Leicester v Southampton: the predictions and the psychology

It seems rather a long time since Leicester won the Premier League – and it may well be that they are now in a long period of decline after that extraordinary win.   There have been other surprise winners in the past – probably none so great at Manchester City in the 1930s who then, having won the league, were relegated the following season.

No such decline for Leicester but looking at their results in December and into this month things don’t look that good overall but with a couple of major exceptions…

01 Dec 2018 Leicester City v Watford W 2-0
05 Dec 2018 Fulham v Leicester City D 1-1
08 Dec 2018 Leicester City v Tottenham Hotspur L 0-2
15 Dec 2018 Crystal Palace v Leicester City L 1-0
18 Dec 2018 Leicester City v Manchester City* L 1-1 (1-3)
22 Dec 2018 Chelsea v Leicester City W 0-1
26 Dec 2018 Leicester City v Manchester City W 2-1
29 Dec 2018 Leicester City v Cardiff City L 0-1
01 Jan 2019 Everton v Leicester City W 0-1
06 Jan 2019 Newport County v Leicester City** L 2-1

*League Cup

**FA Cup

So taking all the games into account in this run that is five defeats four wins and a draw.  But what will (or at least should) worry the club are these two recent defeats to Cardiff and Newport County which have really taken the shine off wins over Manchester City and Chelsea.   Having reached the heights in those two games, they really should not have now slipped back down to the subsequent defeats.

Will they be able to pull themselves back up to the heights in facing Southampton?

In terms of home form, Leicester are mid-table.  Here’s the league table just taking into account home games.

Team P W D L F A GD
Pts
8 AFC Bournemouth 11 5 3 3 19 17 2 18
9 Everton 11 5 3 3 18 16 2 18
10 Watford 11 5 1 5 16 18 -2 16
11 Leicester City 10 4 2 4 12 10 2 14
12 West Ham United 11 4 2 5 16 18 -2 14
13 Wolverhampton Wanderers 11 4 2 5 12 15 -3 14

Just 12 goals scored at home in 10 games is not that inspiring, but at least they have kept a positive balance in terms of goals.

Southampton had a poor start to the season indeed but are pulling themselves back up a bit now.  Here’s the away table.

14 AFC Bournemouth 10 3 0 7 12 23 -11 9
15 Brighton and Hove Albion 11 2 2 7 9 18 -9 8
16 Southampton 11 2 2 7 10 21 -11 8
17 Burnley 11 2 2 7 9 22 -13 8
18 Cardiff City 10 1 2 7 6 18 -12 5
19 Huddersfield Town 10 1 2 7 8 21 -13 5
20 Fulham 11 0 2 9 7 28 -21 2

Two wins and two draws out of ten games, with 10 goals scored, which suggests they might well get one.  But the 21 conceded suggests that even Leicester might knock in a couple.

Southampton’s upturn started by ending Arsenal’s 22 match unbeaten run…

16 Dec 2018 Southampton v Arsenal W 3-2
22 Dec 2018 Huddersfield Town v Southampton W 1-3
27 Dec 2018 Southampton v West Ham United L 1-2
30 Dec 2018 Southampton v Manchester City L 1-3
02 Jan 2019 Chelsea v Southampton D 0-0
05 Jan 2019 Derby County v Southampton* D 2-2

*FA Cup

The club then dutifully saw off Huddersfield who are having such a poor run, but more might have been expected from the game against West Ham.  But they did hold Chelsea at the start of the year.

The psychology.

Having picked themselves up with two early wins Southampton had two defeats, but then put up the shutters for a goalless draw.  However each time they get some confidence they don’t fully build on it.

Leicester are not the team they were when they won the league but they have players on much higher salaries now, who are not always delivering.  But the wins against Chelsea, Man City and Everton will give their players the mental boost they need.

It still looks like a clear home win to me.  2-0, I’d say.

 

Everton v Leicester: the predictions

Tuesday 1 January

12:30 Everton v Leicester City
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Assistants: Stephen Child, Lee Betts
Fourth official: Anthony Taylor

Everton are currently 8th in the table when it comes to home matches only…

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Liverpool 10 9 1 0 27 3 24 28
2 Manchester City 10 9 0 1 35 9 26 27
3 Arsenal 10 7 2 1 20 9 11 23
4 Chelsea 10 6 3 1 19 8 11 21
5 Tottenham Hotspur 9 6 0 3 18 9 9 18
6 Manchester United 9 5 3 1 17 12 5 18
7 Brighton and Hove Albion 10 5 3 2 15 11 4 18
8 Everton 10 5 3 2 18 15 3 18

Five wins, three draws and two defeats but with only just having achieved positive score in the goal difference.  They sit alongside Tottenham and Manchester United who both have a home game in hand.

Leicester are in ninth place in the away games table with a creditable four wins, two draws and four defeats and a goal difference of minus one.

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Tottenham Hotspur 11 9 0 2 25 12 13 27
2 Liverpool 10 8 2 0 21 5 16 26
3 Chelsea 10 6 2 2 18 8 10 20
4 Manchester City 9 5 2 2 16 6 10 17
5 Arsenal 10 4 3 3 22 21 1 15
6 Wolverhampton Wanderers 10 4 3 3 11 10 1 15
7 Manchester United 10 4 2 4 20 19 1 14
8 West Ham United 9 4 2 3 13 12 1 14
9 Leicester City 10 4 2 4 12 13 -1 14

So neither team is knocking in the goals in their respective tables: Everton 1.8 to 1.5 per game and Leicester 1.2 to 1.3 per game.

Everton’s run in the Premier League has been poor of late…

Date Game Res Score
02 Dec 2018 Liverpool v Everton L 1-0
05 Dec 2018 Everton v Newcastle United D 1-1
10 Dec 2018 Everton v Watford D 2-2
15 Dec 2018 Manchester City v Everton L 3-1
23 Dec 2018 Everton v Tottenham Hotspur L 2-6
26 Dec 2018 Burnley v Everton W 1-5
29 Dec 2018 Brighton and Hove Albion v Everton L 1-0

Their one success in December being a thumping of a Burnley side whose manager committed team suicide by claiming that his team would not be able to win anything because the refs are all against them!  A bizarre thing to do.

Leicester have slightly edged this side of things in December – and as above we are looking here at Premier League matches only.

Date Game Res Score
01 Dec 2018 Leicester City v Watford W 2-0
05 Dec 2018 Fulham v Leicester City D 1-1
08 Dec 2018 Leicester City v Tottenham Hotspur L 0-2
15 Dec 2018 Crystal Palace v Leicester City L 1-0
22 Dec 2018 Chelsea v Leicester City W 0-1
26 Dec 2018 Leicester City v Manchester City W 2-1
29 Dec 2018 Leicester City v Cardiff City L 0-1

For Leicester the Cardiff result looks out of context from the rest, one presumes that they simply thought it would all be too easy after those two sensational results against Chelsea and Manchester City.

But given the closeness of the home and away results shown aabove I think the recent form could hold sway here and I’d go for a Leicester win.