Leicester City head into the final stretch of the season five points clear of title rivals Spurs and Sunday’s clash against Southampton will be the first obstacle on the road to the Premier League title. The Saints are flying high after coming from two goals behind to beat Liverpool and they will now want to put a dent into Foxes’ title bid.
Leicester City are enjoying a dream season on so many levels and the club even managed to profit during the international break. While both Danny Drinkwater and N’Golo Kante were handed international debuts, the Frenchman and Jamie Vardy also scored for their respective sides, so chances are the Foxes dressing room will be buzzing ahead of the business end of the season. Four 1-0 wins in last five Premier League fixtures prove that nerves are not going to be the problem for Claudio Ranieri’s men, who appear to have effortlessly made the transition from relegation strugglers to title contenders. With title rivals Tottenham set for a difficult trip to Anfield, Leicester could even increase their advantage at the top if they defeat Southampton, and that should be enough incentive for the Foxes to give their best. Claudio Ranieri’s charges have not exactly turned on the style of late, but they are getting the job done, and having recorded four wins to nil in last five fixtures at King Power Stadium, they can be trusted to see off revived Saints as well.
Andy King was left out of the Wales squad for March friendlies through a combination of illness and hamstring problem, but he should be fit to play.
There have been no problems with Leicester’s international players during the two-week break, meaning Claudio Ranieri will have fully fit squad to pick from.
It is fair to say that Southampton did not exactly realise their potential this season, but they now sit just four points behind Champions League positions, even though their top 4 rivals all have a game in hand. Consistency has proved to be the biggest issue this term, as the team have been blowing hot and cold from the very start, with their last league fixture nicely summing up what has been going on this season. After finally ending the barren run with a 2-1 triumph over Stoke at Britannia, Southampton were two goals down midway through the first period of the home clash against Liverpool, and things did not look too promising as the team withdrew for the half-time break. But, the introduction of Sadio Mane changed everything as the Senegalese helped the Saints record a 3-2 victory, despite missing a penalty in the process. Southampton will now be hoping to keep the momentum going when they take on surprise Premier League leaders, and three wins in last five away fixtures are enough to give Ronald Koeman’s men reason for optimism.
Ryan Bertrand withdrew from the England squad and he will be assessed ahead of the Leicester City game, with Matt Target ready to deputize if needed.
Charlie Austin and Jay Rodriguez are both close to returning to the side, but Florin Gardos will not be back for another couple of weeks.
Key Factors to Consider
- Leicester won three of last five meetings with Saints (D1 L1)
- The Foxes won three of last four home games vs Southampton
- Leicester have four goals to nil in last five matches
- The Foxes kept six clean sheets in last eight home fixtures
- Southampton won three of last six away games
Leicester City have proved time and again that they have learned to cope with the pressure and after Vardy, Drinkwater and Kante put in strong performances during international break, the Foxes head into the Southampton clash high on confidence. The Saints are also in good spirits after the great comeback against Liverpool, but we don’t think they can get something from King Power Stadium.
Verdict: Home win
Best Odds: 5/4