09/05/2015: Leicester 2-0 Saints
Saints put in another insipid performance on the road, going down 2-0 to Leicester. Ronald Koeman's side never really got going, with the hosts fully deserving their victory.
Leicester made a fast paced start, boosted by the boisterous atmosphere in the ground. The Foxes sent a warning to the home side in the 2nd minute when Robert Huth headed over from a corner. Leicester's aggressive pressing paid dividends as early as the 7th minute. Riyad Mahrez saw off the challenge of Steven Davis before firing low into the bottom corner of the net from just outside of the area.
Leicester sat off after the goal, allowing Saints to have possession within 30 yards of goal. The away side attempted to attack from out wide and weren't afraid to go long. Leicester were well drilled at the back, however and let very little come through. An injury to Matty James led to a long stoppage. Leicester picked up for where they had left off when play resumed. It was 2-0 on 19. A poor clearance for Gazzaniga, followed by some slack defensive play led to Mahrez nipping in for his second of the afternoon.
Saints did offer a brief response, with Harrison Reed stinging Kasper Schmeichel's gloves from distance. Sadio Mane then nodded over from inside the area. Leicester looked far more convincing going forward, hitting Saints on the counter a couple of times. Gazzaniga blocked Jamie Vardy's low shot with his legs on 35. On 42 Leonardo Ulloa headed over from Esteban Cambiasso's free-kick. Just before half-time Schmeichel pushed Toby Alderweireld's free-kick over the bar.
Saints looked a bit better at the start of the 2nd half. Eljero Elia shot wide of the near post on 49. The action soon fizzled out however, with Leicester fighting harder in a turgid midfield battle. Saints occasionally threatened with a few half-chances. Victor Wanyama and Mane combined well on 68, but Schmeichel swept the ball up before the former had the chance to shoot. Substitute Filip Djuricic added a touch more creativity to Saints' attack. The visitors' best chance of the game came on 71, with Schmeichel saving Mane's well struck effort.
Leicester fans thought it was 3-0 on 73 when Cambiasso struck the side netting. Saints showed little urgency during the final 15 minutes, with the result never really looking in doubt. Koeman's side didn't create any more serious chances until stoppage time. Alderweireld had a shot deflected out and then Mane dragged wide of goal at the end of a miserable afternoon for Saints.
The end of season run-in could hardly have been more anti-climactic. Koeman attempted to mix things up slightly by bringing in Gazzaniga and Reed, but the end result was the same. Saints had less to play for during the second half of last season, but have tailed off far worse this time around. Frankly it's amazing that Tottenham are still only a point away. Ultimately it will still go down as a good campaign, but there have been plenty of missed opportunities recently which could have made it much better. Many accused Saints of lacking hunger at Leicester, and while that's probably not completely unfair, a lack of quality was the main issue. A serious assessment of the squad is required during the summer. Saints can't afford to let recent form run into next season.
Gazzaniga: 5. Nice to see him being given another chance, but may have to wait a while for the next one. Didn't cover himself in glory for either goal
Clyne: 5. Did ok defensively, but not aggressive enough going forward
Fonte: 6. Made a few good blocks. A reasonable outing
Alderweireld: 7. Probably Saints' best player. Read the game very well and played his way out of trouble on more than one occasion
Bertrand: 6. A few good forward bursts, but also some sloppy ball work
Reed: 6. Some tidy play in possession and a few competitive tackles
Wanyama: 6. A level below his usual standard. Didn't dominate the midfield that way you would expect, but did make a couple of good forward charges
Davis: 5. A lot of the game passed him by. Not strong enough in the build-up to the first goal
Mane: 6. Notched a couple of half decent efforts on goal, but like many players not quite at his best
Elia: 6. A neat first touch and some fancy individual skill, but nothing which opened up the Leicester defence
Pelle: 6. Started the game reasonably well, working the channels to good effect. Received little service later on and couldn't get into the game at all in the second half
Djuricic: 6. Improved things slightly, briefly adding a bit of inventiveness to Saints' attack
Long: 5. Didn't offer a lot
Leicester - Mahrez (9, 19)
Attendance - 31,939 (3,265 Saints fans)
Referee - Roger East
Leicester: Schmeichel, Wasilewski, Huth, Morgan, Albrighton, Schlupp, Cambiasso, James (Drinkwater 13), Mahrez, Ulloa (Hammond 78), Vardy (Nugent 70)
Subs not used: Schwarzer, de Laet, Konchesky, Kramaric
Saints: Gazzaniga, Clyne, Fonte, Alderweireld, Bertrand, Reed, Wanyama, S Davis (Djuricic 66), Mane, Elia (Long 66), Pelle
Subs not used: K Davis, Gardos, Targett, Yoshida, Gallagher