Leicester City – Southampton: Leicester City kept its slim lead lonely deep into stoppage time but ultimately was the superior side in a 2-0 defeat of Southampton at the King Power Stadium on Saturday.
James Maddison pummeled a goal from an acute angle following a Youri Tielemans through ball and then celebrated in socially-distant style. Tielemans later set up Harvey Barnes for the second goal on what was almost the last kick of the game.
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The Foxes move second with 35 points, two more than Liverpool and one back of Manchester United before the first- and third-place clubs meet Sunday. They will be worried, too, about the fate of Jamie Vardy after the star limped off the pitch in the second half.
Saints had more possession and put three shots on target but badly missed Danny Ings and Oriol Romeu in stalling on 29 points for eighth place after 18 matches.
Three things we learned from Leicester City – Southampton
1. Max Power Maddison: James Maddison’s goal was a wonderstrike from in-tight, hit with venom and GPS. The English playmaker was economical in his 74 minutes, scoring and including three passes amongst his mere 36 touches against Southampton’s well-drilled defense. His work in holding off Jack Stephens’ challenge and still belting his shot inside the near upper 90 was stunning stuff.
2. Saints struggle to create centrally: Ibrahima Diallo and James Ward-Prowse worked the middle of the room in the absence of Romeu. Neither was poor, but the duo also failed to produce the sort of special service that can cut through Youri Tielemans and Wilfred Ndidi (not an unusual problem versus Leicester). Stuart Armstrong and Will Smallbone had more luck out wide, but Che Adams and Theo Walcott were mostly not in the frame for service.
3. Foxes’ midfield special: The depth behind Maddison, Tielemans, and Ndidi is a big issue for Leicester but the trio itself is just such a handful for the opposition. Tielemans’ vision and smarts, Maddison’s sensational creativity, and Ndidi’s relentless legs (and will) create issue after issue with a variety of skill sets that keep midfield and defenses on their toes. Impressive stuff.
Man of the Match: Youri Tielemans
Magician. Call him The Scale cause his passes seemingly always have the perfectly weight.
Leicester City – Southampton recap
A frenetic start finally found a brilliant chance when Stuart Armstrong sent Che Adams deep into the Foxes final third only to see his pass back from the end line blocking by a blushing Youri Tielemans, who had given the ball to Saints in the first place.
Saints then returned the turnover favor, and Alex McCarthy made a firm two-handed parry of a Harvey Barnes rocket in the 19th minute.
Tielemans sent James Maddison into the box for a rocket shot into the upper reaches of Alex McCarthy’s near side, the Foxes goal scorer fending off two shoulder barges en route to his shot.
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McCarthy made another fine save and Saints’ next big defensive move was made by the culprit who granted it. Jan Bednarek gave the ball to Jamie Vardy but closed down the striker to stymy the threat.