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Leicester sink Stoke with two wonder strikes

Leicester City 2:0 Stoke City

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City continued their winning run, with a comfortable 2-0 win against Stoke at the KPS on Saturday…

Craig Shakespeare made one change to his line-up, with Albrighton feeling unwell and making way for Gray.
The game kicked off in misty conditions after the Chairman’s birthday fireworks and after an attacking start from Stoke, City soon got into their stride and were looking threatening going forward.
Mahrez launched a free-kick into the area, and after some pinball in the box, Benalouane failed to get a clean strike when well placed.
Gray then went on a run across the 18 yard line but was eventually crowded out by the Stoke defence.
In the 16th minute Gray went on the charge again, down the left, but was cynically felled by Shawcross who recieved a yellow card. Gray looked to be hurt and shaken by the late challenge, but soon recovered.
Fuchs delivered the free kick, but Huth’s header was cleared off the line and Vardy couldn’t quite reach the rebound.

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After a Stoke corner City broke upfield and Gray fired a 20 yarder inches wide of the left hand post, but the opening goal arrived in the 26th minute.
Ndidi ran onto a ball from Simpson, took a touch into space, and then launched a superb 25 yarder into the top right hand corner,  giving Grant no chance.

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City continued to attack and Whelan was the second Stoke man in Lee Mason notebook for a foul on Gray. Mahrez’s volley from Fuchs’ free kick was blocked, before Stoke had a rare chance when Arnautovic’s shot on the turn found the side-netting.
City couldn’t add to their tally before the break: a Gray shot was deflected wide, Okazaki’s overhead kick went narrowly over the bar, and a fine shot on the run from Mahrez was brilliantly tipped round the post by Grant.

But City doubled their lead just two minutes into the second half.
Gray reached a dead end down the right and fed the ball back to Simpson who chipped a well-measured cross into the area. Vardy nipped ahead of Johnson and lashed a fierce volley home from 10 yards.

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City pressed on looking for a third goal. Fuchs forced a good save from Grant, and Okazaki was also denied by the Stoke keeper from close range.
Grant’s busy afternoon continued… Vardy made swift progress down the left, evading two defenders to get a low cross in for Mahrez, who sent his close range effort straight at Grant. Mahrez retrieved the ball, and fired in another shot which Grant also blocked.
The visitors then had their best spell of the afternoon as they desperately tried to find a way back into the game. Subsititute Crouch sent an effort wide, before Arnautovic netted but was harshly judged to have been offside. His glare at the linesman would have turned milk.
Shakespeare used his allocation of subs in the final fifteen minutes, with Amartey, Slimani and Chilwell coming on for Okazaki, Vardy and Gray.
Grant pulled off further saves to deny Gray and Mahrez, before Crouch wasted a great chance, heading over from close in.
The final whistle saw Craig Shakepeare setting a record – the first British manager to win his first four Premier League games, while City climbed up to 13th place.

Shakespeare, who joined a club comprising off  Jose Mourinho, Guus Hiddink, Carlo Ancelotti, Pep Guardiola, commented: “Sometimes have to pinch yourself in terms of the names being mentioned. I’m at a very early stage in my management career but to be mentioned in the same breath of them makes me very proud. I realise there’s a lot people to thank along the way, in terms of my previous managers when I’ve been an assistant, but also the players. Confidence is a big thing and we’ve managed to keep the run going. We’re still not safe.”

Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Benalouane, Huth, Fuchs, Mahrez, Drinkwater, Ndidi, Gray (Chilwell 87), Okazaki (Amartey 73), Vardy (Slimani 81). Subs Not Used: Musa, King, Zieler, Ulloa.
Stoke: Grant, Johnson, Shawcross, Martins Indi, Pieters, Arnautovic, Allen, Whelan (Adam 70), Sobhi, Walters (Crouch 54), Berahino (Diouf 70). Subs Not Used: Muniesa, Afellay, Imbula, Given.

Referee: L Mason. Attendance: 31,958. 

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Ten man Leicester make their point at Stoke

Stoke City 2:2 Leicester City

1617-stoke-away-a

Despite some harsh decisions from referee Craig Pawson, City battled their way to a glorious point at Stoke on Saturday with a late equaliser form Daniel Amartey.

Claudio Ranieri made two changes to his side, with Schmeichel back from injury and Simpson returning from suspension.
Schmeichel was soon in action as Stoke enjoyed a good opening spell and the Danish keeper did well to block a Walters effort from close in with his leg.
There was another good save at the other end as Grant tipped a looping header from Huth over the bar at full stretch.
Grant was called into further action saving a low shot from Slimani and a deflected effort from Vardy, before a fierce Fuchs volley was blocked.
City had their tails up now, but events were about to take a turn.
Just before the half hour, Vardy was shoved over by Johnson as went in for a challenge on  Diouf. He won the ball as he went down, but referee Craig Pawson very harshly judged it to be dangerous play and wielded the red card.

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Ten man City were on the back foot for the remainder of the half and Pawson helped them with their breakthrough in the 39th minute.
As Simpson slid in to try and block a cross from Bojan the ball struck his right hand. Another harsh judgement saw Pawson pointing to the spot, before booking Simpson for something he couldn’t do anything about.
Bojan blasted the spot-kick past Schmeichel to give City an uphill task.
Things were to get worse before half time. Pawson developed Yellow Fever and now every Leicester foul was a booking. King, Slimani, Fuchs and Albrighton all followed Simpson into the book in a surreal spell, and then Stoke grabbed a second with almost the last kick of the half. Imbula crashed a shot against the right hand post, the ball rebounded off Schmeichel and Allen was presented with a tap in.
It was now surely a damage limitataion exercise, as the City players, and even Claudio Ranieri, raged at Pawson as the sides left the field.

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Fortunately, City managed to channel their anger into something much better.
Stoke came out looking for a third that would see City dead and buried, but Schmeichel produced a brilliant save to deny Walters’ firm header from 8 yards and Morgan got a good block on a Pieters volley.
Ranieri made his first changes in the 72nd minute, bringing on Gray and Ulloa for Albrighton and Slimani, and it had an instant effect. within two minutes Gray delivered a fine cross from the right and Ulloa rose at the far post to nod it over line. Although it had been cleared by Shawcross, goal line technology soon confirmed that the ten men were back in the game.
Gray then attacked down the left flank, cut in and fired in what was an on target effort before it was deflected over the bar.
City continued to press forward, determined to get a point, and it arrived with two minutes remaining. Fuchs swung a ball into the box and Amartey rose above the Stoke defence to nod home his first goal for the club, sparking riotous scenes of celebration in the away section.

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In injury time Whelan blasted a 20 yard shot goalwards, but Schmeichel was equal to it, and the ref’s whistle heralded a famous point for City.

They had reacted brilliantly to the car crash of a first half, and although they will be left to count the cost of suspensions, this could prove to be a turning point in the season.

Claudio Ranieri revealed:“During half time we spoke a lot and we continued to believe that something would be possible. They made a fantastic performance.”

Stoke: Grant, Johnson, Shawcross, Martins Indi, Diouf, Whelan (Ramadan 90), Imbula, Pieters, Allen, Bojan (Adam 83), Walters. Subs Not Used: Given, Bony, Shaqiri, Crouch, Ngoy.
Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan, Huth, Fuchs, King, Amartey, Mahrez (Musa 80), Albrighton (Gray 72), Slimani (Ulloa 72), Vardy. Subs Not Used: Zieler, Chilwell, Mendy, Okazaki.

Referee: C Pawson. Attendance: 27,663.

PHOTOS: Simon Kimber. 
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Leicester dismiss the doubters with a fine victory

Leicester City 3:0 Stoke City

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City emphatically ended their slight mid-season wobble and took a big stride in their Premier League title bid with a magnificent 3-0 win over Stoke City in front of an adoring KPS. Equally as significant, Jamie Vardy proved he has fully recovered from his groin operation with a quality strike with the game still in the balance against a very well-organised opposition.
There were no surprises in Claudio Ranieri’s team selection with the first-choice eleven restored after the FA Cup distraction. Chances were few and far between in the opening quarter-of-an-hour with a deep-lying Stoke defence preventing City making any attacking impact and their tall back-line snuffing out any aerial challenge.
Stoke were first to attack when Walters went through but was thwarted by Morgan and an on-rushing Schmeichel.
City characteristically broke up-field with Mahrez, Albrighton whipped in a fine low cross and a crisp Vardy shot was saved by Butland.
Mahrez almost opened the scoring from the resulting corner but his spectacular bicycle kick was narrowly wide.
One of City’s unsung heroes Danny Simpson had to be alert to divert a Shaqiri cross with Diouf waiting to finish before another, Drinkwater, opened the scoring on 42 minutes. Stoke only half-cleared an Albrighton corner and the ball fell to Drinkwater 20 yards out. His fierce low shot, that took a slight deflection past Buland, made many a City fan’s cup of tea taste that little bit sweeter at half-time.
Incredibly it was City’s first goal of the season from outside the box.

Like the first-half, the second started slowly until the game burst into life when Schmeichel punched away a Joselu header. |
Then, on 66 minutes came the moment that Vardy and all City fans had long been waiting for, 10 hours and 17 minutes to be precise.

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A delightful lofted pass from Man of the Match Drinkwater fell just over Vardy’s shoulder, and he expertly took the ball around the keeper with his first touch and slotted home from a narrow angle to produce the biggest cheer of the afternoon.
Vardy almost got his second after being set up by Kante who danced though three tackles and fed Vardy, only to be denied by a last-ditch tackle. Vardy’s animated applause of the imperious Frenchman was echoed by all.
City were now in full flow and had categorically banished any pessimism after only one league win in the previous four weeks and the fervour in the stands transferred itself onto the pitch and onto Mahrez in particular.
A goal for the re-energised Algerian, who was now running at Stoke defenders at will, would have been the icing on the cake. However, he had to do with assist, but with a piece of trickery that will be doing the rounds on YouTube for many a year and presumably have the unwitting Stoke defender having nightmares for just as long.

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With three minutes remaining, a terrific move was started by a Schmeichel kick, headed on by substitute Ulloa to Vardy who fed Mahrez 15 yards out. With a deft piece of skill, Mahrez sold a dummy and nutmegged Wollscheid in one move and the cross-cum-shot was netted by a grateful Ulloa, another badly in need of a goal.
Opinion was divided if it was a ‘flip-flap’, an ‘elastico’ or a regulation nutmeg, but it was glorious.
The sea of smiling faces on the walk back to car after the game summed up perfectly the mood of the city and things would only get better as the weekend progressed. Ranieri’s beautiful use of the English language was again demonstrated in his post-match comments.
On Vardy’s first goal in seven games the Italian said: “Jamie I tell every day it is not important, although I know goals for the strikers is important and maybe now he has more confidence, and when I speak with him I say it is important you continue to work hard because you are the main man and if you start to press then everyone follows. Then sooner or later you score a goal, I tell him this. You have to work and make it happen and then the goal will arrive.”
Ranieri recognised that City are in a privileged position with no further involvement in any cup competitions. “Now the players will have three days off, to clear the minds. And when they come back we restart to work hard because the league for us is very exciting. We made a fantastic performance and I am very pleased with my players.”
With their rivals slipping up, City finished the weekend in first place, three points ahead of Arsenal and Manchester City. With no cups to act as distractions, minimum injury worries and generous owners, surely there will never be a better chance for City to go and do something special?

Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan, Huth, Fuchs, Mahrez, Kanté, Drinkwater, Albrighton (Gray 88), Okazaki (Ulloa 62), Vardy. Subs Not Used: Schwarzer, Wasilewski, Inler, King, Dyer.
Stoke: Butland, Johnson, Pieters, Shawcross (Wilson 30), Wollscheid, Whelan, Afellay, Diouf (Odemwingie 71), Shaqiri (Crouch 79), Joselu, Walters. Subs Not Used: Van Ginkel, Adam, Bojan, Haugaard.

Referee: M Dean. Attendance: 32,018.

WORDS: Rob Coe. PHOTOS: Simon Kimber.

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The Huth – You Can’t Handle the Huth

Good news from the KPS this evening – Leicester City have secured last season’s loan signing Robert Huth on a permanent three year deal…

Leicester City v Queens Park Rangers, Barclays Premier, 24  May 2015

The big German central-defender played a huge role in City’s turn-around in fortunes towards the end of last season as the club pulled off an unprecedented escape from a seemingly hopeless bottom place in the Premier League.
He was a solid presence in the heart of the defence after his arrival in January, and his domination in the air cut off the supply line of balls into the penalty area that had previously been so damaging to City



City fans will be delighted at this signing – and now all eyes will be on Esteban Cambiasso in the hope that he will follow suit…

PHOTOS: Simon Kimber

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Leicester Rule at the Britannia

Stoke City 0:1 Leicester City
Stoke City v Leicester City, Barclays Premiership, 13 Sept 2014,
City’s first win of the season arrived on Saturday thanks to a second half Ulloa goal at the Britannia Stadium against Stoke…Nigel Pearson made one change to the side that drew with Arsenal, and that was enforced, with Schmiechel picking up a knee injury while playing for Denmark, Ben Hamer made his League debut.

Stoke had the better of the opening spell and Nzonzi made impressive progress down the middle before sending his shot wide.
In the 17th minute Crouch should have done better with a glancing header from a Moses corner that missed the target from 10 yards.
Walters was next to threaten for the Potters, but didn’t connect with his shot allowing Hamer a comfortable save.

Stoke City v Leicester City, Barclays Premiership, 13 Sept 2014,

In a rare chance for City King sent a long-range effort narrowly wide, but Stoke were soon threatening again and Crouch sent an acrobatic volley just over the right hand angle.
Further chances for Shawcross and N’Zonzi were thwarted and City were probably more relieved to hear the half time whistle than their hosts.

Nigel Pearson had a reshuffle at the break and Drinkwater and Cambiasso emerged from the tunnel for the second half, replacing Mahrez and King.
Although Moses wasted a good early chance for Stoke, blazing over when well-placed, it was a much improved Leicester performance, with Cambiasso the  architect of some great moves.

Stoke City v Leicester City, Barclays Premiership, 13 Sept 2014,
And it was the visitors who delighted their followers with a 65th minute opener.
Ulloa retained the ball in a crowded situation and fed it to Konchesky down the left, his low cross reached Ulloa at the far post, and he somehow reached back to the ball a yard behind him and clipped it into the net.
City had 25 minutes to hold on to a precious lead, and that is what they did.
Stoke City v Leicester City, Barclays Premiership, 13 Sept 2014,
De Laet blocked a N’Zonzi’s shot, before Hammond almost made it 2-0 with a low 20 yarder that went two inches wide of the left hand upright.
Hammond then couldn’t quite direct his header from a beautifully delivered Cambiasso free-kick.
A great run from Moore, ended with Ulloa sending De Laet in on goal but he couldn’t keep his shot down.
As Stoke grew more desperate the pressure ramped up and Hamer  twice preserved City’s lead – parrying a fierce Diouf shot and then blocking a point blank effort from the same player during a late scramble.
City were not to be denied their first Premier League win since May 2004 however, and this well-fought victory saw them reach the top half of the table.
Stoke City v Leicester City, Barclays Premiership, 13 Sept 2014,
Stoke: Begovic, Bardsley, Pieters (Muniesa 84), Shawcross, Wilson, Whelan, N’Zonzi, Moses, Bojan (Diouf 74), Walters (Assaidi 82), Crouch. Subs: Sorensen, Huth, Arnautovic, Adam.
Leicester: Hamer, De Laet, Morgan, Moore, Konchesky, Mahrez (Drinkwater 46), Hammond, King (Cambiasso 46), Schlupp (Vardy 76), Ulloa, Nugent. Subs: Smith, Wasilewski, Knockaert, Wood.Referee: Michael Oliver. Attendance: 27,500.

All photos: Simon Kimber.

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Stoke force Leicester to concentrate on the League

Stoke City 2:1 Leicester City 1314 stoke away b City fell at the first in this year’s FA Cup competition, with a below par display never really testing Premier League Stoke at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday. Vardy, De Laet, Konchesky, James and Schlupp all returned to the side and over 4,000 travelling City fans witnessed a tight and cagey opening. Stoke’s first chance saw a Arnautovic cross finding the head of Jones after 12 minutes, but he connected poorly with City’s back line looking a little stretched. Knockaert then forced a save from Butland, before a major let off at the other end when Miquel somehow managed to block an Adam drive on the line with his heel. 1314 stoke away c It was only a temporary reprieve however, in the 16th minute a precise Assaidi cross from the right presented Jones with another chance which he nodded past Schmeichel for the opener. City attempted to get back into the game for the rest of the half, but made little impression against a big and strong side who rarely gave away possession, unlike their Championship opponents. An off-target Schlupp shot was the best attempt, and the half ended in a fractious mood. Jones headed another Assaidi cross wide and then his frustration led to a row with Miquel as the teams headed for the tunnel. 1314 stoke away a Six minutes into the second half Schmeichel managed to fingertip another Jones header against the post, but it wasn’t long before Stoke extended their lead. After Schlupp had curled a decent effort onto the roof of Butland’s net, the Potters broke swiftly and Adam fired a swerving 25 yarder in off the post. In the 68th minute Nigel Pearson brought Nugent and Dyer on for Schlupp and King and City enjoyed their best spell of the game.
A Konchesky cross was met by the head of Nugent, but Butland pulled off a flying save to tip it over the bar.
Presented with a similar chance from a Wasilewski cross moments later, Nugent gave Butland no chance, powering a header home before grabbing the ball from the net and racing back upfield.
Roared on by the City fans behind the goal, City’s response was perhaps a little too frantic, with the last ball going astray too often for a good spell of pressure to build up.
A Knockaert free-kick flying narrowly over was the best chance before the ref’s whistle blew, leaving City to concentrate on priority number one… promotion.

Stoke: Butland, Cameron, Shawcross, Wilson, Pieters, Arnautovic, Nzonzi, Adam, Whelan, Assaidi (Walters 80), Jones. Subs Not Used: Bachmann, Muniesa, Palacios, Walters, Crouch, Etherington, Shotton.
Leicester: Schmeichel, De Laet, Miquel, Wasilewski, Konchesky, James, King (Dyer 68), Hammond, Knockaert, Vardy (Waghorn 80), Schlupp (Nugent 68). Subs Not Used: Morgan, Moore, Bakayogo, Logan.

Referee: Lee Probert. Attendance: 16, 844.

All photos: Simon Kimber

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Ben Marshall departs for Ewood Park

Leicester’s forgotten man Ben Marshall has moved to Blackburn Rovers in a £750,000 deal.

ben marshall exit

The 21-year-old, who joined City from Stoke in January 2012, has signed a four-year contract with Blackburn Rovers after City agreed an undisclosed fee for his sale, believed to be around £750,000, possibly rising to £1 million.

Although Marshall made a big impact with a series of spectacular goals, quickly earning him his own song among City fans, his form faded towards the end of 2012-13 and he has not featured in the first team this season.

He leaves City with stats of 9 goals in 61 games – better than most who have passed through in recent years…

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