Leicester City 2 Southampton 0 reaction: City slickers on the cusp of survival after day of drama at the bottom

COMMENT: Leicester's energy is unrivalled at the bottom of the Premier League table as Foxes win sixth game in seven

Samuel Stevens
Saturday 09 May 2015 17:32
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Nigel Pearson celebrated his Manager of the Month award for April in style as Leicester City secured an efficient 2-0 win over Southampton - their sixth victory in seven matches.

The 51-year-old was picked ahead of newly-crowned Premier League champion Jose Mourinho after leading his troops to four wins in five last month to haul themselves off the foot of the table.

Following today's success over Ronald Koeman's men, courtesy of two fine Riyad Mahrez strikes, the Foxes are now three points above 17th-place Hull City with just two games to play.

The home faithful, who have provided such a rambunctious soundtrack to Leicester’s revival in recent weeks, were in fine voice yet again.

Following Sunderland’s 2-0 victory over an Everton side who looked like they had spent the morning reading a Thomas Cook brochure, the pressure was on the Foxes and their fellow scrappers at the foot of the table.

Leonardo Ulloa watches on as Riyad Mahrez's shot flies in

Stirred by the surprise appearance of Kasabian’s Tom Meighan and Sergio Pizzorno, alongside club legend Steve Walsh, the King Power Stadium was already rocking before a ball had even been kicked.

Pearson’s men, often on the wrong end of questionable refereeing decisions or calamitous deflections, have endured rotten fortune all season. That was until, as the Foxes boss phrased it last week, they decided to just ‘make their own luck instead’.

At no point was this new impetus more obvious than when Mahrez put them into an early lead. Saints boss Koeman must have felt like he had kicked a hornets’ nest.

The Algerian winger effortlessly made mincemeat of Steven Davis and Jose Fonte, on the edge of the Saints’ penalty box, before skipping through and blasting past third-choice goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga.

With England manager Roy Hodgson in the stands to watch Southampton duo Nathanial Clyne and Ryan Bertrand in action, Jamie Vardy, too, was making a name for himself after an excellent few weeks.

Esteban Cambiasso marshals his teammates after Leicester's second goal

The former Fleetwood Town forward was watched by the Three Lions backroom staff after his role in the 5-3 demolition of Manchester United back in September, but Hodgson's interest faded as Leicester went 13 games without a victory before Christmas.

The industrious striker was able to nuzzle his way past Clyne after 19 minutes, however, before finding Mahrez in enough space to poke home for the hosts’ second in quick succession.

It was yet another firestorm start from the Foxes, following last weekend’s first-half dismantling of Newcastle United, as Vardy wreaked havoc once more.

It’s no wonder, if you believe reports in the tabloid press, Koeman had Vardy watched by his scouts in the new year.

He then pounced on Mahrez’s meticulously-timed through ball on the half-hour mark before dancing past Fonte only to see his low drive blocked by Gazzaniga. Should have scored.

Danny Drinkwater, who replaced the injured Matty James, continues his impressive return to action

News of West Brom’s opener at St. James’ Park only added to the buoyant mood as Newcastle slipped into the relegation zone. At least they have the best manager in the Premier League in John Carver.

Esteban Cambiasso, Leicester’s sheriff-in-chief, was doing his level best to keep his colleagues calm. Then Aston Villa took the lead over West Ham in what, you imagine, was a bittersweet moment for newly re-elected prime minister David Cameron.

Tim Sherwood appears to be living the impossible dream in the West Midlands as his Villains continue to become heroes at Villa Park. Should he also manage to lift the FA Cup in three weeks’ time, the former Tottenham boss will surely cement his place in Villa folklore.

Alarmingly for doomed Burnley and nervous Hull, though, the only top flight ground waiting to see a goal was the KC Stadium.

The Clarets' fans seemed to think their season was already over, singing ‘You’re going down with the Burnley’ as Robbie Brady clattered the crossbar with an ambitious free-kick from distance. The plot would soon thicken in East Yorkshire.

Ayoze Pérez, on the other hand, injected some life into the atmosphere in Newcastle. Scoring past Boaz Myhill, his emphatic strike meant he was single-handedly preventing the Toon from suffering a ninth consecutive defeat.

Meanwhile at the King Power, the Saints emerged from the break with a new sense of purpose and did what so many have failed to do in recent times; push Leicester back.

As Koeman's troops looked for a way to unpick the Foxes lock, however, the drama was about to see the most unlikely of twists elsewhere.

Danny Ings, without a goal in three months, then stood up and fired Burnley into a shock lead over the Tigers to consign Steve Bruce's side to a spot in the bottom three.

The Leicester faithful reacted instantaneously. 'We are staying up,' they roared as news filtered through that Hull now have to pick up points against either Spurs or Manchester United if they are to survive.

Pearson's mantra, that his Foxes should simply 'make their own luck', continues to be their saving grace. It might just keep them up.

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