By 90Min
November 03, 2017

Stoke and Leicester kick off this weekend's Premier League fixtures with a meeting at the bet365 stadium on Saturday.

Both Midlands clubs have had difficult starts to the new campaign, and each will be eager to win and earn three points to push them further up the Premier League.

Mark Hughes' Potters have alway been formidable at home, not just in their style of play but also with the breezy conditions that engulf the stadium and make it a demanding place to go and win.

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Nevertheless, they find themselves on a difficult run of form with three defeats in their last five league games.

The Foxes find themselves with a new manager at the helm in Claude Puel and have suffered just one defeat in their last six games, the only blemish being a 3-2 defeat to Liverpool.


Classic Encounter


On 17 December 2016, the Foxes had Jamie Vardy sent off for a two-footed challenge on Mame Biram Diouf in the 28th minute and went behind to goals from Bojan and Joe Allen just before half-time, giving the home side a comfortable and seemingly unassailable 2-0 lead.

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However, Claudio Ranieri rekindled his magic dust and sprinkled some over his title-winning squad during the break and they came out fighting.

Two substitutes - Demarai Gray and Leonardo Ulloa - combined to half the deficit in the 74th minute before Daniel Amartey scored his first Leicester goal two minutes from the end to ensure they went home with a share of the spoils.


Key Battle


Leicester's Jamie Vardy looks to have found his mojo again. He looks a striker full of energy and vigour and his eye for goal is returning. 

Stoke's defenders will need to keep a close eye on him, particularly captain Ryan Shawcross.

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His tough, no nonsense style of defending should make for interesting viewing. Vardy's electrifying pace and high work rate will ensure Stoke's defenders have little to no rest on Saturday. 


Team News


It is unlikely that Mark Hughes will make too many changes to his starting lineup after last Saturday's impressive 1-0 over Watford at Vicarage Road. 

The one area the Stoke manager might look to address is his striking options, as scoring has been a problem during this campaign. 

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Therefore, Saido Berahino could get an opportunity to start, but otherwise expect them to remain unchanged.

Leicester will stick to their tried and tested system of 4-4-1-1, but expect a few subtle changes to make them a little more compact and tougher to breakdown.

In the wide areas, Riyad Mahrez and Marc Albrighton will provide defensive cover, but offer that threat in the final third too. 

Shinji Okazaki will play slightly behind Jamie Vardy; both forward players have a high work rate and will use this to apply pressure on Stoke's back three to try and unsettle them throughout the afternoon.

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Stoke City's Potential Lineup: Butland, Zouma, Shawcross, Wimmer, Diouf, Fletcher, Allen, Pieters, Shaqiri, Sobhi, Choupo-Moting.

Leicester City's Potential Lineup: Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan, Maguire, Fuchs, Mahrez, Ndidi, Iborra, Albrighton, Okazaki, Vardy.


Match Prediction


The Foxes are beginning to find their form and are looking like a formidable collective unit once more, they should be in confident mood for this encounter.

However, Stoke are a side that, although currently struggling for form, can rightly feel lifted, especially playing at home where they are a tough nut to crack.

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There is not much between each of the squads as both possess quality. If pushed, Leicester's high press and extra quality in the final attacking third may prove the difference in a tightly fought contest; but it's just too tight to call.


Prediction: Stoke City 1-1 Leicester City

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