WILLIE Duncan (@Willie_Duncan) is off to St Mary’s in search of a winner in the Southampton – Leicester game.
Southampton v Leicester | Sunday 12:00 | Sky Sports 1
It has been a good week for Claudio Ranieri so far.
The Leicester City manager was inducted into the Italian Football Federation’s Hall of Fame on Wednesday – a well-deserved honour after leading the Foxes to that astonishing Premier League title triumph last season.
For Ranieri and Leicester fans, however, there must be times when that remarkable success feels like a lifetime ago, for the Foxes have failed to find their best form in the league so far this season and, indeed, the defending champions are a lowly 15th in the top flight ahead of this weekend’s fixtures.
Leicester’s latest outing resulted in a 3-0 thumping from Chelsea at King Power Stadium and all of the signs would suggest that Ranieri’s men will have another tough test this weekend when they travel to take on Southampton on Sunday.
Claude Puel’s men are solid – if rarely spectacular – on home turf and, in fact, the Saints have suffered just three defeats in their last 22 competitive matches at St Mary’s.
Southampton set up an FA Cup fourth round tie against Arsenal by knocking Norwich out of the competition on Wednesday and it is not difficult to imagine that Claude Puel’s men were particularly pleased to see Shane Long score the only goal of the game in stoppage time because it meant that there would be no need for extra-time ahead of this weekend’s exertions.
Saints’ inability to put the ball in the net has frustrated their fans this season and, indeed, each of their last five domestic victories has been by the same scoreline – 1-0.
It would be foolish to rule out a similar outcome again this weekend, but the quotes on offer for fewer than three goals to be scored are far too skinny to be worthy of further contemplation and, so, instead, I’m going to put my faith in Saints’ ability to grind out a win when the Foxes visit St Mary’s.
Ranieri’s men have not won an away match in the Premier League so far this season and, with Riyad Mahrez and Islam Slimani on duty for Algeria in the African Cup of Nations, it would be something of a surprise should the Foxes find the fluency that led them to silverware in such a spectacular fashion last term.
Southampton can squeeze home again on Sunday and punters are advised to snap up Paddy Power’s juicy 10/11 quote for the hosts to ruin Claudio Ranieri’s weekend…again.
Southampton v Leicester – Southampton to win (10/11 Paddy Power)