Competition: Premier League – Leicester City vs. Stoke City
Venue: King Power Stadium, Date: Saturday 23 January K/O 15:00 GMT (10:00 ET)
Match Odds: Leicester City Evens Draw 12/5 Stoke City 11/4
Surprise title contenders Leicester City welcome Stoke City to the King Power Stadium on Saturday, looking to get back to the top of the Premier League table, while Stoke have European ambitions on their minds.
Claudio Ranieri’s troops have slipped up in recent weeks, with the latest setback a 2-0 defeat to Tottenham in their FA Cup replay on Wednesday.
One win in five has seen them wobble at top of the table, but that win did come against other surprise title contenders Tottenham last week, having now played Spurs three times in ten days.
Riyad Mahrez has missed crucial penalties against Aston Villa and Bournemouth in recent games, causing them to miss out on four points as they disappointingly drew both fixtures.
Some will see this as their easiest match in coming weeks, with Liverpool heading to Leicester next, followed by trips to Manchester City and Arsenal after. Now is the real test of their title credentials.
Stoke are fighting for their own objectives. They sit in seventh place and are in the semifinal of the League Cup, while they also advanced comfortably into the fourth round of the FA Cup.
The Potters have been on a good run, with three wins in their last five Premier League matches.Their latest fixture saw them play out a hard earned draw with Arsenal at the Britannia.
Mark Hughes deserves massive credit for the job he has done at Stoke, with the flair on the wings and solid defensive setup helping the Potters to improve greatly.
Although away from home they struggle, with only four wins in twelve matches this season. They have only won back-to-back away matches once this season.
With Jack Butland in goal they have a stubborn keeper who has kept five clean sheets on the road this season and he will hope for another here.
The reverse fixture saw Leicester draw 2-2 at the Britannia, having been 2-0 down but goals from Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy meant they travelled home with a well earned point. This looks like it could be full of more goals.
Leicester City are expected to recall N’Golo Kante, Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez to the side after all three started Wednesday’s FA Cup game on the bench. Matty James could return to the bench after recovering from his serious ACL injury.
Stoke City look set to be without Geoff Cameron (ankle), while Xherdan Shaqiri is pushing to be fit after a hamstring injury has forced him to miss the last few matches.
Leicester City’s last five: L/D/D/W/D
Stoke City’s last five: W/W/L/W/D
Key Stat: Leicester haven’t beaten Stoke at home since 2006.
Key Player: N’Golo Kante – The Frenchman has had a very impressive debut season in England following his summer switch from Caen. With vital tackles and his composure on the ball, he has been one of the league’s best midfielders this term. With Stoke’s endless energy, he will need to be switched on to get the Foxes back on top.
Leicester City 2-0 Stoke City – The Tinkerman will almost have a fully fit squad for the visit of Stoke, and so a crack of the whip on his team selection is likely, in order to maintain their focus on staying in the top four. Stoke offer so much going forward with the quality in their ranks but Leicester need this win before three very tough fixtures.