Leicester City 0:0 Southampton
After a bright start City’s performance dropped away as they failed to find a way through Southampton’s defence at the KPS on Thursday night….
Claude Puel had declared this to be: “The beginning of next season”, which wasn’t good news for captain Morgan or Simpson, who were both dropped, with Dragovic returning to the centre of defence and Albrighton at right back. Hamer and Iheanacho came in for the injured Schmeichel and Okazaki.
On an unseasonably balmy April evening, City got off to a decent start against a poor looking Saints side who are staring relegation down the barrel.
Some good passing moves opened up a couple of chances, though Vardy’s shot was blocked, and Mahrez didn’t test McCarthy with a tame shot.
In the 14th minute Iheanacho had a shot blocked and fell over, but quickly regained his feet to send a shot on the turn narrowly wide of the left hand post.
The Saints first chance arrived three minutes later, but Tadic sent a long range effort wide.
The game then settled into something of a stalemate, with plenty of sideways passing from City, and Southampton sitting back despite being in desperate need of the win.
Ndidi hit a long range shot straight at McCarthy, before the visitors almost broke through a minute before half time. With Tadic and Long faced only by Maguire, Long appeared to be unable to decide whether to pass or shoot and his heavy touch was gathered by Hamer. The visitors were the better side up to the break, but a series of crosses were dealt with by City’s defence.
Half time signalled a bit of booing from a home crowd who hadn’t seen a win since January.
There was a scare for City soon after the break when Dragovic went down injured, and waved at the bench as though his game was done, but he recovered after treatment.
Another scare soon followed when a loose ball in the area fell for Long, but his shot on the turn was well smothered by Hamer.
City best chance arrived in the 70th minute when a long ball from Albrighton cleared the Saints defence and Vardy got a toe to it, but McCarthy tipped it over the bar.
Claude Puel made his first change in the 76th minute, bringing on Diabaté for Iheanacho, but City were struggling to find any cutting edge up front.
Diabaté beat his man down the left, but his cross/shot found the sidenetting.
In the closing stages City peppered the Saints area with crosses and corners, but were lacking an aerial presence and they were routinely cleared.
The best chance came from a Chilwell cross which Hoedt sliced over his own bar.
Puel made a double change in time added on, Choudhury and Barnes replacing Gray and Silva, and City’s final chance came when an Ndidi shot was was deflected wide.
There was booing at the final whistle as the run of winless home games stretched to five.
Claude Puel was happy enough: “It was a good performance without a good result. It’s important to keep this good level and to find the clinical edge at the end.”
Leicester: Hamer, Albrighton, Dragovic, Maguire, Chilwell, Mahrez, Silva (Barnes 90), Ndidi, Gray (Choudhury 90), Iheanacho (Diabaté 76), Vardy.
Substitutes: Simpson, Morgan, Jakupovic, Fuchs.
Southampton: McCarthy, Bednarek, Yoshida, Hoedt, Soares, Romeu, Højbjerg (Redmond 88) Bertrand, Ward-Prowse (Davis 58), Tadic, Long (Austin 73).
Substitutes: Gabbiadini, Pied, Sims, Forster.
Referee: R East. Attendance: 31,160.
PHOTOS: Simon Kimber.
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