Both sides have had great results against much more fancied sides already with The Potters beating Manchester City 1-0 – at The Etihad no less – whereas Leicester have already banked creditable draws against Everton, on the opening day of the new season, and Arsenal.
It cannot be underestimated how difficult Leicester’s start to the season has been with matches already played against Everton, Chelsea away and Arsenal – with Arsenal failing, like Everton, to take full points from Leicester. In comparison, Stoke have had a slightly more favourable start with games against Hull and Aston Villa at the Britannia, however, Mark Hughes’ players have gathered only two more points than Leicester so the Foxes should be taken as seriously as Man City were before the international break.
Stoke City have just three injuries to contend with at this moment in time, with Stephen Ireland the player who looks to be closest to full fitness. The Irish midfielder is in contention to make some sort of appearance this weekend after his rib injury. Longer term injury news comes in the form of Peter Odemwingie (ACL) and Geoff Cameron (groin) who are both out for the foreseeable future.
Leicester are also in decent shape with just the two injuries hampering their squad. Centre-back Matthew Upson is definitely missing with an ankle injury whilst Matty James is a slight doubt with an injured calf.
- These two sides have never met in the Premier League – the last three matches between the two sides came in the Championship and the FA Cup with two league draws and a Stoke City FA Cup victory.
- In all competitions, the record between these two teams is very close. Stoke have won 32 compared to Leicester’s 30 and the two have drawn a further 31 times.
- Stoke have been the most creative of the two sides with nine chances created per 90 minutes compared to Leicester’s average of seven.
- Stoke have also taken more shots per game than Leicester – 12.67 vs 8.67. However, Leicester have been much more accurate with their shooting with 53% of their efforts hitting the target compared to Stoke’s paltry 27%.
- In keeping with their reputation as a tough team, Stoke have won 53.22% of their total duels whereas Leicester have won just 40.93%, perhaps as they are yet to fully adapt to the Premier League after promotion last season.
It’s probably safe to say that Bojan’s career has not panned out how he would have wanted it to so far. From being Barcelona’s next young star, the Spanish international has been wandering Europe looking to reignite his drive. A spell at AS Roma yielded seven league goals from 33 appearances but that’s about as good as it has been for the fallen prodigy. Having now left Barcelona for the second time, the Spaniard of Serbian descent is desperate to put his career back onto the right path but has yet to find his feet during these early stages of the new season. So far, Bojan is yet to score for Stoke in 140 minutes of game time, admittedly not a lot, and has seen himself overshadowed by the form of Mame Biram Diouf who scored that spectacular individual goal to beat Manchester City at the Etihad.
Bojan has been somewhat creative so far and has shown some intelligent touches to compliment his movement off the ball. The former Milan man has created just over one chance every 180 minutes so far, which could obviously be improved upon and it will improve once he learns the subtleties of his new teammates. Bojan has also done okay in his duels thus far by winning almost 22% of them. Not famed for his tough nature, if Bojan could just raise this figure a little more he could find his feet a little quicker at his new club.
What a start it’s been for Leicester’s Leonardo Ulloa. Having scored 23 goals in 50 league games for Brighton, the Argentine has earned a move to Premier League Leicester and has lived up to the billing as a solid creative player. Ulloa has already managed to net twice for the Foxes this season with goals against Arsenal and Everton, which helped to earn the club two excellent draws.
Ulloa is also upstaging Stoke frontman Bojan in the creative department with the 28 year old creating 0.76 chances per game compared to Bojan’s 0.64. He is also dominating the Spaniard in the total duels won category too with 25.81% of his total duels ending with him the victorious party.
If Ulloa can continue firing for Leicester then safety shouldn’t be beyond their grasp as we already know the team is a decent outfit after these early results – plus the fact they won the Championship last season which is a great achievement in itself.
Betting and Prediction
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My prediction for this game is a score draw because Leicester’s great start to the season against difficult opponents will see their tails well and truly up despite the tough trip to the Britannia Stadium. I reckon 1-1 will just about do it.