Rain fell, winds swirled, and as the heavens opened over St Mary’s, Leicester blew Southampton away with a performance to make their Boss smile from above.
Sunday marks one year since the death of Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and, for all the displays of remembrance this week, few will be as fitting as this 9-0 win by Brendan Rodgers’ side.
On Friday night the travelling Leicester fans wore commemorative scarves carrying the four word legacy of their late chairman: Making the impossible possible.
This team, carved in the image of the man who led them to that unlikely title triumph, are making their supporters dream once more.
Here again they played with confidence and invention, goals from Ben Chilwell, Jamie Vardy, Youri Tielemans and two from Ayoze Perez ending the contest before half time. Perez secured his hat-trick shortly after the break before Vardy and James Maddison made this the biggest ever away win in a top-flight match since the Football League began 131 years ago.
Vardy completed his hat-trick with an injury-time penalty after a foul by Jan Bednarek. Minutes earlier, Maddison scored a brilliant free kick. He celebrated by pointing to the sky and looking up to the heavens. This was another special night.
‘It was the perfect performance. From the very first whistle in the game we showed our intent,’ Brendan Rodgers said afterwards.
‘I’m so pleased with the performance, it had everything you could want. We went in front, deservedly so. And then when Ryan got sent off, we showed a wonderful demonstration of how to play against ten men.
‘The players made it look a lot easier than it actually is. All round collectively it was an absolutely outstanding night and brilliant for the supporters to travel all the way down here on a wet night.
‘To see the team score nine goals and be very focused, hopefully they will be very proud.’
For the third consecutive home game, meanwhile, Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side pressed the self-destruct button inside the first half.
They lost Ryan Bertrand to an early red card and never recovered. For their manager, this looks set to be be the final straw.
But this night belonged to Leicester. They are now second and only 2/1 to make the top four. That doesn’t flatter them, either. Few teams in the country are playing with such fluidity and skill.
Before the game Rodgers spoke about the need to retain Vichai’s spirit. His legacy lives on through his son, Top. It was he who appointed Rodgers in February and under the Northern Irishman Leicester are breaking new ground again.
Here they were supreme from the off and it took only 10 minutes for the floodgates to open.
Chilwell drove forward and his cross was turned goalwards by Harvey Barnes. Gunn’s save fell kindly to the onrushing Chilwell, who slotted home.
VAR then added insult to injury. Shortly before the goal Bertrand had lost control of the ball and in stretching to win it back, caught Perez halfway up his leg. It was missed by most inside St Mary’s. But not by Mike Dean. Andre Marriner had no choice but to show a straight red card.
Saints had barely gathered themselves when the game was taken away in the space of two minutes.
Again it was Chilwell and Barnes who combined for Leicester’s second. The left back drove 50 yards before feeding his winger, who picked out Tielemans inside the area. The Belgian had enough time to take a touch and fire home. Moments later scorer turned provider. Tielemans shared a one-two with Perez, who opened his Leicester account with a simple finish.
Boos rang out around three corners of St Mary’s but worse was to come for Southampton.
Shortly before the break Chilwell looped a cross towards the back post. Yan Valery left it, unaware that Perez was closing in behind him. The forward fired high into the net to send streams of supporters home early. Even fewer lasted until the break.
Vardy got in on the act when he turned Maya Yoshida and fired home from inside the box. After half time Perez who netted their sixth before Vardy scored a second and sparked the Leicester supporters into a fresh tribute to their late chairman.
The remaining home fans clapped. It was about all they could applaud on Friday night.
But still Leicester weren’t done yet. This team are going places. People have been foolish to write them off before.