Southampton made it six games unbeaten in all competitions as they held Premier League champions Leicester City to a 0-0 draw at the King Power Stadium, though Charlie Austin missed a golden chance for the visitors in the second-half.
After an indifferent start to the season, Claude Puel’s side have been in terrific form of late and frustrated Leicester for large spells of Sunday’s clash, with Austin hitting the woodwork early on.
Claudio Ranieri’s men did look dangerous in parts, with Jamie Vardy guilty of squandering a gilt-edged opportunity before half-time.
Austin showed similar profligacy with a misjudged chip midway through a second half of few clear-cut chances, with substitute Shinji Okazaki also flashing a header wide at the other end.
However, despite late attempts from James Ward-Prowse and Leonardo Ulloa, neither side could find a winner as they settled for a share of the spoils.
On the back of their 3-0 win over West Ham last time out, Southampton started brightly, with in-form Austin – looking to impress interim England manager Gareth Southgate, who was watching from the stands – testing Kasper Schmeichel with a powerful header.
Austin was causing havoc for Leicester’s defence and he went agonisingly close to putting Southampton ahead shortly after, hitting the left-hand upright with a superb half-volley from an acute angle.
But it was Leicester who should have had the lead on the half-hour mark, Vardy capitalising on Virgil van Dijk’s underhit back-pass.
The England forward skipped past Fraser Forster, but Oriol Romeu somehow got back to prevent Vardy, and then Islam Slimani, from putting the hosts in front.
Romeu very nearly cost his side moments later though, the Spaniard conceding possession on the edge of Southampton’s area, but Jose Fonte managed to make a timely intervention.
The second half started slowly, with Southampton eventually turning on the style with a fantastic passing move, but Nathan Redmond could only direct a tame attempt straight at Schmeichel.
Austin should have had his sixth goal in five matches in all competitions on the hour-mark when he was teed up by Van Dijk, but the former Burnley striker elected to try and chip Schmeichel rather than go for power, allowing Leicester’s goalkeeper to make a comfortable save.
Ranieri’s side reacted well, Drinkwater hitting the side-netting before stinging the hands of Forster with a rasping shot from 30 yards out.
Okazaki was introduced with just over 20 minutes remaining, and almost had an immediate impact when he connected with a cross from the left, but his header sailed wide.
Both sides could have won it late on, but Ward-Prowse and Ulloa failed to direct their respective efforts on target as it finished all-square.
Key Opta stats:
– Leicester have won just eight points from their opening seven games; the joint-second lowest return by a defending PL champion (also Chelsea eight points in 2015-16).
– Leicester have lost only one of their 11 home Premier League games against the Saints (W7 D3).
– Southampton are unbeaten in their last six matches in all competitions, keeping six clean sheets in the process (W4 D2).
– Leicester have drawn as many games 0-0 this season after seven games as they did in the entire 2015-16 campaign (2).
– The Foxes have failed to score for just the second time in their last 27 matches in all competitions.
– Oriol Romeu made six tackles for Southampton; at least twice as many as any of his teammates.
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