23/01/2012: Saints 0-2 Leicester

Saints were soundly beaten by Leicester City last night, in what was one of the worst displays in recent memory. Nigel Adkins's men were second best in every department, and deserved absolutely nothing from the game. Saints looked sloppy at the back, and lacked creativity going forward. Leicester were far more energetic, and controlled the game from start to finish. They overran the hosts in midfield, allowing them little time on the ball with their constant pressing. The Foxes dominated from the off, and took a deserved lead in the 15th minute. Matthew Mills's long ball found David Nugent out on the left hand side. The former Pompey man then proceeded to cut inside before firing an unstoppable shot into the corner of the net. It was a fantastic finish, although Nugent was given far too much time and space to get his strike away. Mills made it 2-0 on 26 minutes, heading in completely unmarked in the area from a Sean St Ledger cross. Saints never looked like they were capable of mounting a comeback, and there was little urgency to their play. They struggled to get any rhythm going, with simple passes going astray. That's not to say Saints didn't have chances. David Connolly missed a great opportunity when he went through one on one with the keeper, but his weak daisy cutter was never going to cause Kasper Schmeichel problems. Later in the half Morgan Schneiderlin skilfully worked an opening for Jack Cork, who blasted over from close range.

Steve De Ridder and Lee Holmes were brought on early in the second half, but there was little change. Saints were still distinctly unimpressive, and Leicester looked much more dangerous in the final third. The hosts did muster up a few chances still. Guly curled a shot just wide, while Frazer Richardson somehow managed to smash the ball well over from close range, following a Danny Fox free kick. Saints could have played all night and not scored however. The front two of Connolly and Guly did not work well together, and there was little support from midfield either. At the other end, Leicester could have added to their lead, with Paul Konchesky hitting the post from a free kick.

Saints's impressive form at the start of the season came about through great teamwork, with everyone pulling their weight. Last night was the complete opposite however. Not one player can say they did themselves justice, they were all poor. There were of course mitigating circumstances. Saints had Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana, Jose Fonte and Richard Chaplow all missing. There's not a team in the world that wouldn't struggle without four of their most influential players. That's not to say those that were out there shouldn't have done better. Bar one change, it was the same side that played so well at Nottingham Forest 9 days earlier. Saints were outfought and outsmarted by their opponents, and had little answer to Leicester's strong pressing game. It's not crisis time yet, but Saints need to improve as soon as possible in order to stop sliding any further down the table.

Attendance: 21,014 (592 Leicester fans)

Match Ratings:

Davis: 6. Two goals conceded, but coped with everything else fairly comfortably.

Harding: 4. Had an absolute nightmare, torn to shreds at right back

Martin: 5. Looked unconvincing from the opening minute. Not good enough to hold down a regular starting spot.

Hooiveld: 6. One of the better players, but still massively below his usual level.

Fox: 5. Incredibly sloppy in possession at times. Did ok filling in at centre back towards the end of the game.

Cork: 5. One brilliant defence splitting pass early on, but other than that way below par. Should have done better with his first half chance.

Hammond: 5. Worked hard, but gave the ball away too often.

Schneiderlin: 6. Fairly tidy in midfield, but not creative enough.

Falque: 5. Some decent touches here and there, but didn't really see much of the ball. Definitely not the ideal game to make your debut in to be fair.

Guly: 5. A few good flicks and tricks, but produce absolutely nothing in dangerous areas

Connolly: 5. Muscled off the ball too easily, and poor in front of goal

Substitutes:

De Ridder: 5. Improved things slightly for 10 minutes or so after coming on, but faded towards the end.

Holmes: 4. Added absolutely nothing, completely ineffective.

Richardson: 4. Didn't do an awful lot right. Missed an absolute sitter.