James Maddison’s clinical finish was critical as Leicester City came from behind twice to play out a 2-2 draw with Southampton on Wednesday.
Southampton got off to an excellent start when, within three minutes, a well-worked corner routine ended at the feet of Mohammed Salisu, who took a good effort at goal, which was superbly saved by Kasper Schmeichel only for Jan Bednarek to be able to scramble home from close-range.
Leicester were shaken by this early setback, but they rallied brilliantly. Following excellent work by James Maddison on the right, he spotted Ademola Lookman in the box, who released Wilfred Ndidi. Although the Nigerian’s original shot was saved, Jonny Evans was on hand to smash home the equaliser.
In what was a wild first half, the Saints clawed their way back in front shortly after the half-hour mark, with Che Adams heading Nathan Redmond’s perfect cross beyond Schmeichel. The second half was delayed for 18 minutes due to a medical issue in the crowd, but once the action resumed, it was the visitors who were much livelier, as Maddison twisted and moved in the box before drilling a low shot past McCarthy at his near post to level the score.
The draw moves Leicester up to 8th in the table with 19 points, five points adrift of West Ham United in fourth. After a fairly entertaining affair at St Mary’s, The Hard Tackle will now run the rule over Brendan Rodgers’ men and rate their performances.
Kasper Schmeichel: 7/10
Schmeichel was let down badly by his defence for both goals, especially the first, as after making a fine save, no defender was around him to clear the lines. Aside from that, the Leicester captain made a lot of good stops, but they were all meek efforts directly towards him. His distribution was better than the last game.
Timothy Castagne: 6/10
Such a consistent performer. There are a few instances in which he surged forwards. He dozed off early on but became vigilant in defence, making a couple of vital interceptions. He lobbed one excellent long switch to Maddison for the opening goal,and largely did well on the day.
Jonny Evans: 7/10
In Leicester’s only promising chance of the first half, Evans latched on a rebound to score his first goal of the season. His lack of speed was apparent, and he was outmuscled by the Southampton forwards at times, but he remained composed on the ball. He improved as the game went on, winning aerial duels and making blocks in the second half.
Caglar Soyuncu: 6/10
Soyuncu was clearly shaken by conceding an early goal but settled into the proceeding as the game progressed. He was composed on the ball as usual, with no conspicuous blunders, but also without too many moments of excellent defensive efforts. A quiet game is not necessarily a negative thing for a centre-back.
Luke Thomas: 5/10
Thomas put up another bright showing that belied his tender years. He needs to start providing a little more on the ball and surge in advance areas. Southampton targeted him in the second half, and he struggled to keep up with the ferocity.
Wilfred Ndidi: 6/10
Ndidi was considerably more engaged in breaking up play and was all over the field. However, his forward passes were atrocious at times. He was caught in possession for a decent Southampton opportunity. He then committed a number of fouls late in the second half to put his side under pressure. He was fortunate not to give away a penalty on one occasion but completed a match-high 5 tackles in the game.
Boubakary Soumare: 6/10
Soumare could not settle into the game’s intensity and misplaced many of his passes, with the Southampton midfielders running past him with ease, which should not happen when you are a midfielder. Perhaps he needs a breather after playing a lot of football domestically and in Europe in recent weeks. He was subbed off at half-time for Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall.
James Maddison: 8/10
🏴 James Maddison’s last 6️⃣ starts for #LCFC
4️⃣ Wins (1 draw, 1 loss)
2️⃣0️⃣ Chances Created
1️⃣0️⃣ Successful Dribbles
9️⃣ Shots on Target
4️⃣ Assists 🅰️🅰️🅰️🅰️
4️⃣ Goals ⚽⚽⚽⚽
— 𝙇𝘾𝙁𝘾_𝙎𝙋 (@LCFCshitposting) December 1, 2021
Man of the Match for the third game in a row. His resurgence is going strong. Maddison featured on the left and right sides and was the sole creative outlet for Leicester. His goal was an absolute class; Maddison launched the attack and ended it with a flourish.
After latching on to a through pass from Luke Thomas, he gave Southampton youngster Tino Livramento a hard lesson, twisting and turning the defender inside-out before calmly firing a shot at goal and past McCarthy at his near post. He is exuberating confidence and has been instrumental in the team’s three-game unbeaten streak.
Ademola Lookman: 6/10
Lookman had more room on the right than any other forward on the field, but he seldom, if ever, took advantage of it. His only decent moment was a wonderful lay-off for Ndidi’s effort. Other than that, he lacked the sharpness when he received the ball and his dribbling was unimpressive on the day. He was hooked off in favour of Ayoze Perez as a precaution after getting booked.
Jamie Vardy: 6/10
Vardy was quick to get on the end of the terrible back-pass, but very uncharacteristically, he lost his composure and rocketed his shot over. The idea to start him in a midweek game backfired. He would be disappointed with having no shots on target.
Harvey Barnes: 5/10
In the first half, Barnes did little, with Valentino Livramento keeping him in check. There were a few brighter moments in the second half, as he drove well to set up his big opportunity, only to be denied by a spectacular stop by McCarthy. He was unable to make an impression, which has happened far too frequently this season. With Kelechi Iheanacho pushing to displace him, he needs to start performing.
Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall: 7/10
Dewsbury-Hall changed the complexion of the game. Leicester’s momentum shifted as a result of his enthusiasm. He harassed the Southampton players before getting his head up and playing a couple of fantastic exchanges out to the left.
Ayoze Perez: 6/10
There were instances of skill and nice interplay with his teammates, and he stepped forward to assist his teammates in the final third. He forced a late save from Alex McCarthy.
Patson Daka: N/A
A late introduction, Daka did not play enough to warrant a rating.