Leicester City played like a club that knew it would jump into second place in the Premier League with a win. Southampton, simultaneously, played like a team with a first-class ticket to the Championship.
It was a blowout from early on, as a ruthless Leicester City thrashed ten-man Southampton, 9-0, on Friday at Southampton’s home stadium, St. Mary’s. Ayoze Perez and Jamie Vardy each scored a hat-trick and left back Ben Chilwell scored and assisted on two others.
[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]
With the win, Leicester City set a new record for the largest-margin of victory in the top division of English soccer in history, dating back to 1888. It was also Southampton’s biggest defeat in club history.
3 things we learned
1. Leicester City is for real: It’s still very early in the season, but this match in the cold and rain of Southampton proves one thing. Leicester City can get up for both the big games and the relegation scraps. Facing a Southampton team that was desperate for a win, Leicester City mowed them down with precision and clinical counter attacks.
2. Is Hasenhuttl still the answer?: Ralph Hasenhuttl arrived at Southampton with the squad in the relegation zone and expertly pulled them to safety by season’s end. Now, Saints find themselves in the same spot, only this time its with Hasenhuttl in charge. There’s still time to turn things around but it’s not looking good.
3. Barnes/Chilwell combination: For nearly the entire match, Leicester City’s attacks came down the left wing. This included stellar combination play between the 22-year-old Chilwell and 21-year-old Harvey Barnes in midfield. Keep an eye on these two as their chemistry continues to improve.
The contrast between the two clubs couldn’t have been more stark. Leicester City in the ascendency, supremely confident and ready to play in the cold, rainy, and windy conditions. Meanwhile, Southampton, and manager Ralph Hasenhuttl, looked shellshocked as the Saints leaked goal after goal.
Leicester City went on the offensive early and often, and it quickly paid dividends to play with an attacking system on the road.
After some slick passing in the middle of the park in the 10th minute, the ball fell to Chilwell at the top of the box. His cross found Barnes open in the middle of the box, who’s strike was saved by Southampton goalkeeper Angus Gunn. However, Chilwell kept running while Southampton ball watched, and he easily slotted home. Moments later, referee Andre Mariner went to VAR to check a foul earlier in the buildup, and ended up showing a straight red card to Southampton’s Ryan Bertrand. Video replay showed Bertrand colliding studs up into Perez’s shin. The red card only exasperated the dire situation for Southampton.
In the 17th minute, Chilwell found space again down the left side and crossed into the middle. Jan Valery’s poor clearance fell right to the feet of Youri Tielemans, who couldn’t miss. One minute later, a one-two between Tielemans and Perez resulted in a third goal as Leicester City was running rampant.
Chilwell and Perez again combined for another goal, this time in the 40th minute, and then just before halftime, Chilwell set up Vardy with an easy header goal to put Leicester City up 5-0 at the break.
In the second half, Leicester City continued its pressure campaign, and it led to more goals.
Despite two Southampton changes at halftime, Perez and Vardy scored back-to-back goals in the 57th minute and 58th months to make it 7-0.
James Maddison fired home a terrific free kick goal in the 85th minute as Leicester City took its foot off the gas, and then Vardy secured his hat-trick after drawing, and then converting, a penalty kick.
With the win, Leicester City move into second place in the Premier League for the time being, until Chelsea and Man City have a chance to play and move ahead again. Meanwhile for Southampton, they sit in the relegation zone with just eight points from 10 games. A Norwich City win would drop Southampton to 19th place.
This story will be updated.