Leicester City vs Stoke City
Early kick offs, don’t we just love them! I suppose a positive slant on them is that you can lie in bed and watch the game, and still have the rest of the afternoon and evening to do whatever you want. To be more specific, when I say ‘you can lie in bed’, I meant I can lie in bed…
Going to the game on the other hand, is very different. Is it acceptable to drink at 10am? I can’t stomach thinking about alcohol that early, but that’s why we love football- no one judges you if you do!
Another positive is that the away supporters don’t have to travel far to get down to the King Power Stadium; just over an hour or so up the road is Stoke. Of course, some Stoke fans will be based a lot further afield than that, and it’s those who I feel for. Unfortunately we’ve just got to grin and bear it, and look forward to what should be quite an interesting match between two sides who need the points for very different reasons.
Stoke currently sit second from bottom in the Premier League, two points from safety. Having recently changed their manager, they’re still looking to find the form they need to get out of their current situation.
Coming into this game, both sides haven’t won in their previous three games in the league, with their last wins coming on the same weekend (20th January), against Watford and Huddersfield.
Away from home, Stoke have been poor to say the least. In eight of their 13 away league games this season, Stoke have conceded at least two goals and don’t tend to score that many in the right end either, netting just 10 on the road. This will clearly need to be addressed sooner rather than later if Stoke will want to avoid being in a relegation scrap come April/May.
Leicester on the other hand have scored 19 goals in front of their supporters, in 13 home matches, which averages at 1.46 goals a game. The Foxes have conceded 15 goals at home though, which comes in at just over a goal a game. Based on that stat, Stoke may fancy their chances at grabbing a goal, although as previously mentioned, they’ll need to rectify their woeful tally of 10 away goals.
Stoke this season have one of the worst defences in the league, conceding just under two goals per game (1.96). It doesn’t make for pretty reading at the other end either, scoring bang on a goal per game overall. You’d say that wasn’t bad, but they’re in the bottom three for a reason and the league average for scoring goals is 1.35.
At home, Leicester’s matches average at 2.62 goals per game. Adding to that, Stoke’s away matches average at 3.31 goals per game. In short, the stats say that there’ll be goals on Saturday, however they do suggest that any goals scored are more likely to come through the Foxes rather than the Potters.
This type of game for Leicester is the typical banana skin. In front of the Sky Sports cameras against a team in no sort of form, struggling to string a positive run of results together and with a manager who, with all due respect, doesn’t offer much by way of a managerial CV.
I don’t doubt for one minute that Stoke will go down; their squad on paper is at the very least, top half worthy. However I do feel like there’s something missing at the Bet365, although what that is remains a mystery. Perhaps an out and out striker would be a priority? Anyhow, Stoke fans you’ll be fine, mark my words.
Our victory against Sheffield United in the cup last week signalled to me a strong intent by Claude Puel to give the cup competition a go this year, as well as pushing for a top eight finish in the league. Both doable of course, however a couple of injuries and/or suspensions here and there could very easily change my mind. On the same token, the cup could be being used as a confidence booster, the ‘bit on the side’ if you like. Either way, it’s a smart thing to do, especially as this Premier League season is starting to take shape and confidence will play a major role is deciding how each team fares in their final load of games.
I think at home we’ll be too strong for the away side, heaping a little bit more pressure on newly-appointed Stoke boss Paul Lambert. We could win 4-3 or 1-0, it could go either way, however I’m going to play this rather conservatively and go for a solid 2-0 win, in the hope I’m either proven right, or we win by more and I’m even happier by the time the Saturday afternoon matches kick off.
Leicester City 2-0 Stoke City