Stoke City vs Leicester City
Kick off 12:30pm
Premier League games come thick and fast don’t they?
It doesn’t seem so long ago that I was finally celebrating a Leicester victory. A comprehensive display from the Foxes, which the final scoreline highlighted- 2-0 win against Everton.
Claude Puel couldn’t have asked for a better team performance, one full of attacking threat, pace and creativity.
A special mention must go to Demarai Gray who’s waited a long time to get his place in the starting XI, but on Sunday, in a role that was interchangeable with Riyad Mahrez, he played an absolute blinder and ran the show.
As much as we were good, Everton weren’t exactly a team full of confidence. Although in the second half, that one-way traffic did halt somewhat, with the Toffees showing some attacking poise- albeit half chances.
However, looking forward and Stoke are another test altogether.
As all football fans know, for whatever reason, the Bet365 Stadium seems to have almost a dark soul; maybe it seems fitting considering Halloween was this week?
The standard reply to anything related to Stoke City and their opponents is:
“Can they do it on a cold night in Stoke?”
This stereotype stemmed from the Tony Pulis era.
The days of Rory Delap and his trademark long throws, the aerial threat Stoke possessed, not to mention the electric atmosphere, which was daunting for the opposition.
It’s a horrible place to go and get something from; this is Leicester’s task come Saturday afternoon.
The first time these two clubs met was back in 1907, where Leicester ran out 1-0 winners in the old Division Two, a whole 110 years ago. These two giants of football in their own right love playing each other, and you’ll see why later on.
The last time Leicester were beaten by Stoke was back in January 2015, where Stoke silenced the home crowd winning by a goal to nil.
Since then, Leicester haven’t lost to Stoke in the four games they’ve played- winning two and drawing two.
The last result between the two sides was a 2-0 victory to the Foxes at the King Power Stadium, with Wilfred N’didi scoring a 25-yard screamer to put the home side ahead in the game.
Funnily enough, this was Leicester’s fourth win in a row under new boos Craig Shakespeare… how fitting it seems that Leicester now have another new boss in Claude Puel, and Stoke play them early into his new reign!
In terms of overall record, I said last week that Leicester and Everton was always a close contest. However, Leicester and Stoke have well and truly left that out to dry.
Leicester’s record against Stoke is as follows:
Yep, it’s literally the most perfect scenario, as well as the worst scenario if you’re a betting man or woman.
It seems like these two teams feel guilty for beating each other, and will try and help return the favour somewhat!
Stoke boss Mark Hughes is unbeaten in his last two against Claude Puel, with the Frenchman yet to win against the former Manchester City manager.
Can he make it three out of three on Saturday?
A tough test awaits the travelling Foxes. Yet, as much as this is a tough test, we’re now a team under new management, who hit the ground running last weekend, looking to continue that form for as long as possible.
Stoke under Mark Hughes are one of the most inconsistent teams in the Premier League, who at the best of times don’t seem to get quite reach their full potential. For instance, the calibre of players there.
The likes of Xherdan Shaqiri, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, Jese Rodriguez, should be firing in at least ten goals each a season in my opinion.
It’s a shame to see Stoke where they are now; to go from a Europa League team to a team that barely scrape top ten isn’t right.
In terms of this game, I would love to see us continue our good run of form. I want us to play just like we did against Everton, and if we do, Stoke’s defence will have problems all afternoon.
On the flipside, set-pieces have always been Leicester’s downfall, but Stoke’s main source of chances and goals.
This is definitely an area that has to be worked on down at Belvoir Drive, because any sniff of a chance from a corner or free kick, Stoke will take it.
I fancy a draw in this game, I think we’ll do enough to avoid defeat at the Bet 365 Stadium, although I feel both teams will score in this matchup, and ultimately share the spoils at full time.