A month after Manchester City’s 8-0 hammering of Watford, Leicester City bested the Sky Blues in their 9-0 thumping of Southampton on Friday night. The Foxes are not new to the spotlight; overcoming 5000-1 odds in their miraculous 2016 Premier League championship season. This year, Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester side entered their record books once again, cruising to the largest away win in the 131-year history of English top-flight football and tying Manchester United’s 9-0 victory 24 years ago as the largest Premier League victory.
The Foxes traveled to St. Mary’s on a rainy Friday night to take on regulation side Southampton. The Saints had not won in their previous four Premier League matches, picking up just one point in that span.
In the 10th Minute: Ben Chilwell misplayed a cross to the feet of Harvey Barnes. Barnes’ one-time shot was palmed away by Angus Gunn. Unfortunately for the Saints, the ball bounced straight to Chilwell who gave Leicester the lead. The Foxes’ goal was more than a one-goal deficit for Southampton. After awarding the goal, referee Andre Marriner retroactively handed Ryan Bertrand a red card for a studs-up tackle on Ayoze Pérez, dropping the Saints to 10 men for the remainder of the game.
In the 17th minute: Youri Tielemans stormed towards the goal, nutmegging a Southampton defender and dribbling past another, before firing the ball past Gunn from 12 yards out to give the Foxes a 2-0 lead.
Two Minutes Later: Pérez played a simple pass to Tielemans, who gave the ball right back. The 1-2 pass broke through the Southampton defense, setting Pérez up for a low-strike into the near post, extending Leicester’s lead to 3-0 inside 20 minutes.
In the 30th Minute: Southampton had a great opportunity but Jonny Evans forced Nathan Redmond to take a shot, which was saved by Kasper Schmeichel.
In the 39th minute: Leicester City passed the ball from side-to-side, finding Chilwell, who crossed the ball towards the back post. The ball found the feet of Pérez, who rifled a shot into the roof of the net. Pérez’s second goal of the game put the dreadful Southampton squad four goals behind.
In the Last Minute of the Half: Jamie Vardy joined the action, settling a deflected Chilwell cross eight yards out, giving the Foxes a five-goal lead going into the second half.
Returning From the Break: Ralph Hasenhüttl altered his Southampton side, subbing in Jack Stephens and Kevin Danso in for Danny Ings and Jannik Vestergaard, respectively.
In the 56th Minute: Harvey Barnes dropped a perfect pass onto the chest of Pérez, who finished off a hattrick with a volley.
Two Minutes Later: Chilwell dribbled to the goal line, past a clueless Saints’ defense, finding Vardy with a cross. On the edge of the six, Vardy sent home Leicester’s seventh goal of the game.
In the 69th Minute: Redmond gave the home fans something to cheer for, forcing Schmeichel to make a quick save.
In the 71st Minute: Rodgers made the Foxes’ first change of the night taking off Barnes and sending Mark Albrighton as his replacement.
In the 77th Minute: The Southampton faithful, weathering the storm, jeered their home side as they managed to string about 10 passes together.
In the 85th Minute: Vardy won a free-kick from about 20 yards out. Standing over the ball, James Madison stepped up and curled his shot over the wall and into the top corner of the goal.
In the 2nd Minute of Stoppage Time: Vardy is brought down in the box for a Leicester penalty kick. In an attempt to complete his hattrick, Vardy took the shot, finishing the Saints off 9-0.
Leicester sat in second until Saturday morning when Manchester City took back their second-place seat with a 3-0 win against Aston Villa. After Liverpool’s narrow 2-1 victory against Tottenham, the Foxes currently sit eight points behind Premier League frontrunners Liverpool and two points behind back-to-back defending champions Mancuerians.
Friday night’s demolition derby brought the Foxes to 20 points on the year, just 10 games into the season, which is one more than during their miracle season at the same mark.
Leicester is only the second team to establish a five-goal lead in the first half of an away Premier League game. Pérez and Vardy are just the second pair of teammates in the Premier League to score hat tricks in the same game. It was first accomplished by Robert Pires and Jermaine Pennant in May 2003 for Arsenal, also against Southampton. The Foxes’ nine goals in Friday’s game are the same amount Sheffield United and Southampton have scored all season; and more than Newcastle United and Watford’s season totals.
The Foxes have announced themselves as a force to be reckoned with and will not let their top-four spot be taken lightly. Leicester’s organized play has cemented them among the best in the Premier League and will hopefully earn them a spot in the Champions League next season.
Image Credits: Leicester City Media