Saints made to settle for Leicester stalemate

By SFC Media time Thu 19 Apr Leicester v Saints
Photo by Matt Watson | Shane Long
Thu 19 Apr 7.45PM
Premier League
Leicester City
0
Southampton
0
Referee: Roger East | Venue: King Power Stadium | Attendance: 31,160

Southampton had to settle for a share of the spoils despite creating the better of the chances in a goalless draw at Leicester, as two more points slipped away in the survival race.

The Foxes, eighth in the table, had no obvious incentive and looked off the pace for the most part, but Saints were unable to take advantage and chalk up a much-needed win.

Shane Long came closest, shooting on the turn against goalkeeper Ben Hamer from close range, but there proved no way through.

Mark Hughes named an unchanged starting line-up after seeing a near-perfect display for 70 minutes dissolve into defeat against Chelsea at St Mary’s.

The hosts had just been beaten in a virtual Europa League play-off at Burnley and have little to play for, but some of their pressure-free football was easy on the eye.

Some slick interplay saw Jamie Vardy lay the ball off for Riyad Mahrez, whose low shot was not struck cleanly enough to trouble Alex McCarthy.

Then Mahrez turned provider, skipping down the right and pulling the ball back for Kelechi Iheanacho, who steered a deliberately-placed shot just beyond the far post with McCarthy rooted to the spot.

Saints’ first notable sight of goal would come after 19 minutes – a snapshot on the half-volley from Dušan Tadić that flashed just past the post.

Ben Hamer in the Leicester goal was making his first league start in a Foxes shirt for over three years, but remained largely untested by the end of the first half.

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 19: Shane Long of Southampton during the Premier League match between Leicester City and Southampton at The King Power Stadium on April 19, 2018 in Leicester, England. (Photo by Matt Watson/Southampton FC via Getty Images)
Shane Long was denied by Ben Hamer from a rare sight of goal

That’s not to say Saints did not create chances in that time. Long’s left-footed cross was inviting for Cédric, whose cause was helped by his opposite number losing balance, but the defender volleyed well wide.

Then Long escaped the Leicester defence with Tadić in support, but his attempted pass into the Serbian’s path was poorly executed.

Saints were certainly holding their own, while Leicester had surrendered the early momentum, but it remained a game short on chances.

So when the ball fell kindly for Long on the turn six yards out, you felt the net had to bulge, but instead Hamer spread himself to make a crucial save.

Hughes made his first move just shy of the hour, introducing Steven Davis from the bench for his first appearance in more than two months.

Leicester had been non-existent as an attacking force since the interval, but did burst into life 20 minutes from time when Marc Albrighton lofted a pass over the top for Vardy, who met it brilliantly on his left foot as the ball dropped, but McCarthy stuck out a hand to help it over.

The clock was ticking down and a goalless draw was not entirely satisfying for either team, as Hughes sent on Austin for Long in a bid to swing the balance.

But instead it was Leicester who finished the stronger, putting McCarthy under pressure from set-pieces, and a daisy-cutter into the keeper’s grasp was the only sight of goal Austin was afforded.

Leicester City

Head to Head Stats

Southampton
  • Possession (%)
    54
    comparison angle
    46
  • Shots
    11
    comparison angle
    6
  • Shots on target
    3
    comparison angle
    2
  • Corners
    11
    comparison angle
    3
  • Passes Complete
    360
    comparison angle
    280

Leicester City

12
Ben Hamer (GK)
11
Marc Albrighton
16
Aleksandar Dragovic
15
Harry Maguire
3
Ben Chilwell
25
Wilfred Ndidi
14
Adrien Silva
replace Harvey Barnes (91′)
26
Riyad Mahrez
7
Demarai Gray
replace Hamza Choudhury (91′)
9
Jamie Vardy (C)
8
Kelechi Iheanacho
replace Fousseni Diabaté (76′)
17
Eldin Jakupovic
5
Wes Morgan
33
Fousseni Diabaté
28
Christian Fuchs
2
Danny Simpson
38
Hamza Choudhury
32
Harvey Barnes

Southampton

13
Alex McCarthy (GK)
6
Wesley Hoedt
35
Jan Bednarek
3
Maya Yoshida
21
Ryan Bertrand (C)
2
Cédric Soares
14
Oriol Romeu
23
Pierre-Emile Højbjerg
replace Nathan Redmond (88′)
7
Shane Long
replace Charlie Austin (73′)
11
Dusan Tadic
16
James Ward-Prowse
replace Steven Davis (58′)
8
Steven Davis
44
Fraser Forster
26
Jérémy Pied
20
Manolo Gabbiadini
10
Charlie Austin
22
Nathan Redmond
39
Josh Sims
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