Southampton scores huge win, drags Leicester back into relegation mire
Southampton secured a massive home win over Leicester City on Saturday at St. Mary’s, where Carlos Alcaraz’s first-half goal increased the chaos near the foot of the Premier League table.
Alcaraz’s goal came just after James Ward-Prowse had missed a penalty, as Saints sensed the occasion and performed well enough to leave three teams on 21 points between 18th and 20th on the table.
Saints lost 1-0 at Leeds last time out but are now just a point back of Leeds, who lost at Chelsea earlier Saturday. Southampton leaves the match in 19th place, ahead of Bournemouth on goal differential.
If 21 points is the basement, then Leicester is one of six teams within a single bad matchday of living there. The Foxes have 24 points which is good for 15th on the table but lends very little comfort as a surprising team looks set to go down to the Championship.
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This relegation scrap could be an all-timer
No, the Premier League’s expansive and more applicable wealth has not let to a season where literally anyone could be relegated -- not yet -- but take a look at the bottom of the table this year.
Saints are three points back of 15th-place Spurs. Literally any team in the bottom five could find themselves in a relegation place by the virtue of one bad week, bad call, or bad tackle.
And this is why Carlos Alcaraz’s goal may have been worth the expense even if the striker, who appeared to get hurt in his goal celebration, misses quite a bit of time. Draws aren’t going to get the job done. Winning boosts you clear. This could’ve been a mega moment for the St. Mary’s set. (NM)
Southampton vs Leicester player ratings: Stars of the Show
Southampton’s back line: Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Armel Bella-Kotchap, Jan Bednarek, and Kyle Walker-Peters were all very good in this one
Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall: He’s made himself an invaluable part of Leicester’s now, so much so that you start to wonder whether someone will make it so ‘KDH’ won’t be part of their future.
Carlos Alcaraz: Appeared to hurt himself celebrating his goal, but let’s hope that’s just minor because we want to see more of the 20-year-old Argentine. His goal was splendid.
Romeo Lavia: When you see him at his best, and today may have been his best, it’s crazy to think Manchester City’s just had 19-year-olds with this skill set just waiting around for a chance for multiple years.
Saints are off to Manchester United at 10am ET on March 12, while Leicester City has to host Chelsea at 10am ET Saturday.
Carlos Alcaraz goal video: 20-year-old boosts Saints with clinical finish
How to watch Southampton vs Leicester live, stream link and start time
Key storylines & in-form players to watch
Look, it’s not great if your second string players lose to a fourth-tier team in the FA Cup but Selles made nine changes for that game and a couple of silly mistakes to give away penalty kicks, plus two disallowed goals for offside via VAR, pretty much summed up Saints’ season so far. They have shown enough to suggest they can get out of trouble (they are bottom of the table but somehow just four points from safety) but they need to win this game. It is as simple as that. If they do that they drag more teams within reach and with James Ward-Prowse around they always have a chance of scoring as long as they are sound defensively. Getting more out of January signings Paul Onuachu and Kamaldeen Sulemana is going to be key if they’re going to stay up.
Leicester have had such a streaky season and right now they’re on a downward spiral again. They were knocked out of the FA Cup in midweek by second-tier Blackburn Rovers and were totally outplayed by league leaders Arsenal last weekend. The Foxes have lost their last two in a row in the Premier League and defensively they’re starting to look all over the place once again. If James Maddison is fit to play after his recent illness, that will be a huge boost. He scored the opener against Saints earlier this season but Leicester did lose that game 2-1 at home.
Southampton team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: Valentino Livramento (knee), Juan Larios (adductor) | QUESTIONABLE: Mohamed Salisu (undisclosed)
Leicester team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: Ryan Bertrand (knee), James Justin (achilles), Ryan Bertrand (knee), Jonny Evans (calf)