Leicester City woes compounded by Adams’ double in 2-1 defeat to Southampton

Credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Brendan_Rodgers_2014.jpg

Leicester City are still without a Premier League win in 2022-23, with Southampton handing them their second defeat of the campaign at the King Power Stadium on Saturday (20 August).

The Foxes came close to opening the scoring, with both James Maddison having a free-kick saved and the returning Harvey Barnes putting his effort a few inches wide in the first-half.

The former finally opened the scoring nine minutes into the second-half, with Saints goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu unable to keep out his free-kick.

14 minutes later, Armel Bella-Kotchap brought down a throw-in into the Foxes’ box by passing it to Che Adams with his first touch.

The Leicester-born Saints striker made no mistake with his attempt, scoring from close range to draw the hosts level despite James Justin’s attempted goal-line clearance.

With six minutes left on the clock, Adams dealt a blow on Brendan Rodgers’ side again, acrobatically applying a fine finish to James Ward-Prowse’s cross, and he came very close to taking home the match ball only for his effort to strike the post.

Leicester started the campaign with a 2-2 draw against Brentford, surrendering a two-goal lead in the process before a 4-2 loss to Arsenal.

On the other hand, the weekend win was Southampton’s first of the campaign after a 4-1 loss to Tottenham Hotspur and a 2-2 draw against Leeds United.

The result saw the Foxes drop to 19th in the table, while Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side are 11th.

It was the first time since 2014-15 that Leicester have failed to win in their opening three league games of the campaign, and things have to change quickly.

The one-time Premier League winners are yet to make major additions to their squad this summer, with goalkeeper Alex Smithies their only signing.

With a couple of their key players still linked with exits, Rodgers cannot afford to lose anyone given the lack of transfer business.

Southampton have made six signings so far, with Bazunu and Romeo Lavia joining from Manchester City, Sekou Mara from Bordeaux, Bella-Kotchap from Bochum, Joe Aribo from Rangers and Mateusz Lis from Altay.

The squad reinforcements showed in how they played at the King Power, and Leicester may need to emulate them in the market.

 

Managers Comments

A frustrated Rodgers said post-game:

“It was a culmination of everything. We’ve been here the last time, 2-0 up and we stopped taking the ball and gave the initiative to them [in the 2-2 draw with Brentford on the opening day].

“We started the game very well – with energy, intensity, passing, movement. We deserved to go in front and then we stopped. You have to be able to manage the game. We sunk deeper and they gained confidence after scoring out of nothing.

“It was a very frustrating game. The players’ attitude and energy was what you’d want. Once we went in front we did what we have been doing. It’s just constant work.

“It was important for us today that we managed the ball when we took the lead but we didn’t do that. We looked nervous. That’s a little bit of desperation in wanting to get the result.

“The players are really good lads. We’ll go away and look to improve.”

A delighted Hasenhuttl told BBC Sports:

“We had a tough start today with a very young group on the pitch. We made a few changes tactically and it took a little way for us to find a way in the game. Against the ball I think it was not so bad but with the ball we lost some balls and that conceded a bit mentally. The way we defended today was on a very high level. Set-pieces were defended well and offensively good.

“A simple way of turning things around after conceding a goal which was I think the only shot on target from the opponent in the second half. We didn’t accept that we don’t get anything here. The reaction of the team was fantastic. We knew we could turn things around.”