Southampton vs Leicester City preview: Puel returns to St Mary's aiming to continue Foxes' French revolution

Claude Puel faces up against former club Southampton as the Foxes' march up the Premier League table continues.

Southampton vs Leicester City preview: Puel returns to St Mary's aiming to continue Foxes' French revolution
Claude Puel takes his Leicester City team to former club Southampton on Wednesday evening | Photo: Ian Walton

Former Saint Claude Puel returns to St Mary's on Wednesday evening as Southampton clash with Leicester City.

The Frenchman will be keen to notch a victory over his ex-employers in an effort to continue the Foxes' recent good form.

Familiar territory

Whilst Puel was only in charge on the South Coast for a season, he will be returning off the back of a somewhat successful stint in charge. Having reached the Carabao Cup final at Wembley and also secured an eighth place finish in the Premier League, the Frenchman was acrimoniously let go at the end of the 2016/17 campaign.

Replacing Craig Shakespeare at the King Power Stadium, the former OGC Nice boss will be looking to notch another win at St Mary's, but this time in the opposite dugout. He was only able to enjoy six home victories in the Premier League whilst in charge of Southampton.

One of those victories however came in the form of a 3-0 win over the Foxes in January. James Ward-Prowse, Jay Rodriguez and Dušan Tadić all found the net during that particular clash.

Puel then will be hoping for more success in the fixture as his team make the trip south.

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Confident moods

Since arriving in the East Midlands, the Frenchman has had quite the impact. The 2015-16 Premier League champions have only lost one of the seven games that he has been in charge - a 2-0 reverse at the hands of runaway leaders Manchester City.

The Foxes have also won the last three matches, the last being a 3-2 victory over Newcastle United at St James' Park. As a result, the East-Midlanders are sitting comfortable sitting in eighth position in the Premier League table.

The omens are even more positive for the Foxes as they head to St Mary's. They have not lost an away game in the Premier League since the end of August - a marked improvement on the 16/17 campaign where the team lost 13 out of 19 Premier League games.

The Saints meanwhile have found it difficult to adjust to life under Mauricio Pellegrino. They have only won four league games and currently sit in 11th in the table, having only tasted victory once in the last seven clashes. Their home form is considerably better though having only lost one of their last five on home soil.

They come into the clash with Leicester City with a respectable 1-1 draw with Arsenal in their last clash.

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Premier League pedigree the tipping point?

The South Coast outfit hold an extremely positive record over the Foxes throughout history. The Saints have notched 32 wins over this week's opponents, drawing another 27 different clashes with the Foxes earning 25 successes of their own. They have not lost to Leicester in the league at St Mary's since a 2-0 defeat in 2012.

The East-Midlanders however do have a better chance when looking at their Premier League statistics. Leicester have won eight out of the 22 clashes in the Premier League with Southampton only claiming six.

The Foxes however have only scored one goal during their last three clashes with the Saints.

Team News

Puel however will hope that the recent prolificacy of his team could re-write that relatively poor recent record. Star man Riyad Mahrez has been involved in seven goals in his last nine league games so looks set to be one of the first names on the team sheet. Demarai Gray has also found some terrific recent form having scored in each of his last two games.

On the injury front, Puel almost has a clean bill of health to call on. Only Robert Huth and Matty James have been ruled out through injury but have returned to first-team training so seem set to be back in action soon.

Pellegrino however will have to put the likes of Cedric Soares and Shane Long through late fitness tests after they recovered from a hamstring and calf injury respectively. Charlie Austin will more than likely lead the line for the Saints yet again after he scoring four goals in as many games.

Predicted Line-Ups

Southampton: Forster; Stephens, Yoshida, van Dijk, Bertrand; Romeu, Højbjerg, Ward-Prowse; Tadić, Redmond, Austin.

Leicester City: Schmeichel; Simpson, Morgan, Maguire, Chilwell; Albrighton, N'didi, Iborra, Gray; Mahrez, Vardy.