Saints held to goalless draw at Leicester

Shane Long

Southampton remain four points from safety following a desperate performance against Leicester in a goalless draw at the King Power.

Leicester striker Kelechi Iheanacho went close in the first half before Southampton’s Shane Long was denied from close range after the break.

Saints keeper Alex McCarthy then tipped over Jamie Vardy’s prodded effort.

The Saints, who face Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-final on Sunday, are now winless in eight games.

Cedric Soares and Dusan Tadic had tame efforts in a first half which was dominated by Leicester, for whom Vardy and Iheanacho posed a bigger threat.

Riyad Mahrez and Marc Albrighton linked up successfully with Vardy on a number of occasions but the striker could not add to his tally after scoring eight in his last 10 Premier League games.

Long’s poked effort was the best chance of the game but Southampton lacked ruthlessness in front of goal.

And it was Leicester who pushed for a winner in the closing stages as Southampton’s search for safety was dealt another blow.

They return to league action on 28 April when they host south coast neighbours Bournemouth.

Saints miss chance to salvage hope

Southampton looked short of ideas and low on confidence as they were forced to settle for a draw in a performance symptomatic of a team fighting to get out of the bottom three.

It took until the 18th minute for the visitors to have a tame shot on goal and they recorded just one touch in Leicester’s box before the half-hour mark.

And when Long fluffed his attempted cut-back just moments before the half-time whistle, manager Mark Hughes thrust his arms into the air in frustration and turned back to the bench with a huff.

Graphic

There was a slight improvement towards the end of the first half – Ryan Bertrand and Cedric Soares had promising efforts on goal – but it was still a timid end to a fairly lacklustre opening 45 minutes.

Southampton showed more intensity in the second half and should have taken the lead when Long’s poke from close range was blocked by goalkeeper Ben Hamer.

But in the end they had to settle for a draw which is not the result Southampton would have hoped for in their quest to avoid relegation for the first time since 2012.

The Saints have recorded just one league victory in their last 21 games – against bottom club West Brom – and they missed a chance to pick up all three points against a comfortable Leicester side who had the freedom to experiment slightly.

Southampton can enjoy the prospect of an FA Cup semi-final on Saturday, which is a rare opportunity for fans to be optimistic, but their future in the Premier League looks to be coming to an end.

They have four games remaining to pick up as many points as possible but with champions Manchester City visiting on the final day, Southampton’s hopes look slim.

Remaining fixtures graphic

Puel makes changes

Leicester’s performance epitomised that of a team comfortably in mid-table and with little to play for as the season reaches its conclusion.

Ex-Saints manager Claude Puel used the game as an opportunity to test out new formations and partnerships ahead of next season.

Marc Albrighton played on the right of a back four in a 4-4-1-1 formation but was still able to present a threat with his delivery – providing several chances for Vardy in the second half.

And Vardy also linked up well with Iheanacho – who made his fourth start of the season – creating chances during a bright spell when they dominated in the first half.

But aside from a few tweaks, it was a relatively forgettable performance from Leicester as they rarely peppered Southampton’s goal in a match which lacked quality.

Kelechi Iheanacho

Another goalless draw – the best of the stats

  • This was the 27th 0-0 draw in the Premier League this season, equalling the tally from 2016-17 (27) but with four matchdays remaining.
  • Southampton have been involved in five of these goalless draws in 2017-18; more than any other side.
  • The Saints didn’t attempt a single shot on target until the 57th minute of this match. They only attempted one more in the game, and that came in the 90th minute.
  • Leicester have collected 44 points this season, level with their points tally in the whole of 2016-17.
  • Southampton (29 points) need three points from their remaining four league games of the season to even match their worst-ever points tally in a Premier League season (32 in 2004-05, when they finished bottom).
  • After winning the 2015-16 Premier League title with 23 wins to their name, Leicester City have won the exact same number of matches (23) in 72 games since August 2016.
  • Wilfred Ndidi made six tackles in this match; double the number of any other player. Overall this season, he’s made the most tackles in the competition (135); 29 more than any other player.

What’s next?

Leicester next match isn’t until Saturday, 28 April when they travel to Crystal Palace (15:00 BST).

Southampton take on Chelsea in the semi-finals of the FA Cup on Sunday (15:00 BST) before returning to league action on Saturday, 28 April when they host Bournemouth (15:00 BST).

Line-ups

Leicester

  • 12Hamer
  • 11Albrighton
  • 16Dragovic
  • 15Maguire
  • 3Chilwell
  • 26Mahrez
  • 14Adrien SilvaSubstituted forBarnesat 90+1′minutes
  • 25Ndidi
  • 7GraySubstituted forChoudhuryat 90+1′minutes
  • 8IheanachoSubstituted forDiabatéat 76′minutes
  • 9Vardy

Substitutes

  • 2Simpson
  • 5Morgan
  • 17Jakupovic
  • 28Fuchs
  • 32Barnes
  • 33Diabaté
  • 38Choudhury

Southampton

  • 13McCarthy
  • 35Bednarek
  • 3Yoshida
  • 6Hoedt
  • 2Soares
  • 14Romeu
  • 23HøjbjergSubstituted forRedmondat 88′minutes
  • 21Bertrand
  • 16Ward-ProwseSubstituted forDavisat 58′minutes
  • 11Tadic
  • 7LongSubstituted forAustinat 73′minutes

Substitutes

  • 8Davis
  • 10Austin
  • 20Gabbiadini
  • 22Redmond
  • 26Pied
  • 39Sims
  • 44Forster
Referee:
Roger East
Attendance:
31,160

Match Stats

Home TeamLeicesterAway TeamSouthampton
Possession
Home54%
Away46%
Shots
Home11
Away6
Shots on Target
Home3
Away2
Corners
Home11
Away3
Fouls
Home10
Away10

Live Text

Match ends, Leicester City 0, Southampton 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Leicester City 0, Southampton 0.

Corner, Leicester City. Conceded by Cédric Soares.

Corner, Leicester City. Conceded by Wesley Hoedt.

Attempt blocked. Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Riyad Mahrez.

Attempt missed. Harvey Barnes (Leicester City) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Ben Chilwell with a cross.

Substitution

Substitution, Leicester City. Harvey Barnes replaces Adrien Silva.

Substitution

Substitution, Leicester City. Hamza Choudhury replaces Demarai Gray.

Attempt saved. Charlie Austin (Southampton) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Dusan Tadic.

Substitution

Substitution, Southampton. Nathan Redmond replaces Pierre-Emile Højbjerg.

Offside, Leicester City. Marc Albrighton tries a through ball, but Harry Maguire is caught offside.

Demarai Gray (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Oriol Romeu (Southampton).

Corner, Leicester City. Conceded by Wesley Hoedt.

Attempt missed. Adrien Silva (Leicester City) left footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right following a corner.

Corner, Leicester City. Conceded by Ryan Bertrand.

Corner, Leicester City. Conceded by Alex McCarthy.

Corner, Leicester City. Conceded by Cédric Soares.

Attempt missed. Fousseni Diabaté (Leicester City) left footed shot from a difficult angle and long range on the left is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Demarai Gray.

Jamie Vardy (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Jan Bednarek (Southampton).

Corner, Leicester City. Conceded by Oriol Romeu.

Substitution

Substitution, Leicester City. Fousseni Diabaté replaces Kelechi Iheanacho.

Demarai Gray (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (Southampton).

Corner, Southampton. Conceded by Riyad Mahrez.

Substitution

Substitution, Southampton. Charlie Austin replaces Shane Long.

Foul by Marc Albrighton (Leicester City).

Dusan Tadic (Southampton) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (Southampton).

Corner, Leicester City. Conceded by Alex McCarthy.

Attempt saved. Jamie Vardy (Leicester City) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Marc Albrighton.

Corner, Leicester City. Conceded by Wesley Hoedt.

Marc Albrighton (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Dusan Tadic (Southampton).

Offside, Leicester City. Demarai Gray tries a through ball, but Jamie Vardy is caught offside.

Foul by Harry Maguire (Leicester City).

Shane Long (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Marc Albrighton (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

goal

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