Harvey Barnes

Saints Take The Points On Filbert Way

Leicester City were defeated 2-1 by Southampton at King Power Stadium in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon.
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James Maddison's 54th-minute free-kick was overturned by a Ché Adams brace on Filbert Way in City's third outing of the 2022/23 season.

The return of Harvey Barnes, after a knee injury, facilitated a change in shape for the Foxes, while Ayoze Pérez was also named in the XI for the first time this season. Wesley Fofana dropped out of the matchday squad, while Youri Tielemans was named among the substitutes.

Fresh from signing a new two-year deal with the Club, Jamie Vardy led the line at the tip of a 4-2-3-1 system. Inside the first 120 seconds, City's No.9 was calling for a penalty when he collided with Armel Bella-Kotchap inside the area. Referee Michael Salisbury was unmoved. Barnes' curler then struck the chest of Mohammed Salisu, blocking a route to goal.

Had Barnes, on 10 minutes, chose to slip the ball to Pérez, and not a marked Maddison, the Spaniard may well have been in on goal. Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall's tidy cross did come to Pérez moments later, but he possibly had too much time to telegraph his volley and scuffed it instead. A lucky escape for the Saints.

Vardy then chased down a loose ball, stopped it from bobbling behind for a goal-kick and knocked it out of play for a throw-in off Kyle Walker-Peters' shin. It had been a promising, high-energy start from the home side, but they were yet to test Gavin Bazunu in the visitors' net.

City then thought they'd gone behind when Mohamed Elyounoussi played in Sékou Mara to slot past Danny Ward. The 20-year-old former Bordeaux forward, though, was played well offside by Leicester captain Jonny Evans. As soon as the net bulged, assistant referee Neil Davies' flag was raised. 

Southampton were undoubtedly stifling City more as the half wore on, leading to a slight lull. The home side had the ball but struggled to break through. A free-kick, on the left-side angle of the penalty area, presented an opportunity to put Bazunu to work, but he parried well from Maddison.

High pressing led to their next opening. Barnes cut out a slack sideways pass from Roméo Lavia, charging forwards and dragging a low drive wide of the far post. Goalless at the break and for nine minutes of the second half, it would take a moment of Maddison magic to break the deadlock.

It came as Leicester were awarded a free-kick at an awkward angle for a right-footer. A confident Maddison nevertheless stepped up, 25 yards out, offset to the right of the area. Whether deliberate or not, the movement of City's players in the box acted as a decoy, with the Saints clearly expecting a cross. 

There was a route round the three-man wall – and Maddison spotted it. A low curler had already left the Foxes No.10's boot by the time Bazunu dived towards the danger. The Saints 'keeper didn't have the time to get across to prevent the ball from bouncing in at the bottom corner. 

Now a goal down, Ralph Hasenhüttl's Southampton rallied. Bella-Kotchap's header was dealt with by Vardy at a tight angle in the area. Youri Tielemans and Patson Daka, on the other hand, were introduced to the action, taking the places of Pérez and Vardy for the final 25 minutes. 

The Saints were soon level when a high-ball in the area was cushioned down by Bella-Kotchap and relayed into the feet of Adams. The Leicester-born striker then had the space and time to tuck it into the back of the net. Frustration for the Foxes, who had dominated the possession stats all game.

Another change saw Kelechi Iheanacho replace Barnes. It was tense and the nerves frayed on 83 minutes when former Rangers forward Joe Aribo hit the deck in the area, under a challenge by Ward, after Stuart Armstrong's through ball. Southampton's new No.7 was booked for simulation, though.

The frustration was about to grow even further. When James Ward-Prowse fizzed a cross into the box, there was Adams to acrobatically volley past Ward. 2-1 to the visitors, with six minutes of normal time to go. That early optimism was gone but there was still time to recover. 

Inside six minutes of added time, there were muted calls for a penalty after Bella-Kotchap's challenge on Dewsbury-Hall. Leicester had to fight for every ball as Southampton looked to cling onto the three points. Adams then almost made it 3-1, hitting the post with seconds to spare. Defeat for City nonetheless. 

Major moment – Adams' winner

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Wilfred Ndidi

Wilfred Ndidi shelters the ball in the middle of the pitch.

A second Southampton goal, with only six minutes of normal time remaining, completely changed the game. At 1-1, Leicester, as the home team, will have been confident that a win was still within their reach, but the visitors were able to drop deep and defend their lead stoically late on.

Where do we stand? – 18th place

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Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall

The Foxes are looking for their first win of the season.

The Foxes are 18th in the Premier League with one point from three games.

Coming up – Stockport in the League Cup

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Ayoze Pérez

A trip to Stockport is next up for City.

Three-time winners Leicester City begin their 2022/23 Carabao Cup journey at the second round stage on Tuesday with a trip to Sky Bet League 2 side Stockport County (7:45pm kick-off). Chelsea at Stamford Bridge is their next assignment in the Premier League next Saturday (3pm kick-off).

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