Leicester lay down early-season marker with big win at Southampton
Jamie Vardy grabbed his first Championship goal of the season as Leicester climbed to the top of the table with a 4-1 thrashing of Southampton.
Vardy needed just 21 seconds to open the scoring before Kasey McAteer, Wilfred Ndidi and Stephy Mavididi made things dominant for the Foxes despite Sam Edozie’s goal.
Leicester and Southampton were the Championship’s favourites for promotion after their Premier League relegation last season.
Both had started with four matches unbeaten – including four wins for the Foxes – before suffering shock defeats before the international break.
As stunned as Southampton were at losing 5-0 to Sunderland, it was doubled by being behind inside a minute.
Former England striker Vardy made his first start since the opening day of the campaign and pounced in his trademark style after Mavididi had got in behind and pulled back.
Saints were lucky not to concede when Taylor Harwood-Bellis gave away the ball in his own area, but it was no surprise when Will Smallbone and Kyle Walker-Peters lost concentration and handed the ball over to Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall.
The midfielder fed McAteer who controlled and finished past Gavin Bazunu in style in the 25th minute.
Che Adams had teed up Edozie only for the winger to air-kick before forcing Foxes keeper Mads Hermansen into a fine diving save.
The frontman caught Callum Doyle dithering in midfield and threaded a through ball to Edozie, who calmly clipped in his second professional goal.
The away side desperately pushed to regain their two-goal advantage.
Ndidi had a shot pushed behind by Bazunu, before the Irishman twice denied Mavididi’s weak efforts.
Mavididi proved his main skill was providing as he used his strength to turn a defender and then his vision to pick out Ndidi – who prodded in his first league goal since January 2021.
Southampton improved after being booed off at half-time, but had to wait until the 60th minute for a gilt-edged chance. Top scorer Adam Armstrong almost hit the back row of the stand from seven yards.
At the other end, Mavididi got clean through but used the outside of his boot to hit off target.
He did not miss next time, the summer signing from Montpellier led a three versus one break, ran around Smallbone and rolled past Bazunu.
It was the former Arsenal youngster’s second goal for the Foxes.
St Mary’s began to empty for the last half an hour, with the home fans missing more misplaced passes, ole’s from the travelling end and Kamaldeen Sulemana dismissed.
The winger was shown a straight red card for jumping in on James Justin deep into stoppage time.