17/10/2015: Saints 2-2 Leicester
Saints moved up to 8th; despite blowing a 2-0 lead against Leicester. Ronald Koeman's side looked to be in control going into the break, without playing particularly well. Saints couldn't get to grips with the ball in the 2nd half and Leicester thoroughly deserved their late equaliser.
Leicester caused a few problems in the opening stages of the game, with Kelvin Davis looking nervy on crosses. Saints were really sluggish during the first 15 minutes or so, with the visitors a lot crisper in possession. Leicester saw plenty of the ball, but didn't really probe their opponents.
Leicester's defending at set pieces was poor throughout the first-half, and Saints exploited this weakness. van Dijk had a header cleared off the line from James Ward-Prowse's 11th minute corner. Graziano Pelle then fired over from Cedric's cross. Saints struggled to build up much fluency, but were causing the Foxes problems by going direct. On 21 the home side took the lead. Jose Fonte nodded the ball into the opposite corner at the near post from a corner.
Leicester had a rare chance from Wes Morgan on 23, as the away side racked up a succession of corners. Saints soon started to take control of possession however. Sadio Mane looked to have curled the ball into the corner on 36, only for Kasper Schmeichel to pull off a superb save. From the resulting corner Saints made it 2-0. This time Ward-Prowse played it short to Mane. Pelle headed against the post, before van Dijk nipped in from close range.
Leicester came into it a bit more just before half-time. Davis tipped Danny Drinkwater's long ranger over the bar before Robert Huth blasted wide. At the other end Dusan Tadic shot straight at Schmeichel from distance.
Claudio Ranieri introduced Riyad Mahrez and Nathan Dyer at half-time. Leicester looked a lot more dynamic as a result. At first though, they were only really threatening from distance. Saints had chances to put the game beyond Leicester. Koeman's side created a few openings on the counter with long balls over the top of the away side's defence. Mane rounded Schmeichel about 30 yards from goal, but had the ball nicked off him before he had the chance to shoot. Mahrez curled the ball wide after Mane had given the ball away.
Koeman made a double substitution of his own on the hour, bringing on Jordy Clasie and Maya Yoshida for Steven Davis and Cedric. Unfortunately the change did not have the desired effect. Saints struggled to maintain possession, with Leicester growing more and more confident going forward. The absence of Davis in midfield left a hole that Clasie was unable to fill.
Having said all that, Saints could have made it 3-0 on 64, with Pelle shooting over from Mane's cutback. That miss proved to be a decisive moment in the match, with Leicester halving the deficit two minutes later. Jamie Vardy headed in at the near post following good work from Dyer on the right. The momentum was very much with Leicester during the last 20 minutes. Saints looked nervy in possession and failed to match the away side's energy levels. Vardy scooped the ball just over on 81. The same player then headed straight at Davis on 88. Vardy was presented with yet another opportunity in stoppage time and this time he made it count. The England striker sprung the offside trap before powering the ball into the roof of the net.
An ok result, but a disappointing performance. Even when Saints seemingly had the game under control the standard of football on display wasn't the most attractive. Koeman's team performed poorly in the second-half, and deserved to lose their lead. Saints gave up too much ground in midfield and some of the defensive work was weak. A point against a good Leicester side isn't the worst result in the world, but coming off the back of the incredible Chelsea win you would have hoped for something better.
K Davis: 5. Looked very unconvincing on crosses all afternoon and distribution poor. Made a few routine saves
Cedric: 6. Picked up from where he left off against Chelsea early on, before sustaining a nasty cut to the head for the third time this season
Fonte: 6. Took his goal well and reasonably decent at the back
van Dijk: 7. Not completely faultless but strong in the air and generally solid defensively
Bertrand: 5. A rare off day. Got beaten by his man on a few occasions and passing was sometimes disappointing
Wanyama: 6. Didn't exert his strength on the midfield enough
S Davis: 6. Influence was more noticeable after he was withdrawn
Ward-Prowse: 7. Good set piece delivery and battled hard in midfield
Tadic: 5. Anonymous for large portions of the game
Mane: 6. A few bursts of quality, particularly in the first half, but overall his decision making not up to the level it usually is
Pelle: 6. Involved in a few goalscoring opportunities, but finishing touch deserted him on this occasion
Clasie: 5. Looked very much off the pace
Yoshida: 6. Passable defensively
Rodriguez: 5. Struggled to get involved with the action
Saints: Fonte (21) van Dijk (37)
Leicester: Vardy (66, 90)
Attendance: 31,559 (2,650 Leicester fans)
Referee: Paul Tierney
Saints line-up: K Davis, Cedric (Yoshida 60), Fonte, van Dijk, Bertrand, Wanyama, S Davis (Clasie 60), Ward-Prowse, Tadic (Rodriguez 75), Mane, Pelle
Subs not used: Gazzaniga, Caulker, Romeu, Juanmi
Leicester line-up: Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan, Huth, Fuchs, Albrighton, Drinkwater, Kante, Schlupp (Dyer 46), Vardy, Okazaki (Mahrez 46)
Subs not used: Schwarzer, Benalouane, De Laet, King, Inler