Three things we learned from Leicester vs. Southampton
LEICESTER -- Leicester City beat Southampton 1-0 at the King Power Stadium on Sunday as the Foxes went seven points clear at the top of the Premier League with six games to go.
[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]
Wes Morgan powered in a header in the first half and despite plenty of chances for Saints, the Foxes held on for yet another win as they edge close to winning a first-ever league title.
Here’s what we learned from the KP.
FOXES IN DREAMLAND
As I stepped off the train in Leicester on Sunday morning, this sight greeted me.
Sure, he was out to make a few bucks, but my gut tells me he’ll be ordering plenty more of these scarves and selling them on. Leicester ground out yet another 1-0 win, their fifth in their last six games, to open up a seven point gap on Tottenham Hotspur with six games to go. They can smell the title around the King Power Stadium.
Raucous cries of “We’re going to win the league!” started before the first whistle but during the game it was a much more nervous atmosphere as Saints had more possession, more shots and in the second half Leicester’s defense were under intense pressure but somehow held on.
The fact that 32-year-old Morgan scored the winning goal epitomizes Leicester’s season. Morgan has been at Leicester for five years, back to their days in the second-tier, but at the end of this season he could well be lifting the PL title. His improvement this season is remarkable and the way he powered that header in lifted Leicester’s fans at a point where Saints were dominating. Leicester started brightly, hung in there when they were under pressure and took their chance when it arrived. The skipper delivered when it mattered most and Leicester took a huge step towards winning the PL thanks to yet another resolute display.
HANDBALL CALL CRUCIAL
In the early stages Leicester bossed proceedings but midway through the first half Southampton took the game to the Foxes. First Graziano Pelle headed wide and then a glorious opportunity arrived in the 32nd minute as Sadio Mane ran clear, rounded Kasper Schmeichel but his goalbound shot was blocked by Danny Simpson.
Replays showed that Simpson used his elbow to block the ball and he should have not only been sent off but also have conceded a penalty kick. Nothing was given. Those are the breaks you get when you’re at the top and it made a huge difference to the outcome of this game.
Saints forced Schmeichel into a wonderful save from Jose Fonte’s 30-yard screamer and Jordy Clasie flashed a shot over soon after that controversial incident, while Ronald Koeman’s side bombarded Leicester’s box for most of the second half but couldn’t find a way through. With this defeat their hopes of finishing in the top six aren’t over but they took a blow. Saints should’ve grabbed at least a point but like some many others they fell to Leicester’s incredible spirit and drive.
Jamie Vardy may not have scored on Sunday -- in fact, he hasn’t scored for Leicester since Feb. 14 -- but he put in a performance which showed exactly why he’s been so important for Leicester this season.
4 - Leicester have now won 1-0 in four successive Premier League games, the joint-second longest such run ever in the competition. Cunning.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 3, 2016
Vardy, 29, ran Southampton ragged, especially in the second half, and didn’t give Virgil van Dijk or Jose Fonte a moments peace all afternoon. He squared for Danny Simpson who somehow had his shot saved by Fraser Forster, forced Fonte into almost scoring a bizarre own goal and when the Foxes (as it looks increasingly likely now) win the PL, his form this season will be one of the main reasons.
His goals (19 in the Premier League) will lead Leicester to one of the most remarkable title wins in history but his endeavor, spirit and determination is infectious, runs through the team and is arguably more important.