The young Southampton team will make a 150-mile journey to Leicester, as they go head to head with Brendan Rodgers’ squad.
Having accumulated a singular point each, will look to topple each other out as they look for their first three-point bout this season – which will not only help to just get above the pile but to also gain some momentum that can help overcome a poor start to the new campaign.
While Saints’ have boarded the wagon to qualitative starlets with high ceiling, Leicester City have had a dry summer and are in need of reinforcements as others look for that exit doors. It remains to be seen if the Foxes sign a new player or not with whatever is left of the window, but if not then the Leicester fans might be getting themselves ready for another meh season – barring any miracles!
When & Where?
Venue: King Power Stadium.
Day/Date: Saturday, 20th August 2022.
Time: 4:00 pm BST.
Referee: Jonathan Moss.
Assistant Referees: Marc Perry, Shaun Hudson.
Fourth Official: Leigh Doughty.
VAR Official: Michael Oliver.
For the home camp, all eyes will be on the Jaime Vardy and James Maddison duo as they will look to infiltrate the Saints’ defence consisting of the likes of Bella Kotchap, Stephens and Salisu as a monstrous back 3. Meanwhile, both the teams have their set of injuries, but the Foxes have it in abundance as the trio of Harvey Barnes, Ryan Bertrand and Ricardo Pereira are still out populating the treatment room.
Ralph Hasenhuttl will still be without Theo Walcott and the long-time absentee Livramento. On the other hand, Brendan Rogers is left with no choice but to play the same playing XI and hope for the best that the players start performing.
While his counterpart has a welcoming dilemma, and it will be interesting to see if the German puts Aribo and Mara in the Saints’ starting line-up on Saturday – given how well the pair performed against Leeds United, coming from the bench.
Leicester City should look for a victory in their upcoming clash against Southampton, at the King Power. A chance to get the first win of the season and also get the season back on track, because we all know that these losses and draws would only tend to slow down the team’s progress come the end of the season. And, despite all the rivalries they share, still, none of the Premier League fans expect the Foxes to finish below mid-table; even that is an average finish, showing how high they have set their standards – in a good way.
But at the same time, Leicester’s past two seasons have been a perfect example of the fact that “Consistency is Key”, which the Foxes have lacked majorly. Players like Maddison, and Vardy, who were supposed to take the team’s success to new heights, have seemed to have slowed down. Especially in the last season, the club’s leading scorer – Jaime Vardy, was unable to lead the pack from front. And in turn, this also reflected upon the rest of the team’s dependency on the talisman, causing a dent in their hopes of finishing any higher on the table than they actually did (8th).
On the other hand, Southampton under Ralph Hasenhuttl have made a reputation of being surprise packages in games where they are the outright underdogs. But somehow it still does not feel enough as the Saints merely make it to the mid-table, and most of the time they have been finishing below 12th. The fans expect at least a top 10 finish from their team, and rightly so!
As mentioned above, in some of the matches they really outperform themselves and seeing them perform like for example they did against Tottenham last season, it was really a measure of how this group of players have been developing under Hasenhuttl.
So a level of consistency is what is required within the squad, which has been seriously lacking. And as for their upcoming challenge in Leicester, well, it is always a tough time facing an opponent who thrashed you the last time-out. The Saints fell to a shocking 4-1 thrashing from the Foxes on the final day of the last season.
Referring to that defeat, the German gaffer of the club had this to say before the clash against their fierce opponents on Saturday: “I still must say that I cannot follow what happened there at that time. This was definitely decisive for this game. It’s always a motivation when you lose a game but when you lose it in this way even more. The way was absolutely not right and not fair. We got punished for something that was not right. It’s gone and we cannot win [that] game but we can win this game on the weekend and this is the goal and this is why we’re going there with all of the motivation we need to have.”
Whether or not either of these sides come out of a victory, or it might end up being a stalemate, it is not long before we will get to know that. But, one thing is clear that it is going to be a battle and a half at the King Power Stadium.
Jamie Vardy (Leicester City)
All eyes will be on the club’s top goalscorer and the Talisman, Jamie Vardy, to get his team through in front of the home crowd on Saturday. Vardy has scored a total of 133 goals and has assisted another 46 in just 297 games, and this is just in the Premier League (since 2014/15). No wonder he has been the most preferred of all the picks for the numerous managers that the Foxes have seen in the past since their rise to the top.
Despite the addition of Patson Daka last season, Vardy has been in the thick of picks and an ever-reliant figure in the camp. And this season would not be any different, as Brendan Rogers will once again expect the Englishman to outscore his competitors helping Leicester to a good overall season.
James Ward-Prowse (Southampton)
James Ward-Prowse had another tremendous season (2021/22) with the Saints, helping them maintain their position in the Premier League. Season-in-season-out the Saints’ skipper has showed quality on the pitch, this much consistency is what the modern-day players thrive for and Ward-Prowse has worked hard for it. Even one of the best managers in the world- Pep Guardiola- could not hold himself back and heaped a lot of praise for his scoring ability from a set-piece, calling him “one of the world’s best Free Kick taker”.
And as for the travelling Saints Saturday could be when they might require the most from their Captain. But they also know that they have got a true leader in the Englishman. And Ward-Prowse has already scored a screamer in the first game of the season, so he might just need an invitation to break the backline of the struggling Leicester defence on Saturday in the packed King Power Stadium.
Leicester City predicted XI vs Southampton: Ward; Fofana, Evans, Amartey; Castagne, Tielemans, Ndidi, Dewsbury-Hall, Justin; Maddison; Vardy.
Southampton predicted XI vs Leicester City: Bazunu; Bella Kotchap, Stephens, Salisu; Walker-Peters, Ward-Prowse, Lavia, Djenepo; Aribo, Mara; A. Armstrong.