September 11, 2014

Stoke City are without a league victory so far this season and desperate for a positive result against high-flying Leicester City at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday.

The Potters (0-2-3) are third from bottom with just two points from five matches after making their worst start to a Premier League campaign.

Stoke suffered their third defeat as they lost 2-0 away to Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium last weekend.

Arsenal's 29 shots taken against Stoke last week were the most by a Premier League side in a match this season. The 12 shots on target were also a league-high.

Potters manager Mark Hughes was unimpressed his side's defensive performance against the Gunners, but picked out goalkeeper Jack Butland - who has made a league-high 27 saves in 2015-16 - for special praise.

"We have to be far better in terms of our defensive work moving forward," Hughes told his club's official website. "It's important to get closer to players, make them go sideways at times and give them something to think about.

"We are indebted to Jack once more for denying Arsenal a far more comprehensive victory. It's good that he is performing so well, but hopefully moving forward we give him less opportunities to pick up man of the match awards. We need other guys to hit his performance levels, which I am sure they will."

The Foxes (3-2-0) are flourishing under new boss Claudio Ranieri and have matched their best start to a Premier League season, set in 2000.

Ranieri, who replaced Nigel Pearson as Leicester manager in July, has steered the Foxes to second place in the table, with 11 points from five matches.

Ranieri's side claimed their third league win of the campaign after rallying from two goals down to win 3-2 over Aston Villa last weekend, with goals from Ritchie de Laet, Jamie Vardy and Nathan Dyer in the final 18 minutes.

Goal-scorer De Laet was delighted with Leicester's victory.

"We've got the belief," Belgium defender De Laet told his club's official website. "We're playing at home so we know we can score goals. Obviously going 2-0 down, you don't want to do that in the Premier League but we had the belief and the quality to come back and win the game.

"It just shows the belief, character and spirit in this group of lads. We've carried on from last season really. We continue to play well, take points and if we can't win the game, we definitely don't lose it. Everyone is buzzing because it's good to come back from 2-0 down, but we have to go again, get a couple of recovery sessions in then think about Stoke."

Stoke midfielders Charlie Adam and Ibrahim Afellay will miss this match due to suspension.

Both sides won away against each other last season, with the Foxes recording a 1-0 win at the Britannia in September. Leonardo Ulloa scored with Leicester's only shot on target all match while Stoke attempted 26 shots but failed to find the net. The Potters won 1-0 at the King Power Stadium in January on a Bojan Krkic goal just past the hour mark. Those two contests are the only ever Premier League meetings between Leicester and Stoke.

The sides also met in the third round of the 2014 FA Cup, with Stoke eliminating the Foxes 2-1 at the Britannia on goals from Kenwyne Jones and Adam. David Nugent got the lone tally for Leicester.

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