|Well, that was ultimately satisfying. Although the margin of victory should have been greater. Ings hit the bar twice and had two shots saved by Schmeichel. Stephens also had a shot cleared off the line. Just go to the tab with the stats and compare the shots and shots on target. Those stats will tell you how one sided this match was. All of which has lanced the boil that was the home match against Leicester on a wet evening in October last year.
The third away win in a row - Aston Villa, Chelsea and now Leicester! We are now level on points with Arsenal and Everton, but still 12th, thanks in part to our inferior goal difference of -12. Still that's one less than this morning.
No doubt about it, This was a huge, huge win
As for the team that Ralph Hasenhüttl put out, it showed ten changes from the last match against Huddersfield in the FACup last weekend, but only one change from the last Premier League game against Tottenham Hotspur at the beginning of the month. That was instead of Djenepo starting, Ralph opted to go with Shane Long, the mercurial Malian dropping to the bench.
Stuart Armstrong and Danny Ings each scored a goal to secure an important victory over the team currently second in the table
IBO Reporter : channonite
|I could watch the highlights of this match for an age! The stats just don't really give you a flavour of just how we dominated the game. Confidence is coursing through the veins of the club at the moment. A team that thrives on the press were themselves pressed into making mistake after mistake.
The high press, so loved by Ralph Hasenhüttl, is at last getting it's rewards, so long has it taken for the players to get used to and understand what it demands of them. A great example came early on, when Leicester defenders were hounded by Armstrong and Cédric and a wayward pass was picked up in a flash by Ings. He advanced on goal, but Schmeichel speed himself to deny the first attempt, but with a loose ball Ings reclaimed it and shot on the turn, only to be denied by the Leicester goalkeeper for a second time in a minute.
Then, totally against the run of play, Leicester were one up. Bertrand gave up the free kick for a foul on Pérez, who took the kick almost as he was still getting up, finding Vardy all on his own, way down field. The Saints defenders tried to marshal him wide, but he fired a cross right across the face of goal to Praet who's shot rifled into the roof of the net, the young Belgian scoring his first goal for Leicester.
Less than a quarter of an hour gone and 0-1. During the last few torrid months losing a goal so early would have seen heads go down, but not now. Far from it, they now redoubled their efforts and laid siege to the Leicester goal.
The Leicester lead lasted for just five minutes, as Adams, Ings and Redmond swept forward, Long took the ball on the left, looked up and saw Armstrong all alone on the right. Ward-Prowse was advancing between the two, but with several defenders in front of him, Armstrong called for him to leave it and the pass arrived at his feet. He took one touch to steady himself and fired a shot towards the far post. Schmeichel might have got to it, but we won't know, as the shot hit Maddison and deflected into the near side, leaving the goalie floundering on the opposite side of the goalmouth. 1-1.
Although Saints were looking by far the better side, you can never underestimate the Vardy effect. He demonstrated it perfectly a bit later, when a lucky bounce off Praet's legs found the Leicester No.9 on his own. He raced on and put the ball in the net, but from his laughter he clearly realised that he was offside. Which he was.
Once again Saints swept forward, initially down the left, with several players playing quick, incisive passes. Chilwell tried to clear it, but was under pressure only managed to pass it to Cédric on the right, in turn he found Armstrong, who sent a wonderful cross into the danger area and there was that man again. Ings on swivelled and fired, but saw his shot bounce off the crossbar. Close.
Then from a corner on the left, fired into the area and there followed several attempts to clear it by the Leicester defenders and to force the ball home by the Saints players. Eventually it fell to Ings and he fired a ferocious first time shot against the bar again....
You just felt a goal was coming, but somehow Leicester got to half-time without conceding a second and it remained level at 1-1.
The second half saw an immediate return to business, with a cute free kick routine between Ward-Prowse and Bertrand, which saw the latter send in a tremendous kick, which evaded all the defenders and landed at the feet of Jack Stephens, no more than six feet from the goal. Unfortunately for him his gentle tap in was cleared off the line by a Leicester defender.
There then followed a rare moment, one where VAR didn't help us. Armstrong won the ball, following a Leicester throw-in and threaded a pass through to Long, with Soyuncu appealing for offside, but that didn't stop him unceremoniously upending the Irishman in the penalty area. The referee had no hesitation in awarding a penalty and booked the Leicester No.4. The possible offside was referred to VAR and the decision eventually was "No Penalty" and Soyuncu's booking was cancelled. Correct decision, but annoying.
Almost immediately play went up the other end and Maddison took a free kick, with a resulting mêlée around the Saints goalmouth, which ended with Iheanacho, who had only been on the pitch for about five minutes, back-heeling past McCarthy. The linesman had immediately flagged for offside though, which he was by miles. No goal.
Ralph Hasenhüttl had resisted changing the team, so well had they been playing, but with tiring legs he now made a double substitution replacing the excellent Armstrong with Djenepo and Long, who had run his socks off, with Adams.
The latter substitution paid almost immediate dividends, when another attack found Adams make a wonderful through pass to Ings, who then raced clear and in a one on one with Schmeichel, saw Danny fire between the goalies legs and the ball gently bounced into the empty net. 1-2 with ten minutes to go. Cue mayhem in the away supporters.
Not content with this, but before you could draw breath Saints broke through Redmond who fair zipped down the right, squaring to Ings, who shot what looked a certain goal, only to see Schmeichel pull off an astounding save, tipping the shot beyond the far post.
Leicester now through everything at Saints, but when Grey did get through to get off a shot, there was McCarthy saving with his legs. The home side came back again, with McCarthy saving again, this time from Iheanacho with his chest. Phew!
Not finished yet, Leicester pressed again for the equaliser and won a free kick just about on the edge of the box and Maddison fired in, finding Evans to head past McCarthy. Everyone thought this was the sucker punch, an 89th minute equaliser. Except... Yes, you guessed it - VAR!! Not one, but two Leicester players were clearly offside and when the message came up on the big screens you would have thought Saints had scored again by the reaction of the away fans. I confess that I was shouting as well at this stage...
Still there were several minutes of time added to negotiate and when Lee Mason blew for full time, well I can't remember and I had stopped taking notes! Suffice to say there was a fair bit of celebrating and the Saints away support were singing about sticking the nine nil up your backside, or something along those lines.
Wonderful, simply wonderful. A cracking game and redemption was earned in the best possible way.
Man of the Match
It seems almost churlish to pick any of the Saints players out, as there were some great performances, but honestly, for his non-stop display, hitting the post twice, finally scoring and then being denied by Schmeichel, when a goal seemed inevitable, it seems appropriate to say well done Mush to Danny Ings one of our own.