Southampton, the surprise package of the season, host a Leicester City side struggling for form this weekend, Gavin Bergin previews the game.
What a feeling it must be to be a Southampton fan this season. They continue to roll on despite the very public clear-out at the club during the summer. They’ve unearthed a new hero, or rather two new heroes, in the shape of Graziano Pelle and Dusan Tadic; the former with six goals so far and the latter with six assists.
They go into this game having won their last four home games on the trot, so the Saints will be in confident mood that they can build on this run of form against a Leicester team that have struggled of late.
Pelle has had a similar habit to that of Sergio Aguero, in that he not only scores regularly but scores important goals and he’s become an integral part of an excellent Southampton side.
Should he pick up an injury, Southampton will struggle to replace his goals as his expected replacement Shane Long has yet to find the net in the league this season. Ronald Koeman spoke this week about the direction the club is going in, and it was refreshing to hear a manager, of a supposed smaller team, come out with these coments:
“We would like to continue in the good direction, like the club is heading in the past three-four years. Of course the next step is playing in Europe. We know that it’s a dream for the club, it’s a dream for the fans and we have to do it. I have confidence that we can reach that. Then we have to keep our ambition and spirit in the team and that’s the most important thing we have to bring on a daily basis.”
Take note, Alan Pardew and the Newcastle hierarchy.
For all the plaudits that Nigel Pearson’s Leicester (rightly) received earlier in the season, they now find themselves sitting in the relegation zone on a run of three straight defeats. Still plenty of time to get back on track for the Foxes, but it’s a concern for Pearson that their form has turned sour so markedly since their famous 5-3 victory over Manchester United.
In particular they seem to have lost their goalscoring touch since that game also, only scoring against Burnley since that game. It was always going to be a tough season for Leicester having come up from the Championship, a fact that may have been lost on people by the way they performed during a very tough set of opening fixtures.
The frustration for Pearson will be that they have performed better in the games against the bigger teams in the league, while taking just one point from teams they would expect to pick up something against.
The Saints to continue their excellent home form and leave Leicester looking forward to the international break to get a chance to regroup.
Southampton 2-0 Leicester City
Gavin Bergin, Pundit Arena