Leicester v Southampton: Flying Foxes to clinch entertaining home win
Simon Mail previews second-placed Leicester's home game against Southampton and expects them to pick up another three points...
Leicester v Southampton Saturday, 15:00
Rodgers guiding Leicester to Champions League
Leicester have enjoyed an exceptional season under Brendan Rodgers and would be in the thick of a Premier League title race in most other years, but Liverpool's phenomenal campaign means second looks the best they can achieve. The Foxes are one point clear of third-placed Manchester City and it would be a major collapse if they fail to secure Champions League football next season.
Their only defeats this season have been to the runaway leaders Liverpool, Man City and Manchester United. Leicester's consistency has been remarkably impressive with Jamie Vardy leading their attack with 17 goals from 19 league appearances. City started the new year with a 3-0 league win at Newcastle before a home FA Cup victory against Wigan and a 1-1 draw with Aston Villa on Wednesday in their Carabao Cup semi-final first leg.
Saints' revival impressive after Leicester mauling
Southampton appeared to be heading for relegation after their humiliating 9-0 home defeat to Leicester back in October. Vardy scored a hat-trick in the record-equalling result which left Ralph Hasenhuttl's side in the bottom three. The Austrian came under intense pressure but to his credit, the Saints have recovered extremely well after an excellent run since the end of November.
Five victories from eight league matches, with 16 points accumulated, have lifted Southampton up to 12th and five points clear of the relegation zone. These wins included a 2-0 upset at Chelsea and a 1-0 home victory against Tottenham on New Year's Day. The Saints' youngsters helped guide the side to a 2-0 home win over Huddersfield in the third round of the FA Cup and it has been a remarkable transformation since the low depths of their embarrassing rout against this weekend's opponents.
Foxes fairly-priced favourites to win
Leicester are worthy favourites for this match although the hosts are facing a totally different proposition to the team they mauled at St Mary's a few months ago. The Foxes are 1.65and that looks perfectly reasonable based on their performances throughout this season. Leicester have won seven of their ten home league games and should be able to clinch another victory this weekend.
Southampton come into this game full of confidence after a tremendous run which has taken them on their way towards safety. With four wins away already this season, the Saints certainly cannot be dismissed at 6.00. It is no surprise their odds have shortened in recent days but pulling off a win at second-placed Leicester still looks a mighty task for Southampton.
The draw is trading at 4.20but neither of these sides have frequently been held this season. Only three of Leicester's games have finished level while Southampton have only drawn four of their 21 matches. Despite the visitors' improved form, Leicester are fancied to win and it is worth looking to alternative markets to secure a more attractive price.
Goals likely at the King Power Stadium
Leicester should claim the victory but will do well to keep a clean sheet this weekend. Southampton have scored in their last 12 away matches and head to the King Power Stadium in their best form of the season. Backing the Foxes to win with both teams scoring appeals and helps inflate odds on a home victory to 2/1.
If Southampton find the net, there is a strong chance Danny Ings will be their goalscorer after a brilliant run over the last few months. Ings has 13 Premier League goals this season with nine scored in his last ten appearances. The former Liverpool striker has been dogged by injury woes in recent years but is in the form of his life after returning to full fitness. Ings can continue his potent form by netting at generous odds of 17/10, even if Southampton come up short at Leicester.
Leicester's Ayoze Pérez has scored a hat-trick in his last two Premier League appearances against Southampton, including in the 9-0 win in October. Perez is 80/1 to achieve a third successive hat-trick this weekend.