Leicester City 2-0 Saints
A run of disappointing results, and injuries and suspensions, required some action and manager Koeman duly restored Alderweireld to the back four for the visit to Leicester, leaving Wanyama, Reed, Elia and Steven Davis (who still doesn’t appear fully fit) in the midfield positions.
A total surprise was the inclusion of Gazzaniga for Kelvin Davis for reasons that have still to be explained satisfactorily. Gazza took a lot of flack for his performance, starting with blame for Mahrez’s first goal that, in the mind of many, condemned Saints to defeat after just 8 minutes. It looked a bit soft at the time, but maybe that’s harsh on a keeper who didn’t cost the megabucks that we spent on Forster, and lack of challenges by Reed and Davis contributed more to the setback.
Bertrand looked to provide a chance to get back into the game as he left James in his wake, largely because of an unlucky injury to the Foxes’ defender that saw him stretchered off. Then came a second goal, with Gazzaniga playing an unfortunate part because of a sliced clearance that went straight to Vardy. No question this time that the keeper was at fault, but his defenders were all drawn to a situation that should have been comfortable enough for Clyne to deal with on his own, and Mahrez was completely unmarked when the ball came across.
2-0 at half time didn’t flatter Leicester and it’s come as a huge surprise to find stats showing that Saints dominated possession in this period. Long and Djuričić came on to try to rescue the situation, as they had to, but a Mané shot pushed over the bar was the only real chance for the visiting fans to cheer – well, that and a good reception for former skipper Dean Hammond’s brief appearance, which was reciprocated by the player.
Four Southampton men, led by Alderweireld, threw their shirts into the visitors’ enclosure at the end in what seemed to be an act of contrition for this and other recent poor performances.
LSSC Man of the Match: Ryan Bertrand, despite unsolicited votes for Reed – I put them down to a reward for effort rather than positive contributions, and Reed’s involvement, or lack of, in the first goal denies him the award (even if it was Davis who was more to blame).