Simon Mail previews the televised clash at Stoke where he thinks Leicester can continue their promising start under new boss Claude Puel...
"Leicester have won their last three games in all competitions and the side have lost just one of their last eight matches. The Foxes are up into mid-table and with players such as Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez still at the club there is every chance of a top-half finish this season."
Stoke v Leicester
Live on Sky Sports Premier League
Stoke struggling for consistency
It has been a tough start to the season for Stoke City although Mark Hughes' side claimed a much-needed 1-0 win at Watford last weekend. The Potters adopted a defensive gameplan which paid off at Vicarage Road with Darren Fletcher's first-half strike separating the sides. But it was only Stoke's third victory of the Premier League season and the side are only three points above the relegation zone in 14th place.
Hughes will point towards a tough fixture list in the opening months of the campaign, as they were thumped 7-2 at leaders Manchester City recently, but their inconsistency has been a frustration for supporters having managed to take four points off Arsenal and Manchester United. Their last home game resulted in a 2-1 defeat to struggling Bournemouth and the pressure will be back on Stoke if they slip up again this weekend against Leicester.
Puel off to promising start with Foxes
New Leicester boss Claude Puel enjoyed an excellent first game in charge after steering the side to a comfortable 2-0 home win over Everton last weekend. The former Southampton manager only lasted a season with the Saints despite guiding them to eighth place and the League Cup final. The Foxes moved quickly for him to replace Craig Shakespeare and the Frenchman has plenty in his favour moving forward.
Leicester have won their last three games in all competitions and the side have lost just one of their last eight matches. The Foxes are up into mid-table and with players such as Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez still at the club there is every chance of a top-half finish this season. Puel made a promising start at the King Power Stadium and a reasonable fixture list over the coming weeks suggests more progress is possible.
Stoke are considered favourites for this game and are trading at around [2.64] but this does not appeal at all. The hosts are difficult to trust and have gone four games without beating Leicester. Their last three home clashes against the Foxes have also resulted in just two points for them so this is a fixture which has proved troublesome. It is too early to get carried away by their win at Watford and their overall form suggests the price is too short on a Stoke win.
Leicester come in off a winning run and there is much more interest in backing the visitors to prevail at [3.0]. The Foxes have the momentum of a new manager on their side and have won two of the last three meetings between the teams. With confidence high, having only lost to Arsenal and Manchester United away this season, Leicester are a tempting bet to win at Stoke.
The draw is available at [3.45] and this is also worth strong consideration. The last two clashes at Stoke between the sides have ended level so the two sides could easily cancel each other out. Both games finished 2-2 and this scoreline can be backed at [15.5]. Another draw would be no surprise but Stoke have not been held in their last seven games.
Leicester look worth backing for this game but it could be worth taking the safety net of draw no bet. As mentioned, this fixture has produced a number of draws in recent years so it certainly cannot be ruled out. The visitors can be supported at [2.12] in this market with money back if it is a draw and this looks a strong wager.
Vardy has found the net in three of his last four Premier League appearances against Stoke. The Leicester striker can be backed at [2.48] to add to this tally in the televised clash.
Bobby Madley takes charge of this weekend's clash and the referee has sent off four players in nine matches this season. He has also dished out 39 yellow cards in this campaign including six in Southampton's win at Crystal Palace.
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Simon Mail's 2017/18 Season P/L