By 90Min
December 12, 2017

Southampton are now without a win in three, despite their obvious improvement in general play. Mauricio Pellegrino is now beginning to implement his philosophy at St Mary's and fans are becoming increasingly impressed with the quality of the controlled, possession style football.

The Argentinian manager will be extremely frustrated after his outfit's dogged and creative performance on Sunday, as Arsenal managed to secure a point late on through a rare attack - Olivier Giroud scoring and matching Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's record for goals off the bench in the process. 


However, there's no time for anguish in the busy festive period in England's top flight, as the Saints host high-flying Leicester City on Wednesday evening.


Claude Puel's return to his old club is likely to be the main talking point, as the Frenchman looks to prove Southampton wrong for dismissing him last June. His resurgent outfit come into the match-up bolstered by three consecutive victories in the league campaign and look to be a different animal since the accommodation of Mahrez, Albrighton, and Gray in the starting 11.


Classic Encounter

FBL-ENG-PR-SOUTHAMPTON-LEICESTER

Leicester City fans wont want reminding of this one...

The Saints heaped pressure on the Foxes' legendary coach Claudio Ranieri last January with an emphatic 3-0 victory at St Mary's.

Puel's men had lost their last four games in all competitions, but turned up to rout against a struggling Leicester outfit.


Dusan Tadic's late penalty ensured the Foxes - who were in pursuit of a first away win in the  season - remained in deep trouble in 15th place, five points above the relegation zone with Ranieri's side conceding 37 goals that term - more than they shipped throughout the whole of the title-winning campaign.

James Rodruigez and James Ward Prowse also netted on that significant day, as what was supposed to be a tight affair actually contributed heavily to the board's decision to dismiss the Italian coach.


Key Battle


Riyad Mahrez vs Virgil van Dijk

Michael Regan/GettyImages

The key battle in this fixture will likely play out between star stalwart Virgil van Dijk and Algerian maestro Riyad Mahrez.

Mahrez has returned to the rich reign of form that saw him rewarded with the accolade of Premier League Player of the Year in 2016 and is sure to start, after netting a sensational long shot on Saturday against Newcastle.

The playmaker on his day is close to unplayable and it will be up to the imposing figure of Van Dijk to disrupt him and at all costs, to show the player down the line and keep him off his left foot, or the Saints could meet the same fate as the Foxes' last three opponents.


Team News

Catherine Ivill/GettyImages

Thankfully for this fixture it seems there are no notable injuries in the context of both sides' recent form.

Long-term absentees Matty James and Robert Huth will both miss the fixture while they continue lengthy rehabilitations - having already missed upwards of 20 games each this year.

Southampton are fully equipped with no injuries currently recorded at this time.


Predicted Line-ups


Southampton: Forster, Stephens, Yoshida, Van Dijk, Bertrand, Romeu, Hojbjerg, Ward-Prowse, Tadic, Boufal, Austin


Leicester City: Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan, Maguire, Fuchs, Albrighton, Ndidi, Iborra, Gray, Mahrez, Vardy


Prediction

Dan Mullan/GettyImages

In terms of head-to-head statistics, Southampton have won 32 matches to Leicester's 25 while the remaining 27 have been draws.

Leicester are in fine form with Puel managing to secure three consecutive Premier League wins for the first time in his career but will face stiff competition in Southampton. The Saints' attractive footballing style has been compared to that of Pep Guardiola's seemingly untouchable Manchester City, but the results aren't coming at the moment.

Leicester notoriously struggle against teams that dominate the ball in recent times and Southampton are certainly capable of doing that. Sooner or later the fruits of their labour have to come to fruition and Wednesday could very well be the night.

Southampton 3-1 Leicester City 

You May Like