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Preview – Leicester v Southampton

Preview – Leicester v Southampton

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Leicester City have struggled to get the balance between domestic and European football right in the opening seven weeks of the season and may find it difficult to kick-start their title defence when they host Southampton on Sunday.

The Foxes have looked impressive in beating Bruges and Porto in their first-ever Champions League campaign and are well-placed to qualify for the knockout stages of the competition but they have struggled in the Premier League and are currently in the bottom half of the table.

Riyad Mahrez, 25/4 to score the first goal on Sunday, has yet to replicate his form of last season, while Wes Morgan and Robert Huth have been far less dominant in central defence than they were last term.

The 4-1 drubbings at Liverpool and Manchester United, as well as an opening-day home loss to Hull City, mean that Claudio Ranieri’s side have already lost as many Premier League matches as they did in the entire title-winning 2015/16 campaign.

Islam Slimani looks to have been an excellent summer acquisition, though, and his goal in the 1-0 win against Porto on Tuesday brought his tally to the season to three following his brace in the 3-0 victory against Burnley.

Ranieri will be without the injured Matty James (ankle) and Nampalys Mendy (ankle), but otherwise has a full squad to choose from, and his side are 15/2 to come from behind to win what should be a tight encounter.

After making a slow start to the season, Southampton have hit a rich vein of form and last Sunday’s 3-0 demolition of West Ham United, following their previous triumph against Swansea City, lifted them up to ninth in the table.

Charlie Austin’s goal at West Ham means he’s scored in four successive games in all competitions, while Dusan Tadic is currently in some of the best form of his life. Austin is 19/10 to find the net again on Sunday.

Virgil van Dijk has formed a solid central-defensive partnership with Jose Fonte and, despite Ronald Koeman being succeeded by Claude Puel in the summer, Saints already look to be a side perfectly well-equipped to secure a top-half finish.

Thursday’s goalless draw against Hapoel Be’er Sheva in the Europa League was their fifth clean sheet in a row in all competitions and odds of 53/20 for them to keep another on Sunday look to be good value.

Jay Rodriguez (groin), Sofiane Boufal (knee) and Jeremy Pied (cruciate knee ligaments) are all missing for Southampton.

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Gareth Freeman Gareth is our daily tipster, who has years of successful sports betting behind him and is always on hand to offer a value bet. As well as a passion for Football (UK and European), he also has in-depth Tennis, Boxing, Snooker and Basketball knowledge.