampton’s consolation goal- a debut goal for Danny Ings who arrived on a season-long loan from Liverpool on deadline day. Manager Mark Hughes was left frustrated on the side line and criticized the referee for his failure to send of Jordan Pickford for a challenge that would have seen the Everton stopped to be highly unfortunate to even receive a yellow card!
It has been the case of ‘same old story’ so far for Southampton fans with the club lacking in killer threat and even struggling to keep the ball for long periods of the game. They have been outclassed by both Burnley and Everton in the opening games, having 42% and 48% possession respectively in both games. This is compounded by the fact that so far this season they have the 3rd worst number of passes completed in the league. The manager is already under pressure and with fans questioning where the creativity and desire is, it could be a pretty toxic atmosphere on the South Coast.
Saint’s summer business has also been underwhelming with only Scott Armstrong brought in alongside Ings. Armstrong however did show signs of promise in the opening game but was left out of the starting lineup for their second game of the season. Leicester’s summer business was more of a success, with the club able to keep hold of England World Cup star and Manchester United target- Harry Maguire.
Much of the talk building up to the opening game of the season was revolved around Maguire with Leicester’s first game taking place at Old Trafford. Goals from Paul Pogba and Luke Shaw ensured that the Foxes kicked off the season with a loss. But, Jamie Vardy’s late goal ensured they did go home with at least something to build on.
Pressure was building on Claude Puel ahead of the second game of the season and their first at the King Power Stadium. Fans have been restless with the style of play under the Frenchmen and the crowd were eager to share their thoughts with him throughout the game. Leicester however did manage to beat newly promoted Wolves 2-0, they opened the scoring after an own goal by Matt Doherty and shortly doubled their lead after a brilliant curling effort from 20-yards out by James Maddison- his first goal for the club.
It wasn’t all plain sailing for Leicester as Wolves did hit the crossbar twice and the post once in the first 45 minutes. Late in the game, they also lost star-striker Jamie Vardy, who was sent-off for a horrific challenge on Conor Coady. Meaning Vardy will miss their trip to St Mary’s on Saturday- something that Puel will hope that they do not regret. Last season’s meeting at St Mary’s ended in a comprehensive 4-1 victory for the Foxes with goals from Shinji Okasaki, Andy King and two from their former Algerian superstar Riyad Mahrez. The return game however, was a lot more evenly managed with the result being a 0-0 draw- in a game of very few chances.
CTS 365 FREE PREMIER LEAGUE PREDICTION LEICESTER CITY VS SOUTHAMPTON
This match could easily go both ways. It could be jam-packed with goals or it could be a boring and dull 0-0 draw. In all fairness, I could not make a case for Southampton to win this game and Leicester- even without Vardy- have enough firepower to comprehensively get the three points here. Kelechi Iheanacho had a wonderful pre-season and will likely start the game in place of the suspended Englishman and he will see this as a big chance to cement his place in the team.
[button type=”big” color=”red”] Pick: Leicester City +225[/button]