Leicester City vs Southampton Preview: Saints to get survival charge underway against former boss Puel?
Jamie Vardy battles with Jannik Vestergaard | Photo: Getty/ Michael Regan

Leicester City vs Southampton Preview: Saints to get survival charge underway against former boss Puel?

Ralph Hasenhuttl's men travel to the King Power Stadium looking to start their charge to survival against the Foxes

Daniel Orme

Southampton will be aiming to get their fight for survival underway on Saturday afternoon as they travel to the King Power Stadium to take on Claude Puel's Leicester City

Elsewhere, the Foxes will be looking to overcome their shock FA Cup exit at the hands of Newport County last time out. A victory for Puel's men could potentially cut the gap to Manchester United in sixth.

Key Battle

Whilst the Saints will surely have to keep Foxes' frontman Jamie Vardy quiet, a more subtle battle could be between midfielders Hamza Choudhury and Oriel Romeu

Both offer an extremely physical presence in the centre of the park and are clever on the ball. The pair have excellent positional sense and are strong in the tackle so the winner of that battle could potentially be a key reason behind a win for either side. 

What happened the last time the two teams met?

Leicester and Southampton have already met on two occasions so far this season. The last meeting in the Premier League ended 2-1 to the Foxes as goals from Demarai Gray and Harry Maguire was enough to claim the three points at St Mary's. 

The two clubs also came together in the Carabao Cup at the end of November in the East Midlands. The game ended 0-0 after 90 minutes but Puel's men were victorious in the penalty shootout as Manolo Gabbiadini had his spot-kick saved by Danny Ward before Nampalys Mendy converted to ensure the final scores ended 6-5.

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Team News

Both teams could field much-changed line-ups at the King Power Stadium. Saints' boss Hasenhuttl has a lot of injury worries, especially in attacking positions. Danny Ings and Michael Obafemi are both ruled out through injury, whilst Charlie Austin is not eligible due to suspension. Manolo Gabbiadini has left the club and joined Sampdoria on a permanent deal.

Elsewhere, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg is out through suspension. Both Mario Lemina and Ryan Bertrand are restricted to the treatment table for the trip to the East Midlands. Maya Yoshida is also away on international duty. However, Stuart Armstrong could potentially return from an ankle injury.

Regarding Leicester City, they have already had two players depart the club with Vicente Iborra joining Villarreal and Fousseni Diabate leaving on-loan with Sivasspor. Daniel Amartey also remains ruled out with a broken ankle and Jonny Evans is out with a broken toe.

However, there could be a new name on the teamsheet with Puel recalling winger Harvey Barnes from his loan spell with West Bromwich Albion.

Predicted line-ups

Leicester City: Schmeichel; Pereira, Morgan, Maguire, Chilwell; Mendy, Ndidi, Choudhury; Albrighton, Vardy, Gray. 

Southampton: Gunn; Stephens, Vestergaard, Bednarek, Valery; Romeu, Armstrong, Ward-Prowse; Redmond, Long, Elyounoussi.

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Managers' thoughts

Hasenhuttel has suggested that Southampton's trip to the East Midlands could be crucial in their fight for survival.

Talking in his press conference ahead of the game, he said: “They are a strong team and a challenge for us, but we are going there to get three points because we need to come out of this relegation zone so we have to get some wins or draws."

Elsewhere, Puel has told that he is looking for his Leicester team to put on a much better performance than what supporters witnessed in their shock defeat to Newport. Talking ahead of the Southampton game, he said: "We need a good reaction for the fans. We analyse our last game and we want a reaction.

“Our elimination versus Newport doesn’t change our ambition in the Premier League. We are seventh in this moment, but we know the difficulties we have now to maintain this ranking."