Leicester City v Southampton Betting Preview: Latest odds, team news, tips and predictions
Leicester City face an interesting second half of the season following their elimination from the FA Cup. Marooned in seventh place in the Premier League seven points adrift of sixth placed Manchester United, but with a pack of teams directly below chasing them, it is unclear whether they have had a good first half of the season or not.
Leicester City vs Southampton
Premier League Sat, 12/01, 15:00 Stadium: King Power Stadium
*Odds correct at time of publication.
Motivation will clearly be a factor as they look to get over the shock of losing to 2-1 to Newport County in the FA Cup. In hindsight, manager Claude Puel may have started with his strongest available XI rather than tinkering too much from a relatively successful run of league results. This has realistically left a seventh place finish as their only realistic target for the remainder of the season.
Motivation however will be no issue for Ralph Hasenhuttl’s Southampton side, as they resume their battle against relegation following a disappointing 2-2 draw with Championship outfit Derby County in the FA Cup, in which they were leading 2-0. Prior to that, Southampton come into this match off the back of an encouraging 0-0 draw away at Chelsea, an inevitable defeat against Manchester City, and an away loss and win against West Ham and Huddersfield respectively. Whilst there are signs of life under Hasenhuttl, stringing together several results consistently has eluded him so far and which is something he quickly needs in order to pull out of the relegation zone.
Leicester come into this match off the back of a strong festive period, with a superb win away at Chelsea followed up by a shock victory at home to Manchester City, two of the standout results of the Premier League season to date. Consistency however has been their worst enemy this season – hot on the heels of the Chelsea and Manchester City victories, they limped to a disappointing 1-0 defeat at home to relegation threatened Cardiff City, suggesting that they may struggle to raise their game against lower placed teams. Tactically, Leicester seem to find it easier to play in their favoured counter attacking style against the big teams and find success, rather than having to take the initiative against teams they are expected to beat.
Leicester’s big players such as Jamie Vardy, James Maddison and Ricardo Pereira are all likely to be recalled to the starting XI after being benched for the shock defeat at Newport County, whilst other key personnel who did not even make the trip such as Ben Chilwell, Wilfred Ndidi and Harry Maguire are expected to go straight back into a strong starting lineup.
For Southampton, squad player Steven Davis has moved on back to Rangers, whilst a decision will need to be made who starts in goal for the Saints – Angus Gunn was outstanding in the draw at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea, but Alex McCarthy has strung together several impressive performances of his own this season. With no real injury concerns, attention will focus on the obvious need to strengthen their squad, with the expectation that there will be several players arriving in the coming weeks as they look to throw the dice one last time in an effort to stave off relegation.
The corresponding fixture earlier this season was decided by an injury time Harry Maguire winner after Southampton had been leading at 1-0, only to succumb 2-1 to the Leicester centre-backs late winner. In fact The Saints have not beaten Leicester in their last 4 outings, and it will be a tough afternoon again at The King Power Stadium.
If Leicester play with the same purpose and intensity that they showed against Chelsea and Manchester City, it is highly likely that Leicester should have more than enough to overcome Southampton. But given their vulnerability against lower placed teams, Southampton may have the belief they can catch the Foxes on an off day and nick a vital result in their battle against the drop.
*Odds correct at time of publication.