|Leicester City 2 v 0 Southampton|
Barclays Premier League
Saturday, 16th January 2021 Kick-off 20:00
Southampton At Leicester City The Preview
Saturday, 16th Jan 2021 08:48
Saints head up to the King Power Stadium for a fixture that could see us leapfrog the Foxes and end the weekend in 4th place with a win, but with an injury crisis still in full swing it will be a tough ask, can they do it.
Saints form in recent years has been good at Leicester, the last two previous visits have seen us leave with a 2-1 win and three years ago a 0-0 draw under Mark Hughes kick started our surge towards Premier League safety, indeed the previous season also saw a goalless encounter meaning that our last defeat up there was back in Leicester's Premier League season back in 2016 when we narrowly lost 1-0.
But if we are to keep this unbeaten run going it will have to be done in adversity with the injury list having increased since the win over Liverpool just under a fortnight ago.
But although it seems likely that the youngsters will have to be used again and of course the potential absence of Danny Ings will be a big blow, we can still put out a competitive side although the bench could be a bit sparse in terms of experience.
First decision for Ralph will be in goal where he has to decide if Alex McCarthy is free of any after affects of his bout of Covid 19 .
That will also be the case with Danny Ings whose period of isolation ended yesterday and Oriol Romeu will be back after missing the Liverpool game, but after Ibrahima Diallo's performance in that game he might struggle to get his place back, Che Adams returning will be a direct replacement for Ings.
I can see Saints lining up like this and in truth it won't be a bad starting line up.
Walker Peters, Bednarek, Stephens, Bertrand
Armstrong, JWP, Diallo, Walcott.
Yes I know that is only 10 players, the big question is who the 11th will be and what formation Ralph will select.
The easiest option would be to keep the normal 4-4-2 and slot in either Shane Long or Dan N'Lundulu up front, Danny Ings could start, but with a lot of games coming up it would be risky to ask him to play 90 minutes at full velocity after 10 days of missed training.
One option would be to a slight tweak, by playing both Romeu & Diablo in a 3 man central midfield and using the wide men to push up when needed .
We could even see Yan Valery reprise the right sided midfield role in the latter part of the Liverpool game and Theo Walcott pushed up front, Ralph still does have some options.
It will be an inexperienced bench though, but the youngsters stepped up against Liverpool and can do again.
Am I confident we can win ? the answer is no, but I am confident that as in the game against Liverpool, we will make it difficult for Leicester to win and with our backs to the wall we can perhaps eke a result out.
Obviously that is not a great prediction, but given the number of experienced first team players we will be missing like Vestergaard, Redmond, Djenepo & Obafemi, the fact that we can still put out a good starting XI shows that the squad does have depth and if called upon the likes of N'Lundulu, Smallbone, Vokins & Yan Valery will not let us down.
Photo: Action Images
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