Leicester City 1:1 Stoke City
A poor performance from City saw them emerge with a point from a scrappy game against Stoke at the KPS on Saturday…
Claude Puel made two changes to his side with James and Albrighton in for Iborra and Iheanacho.
City enjoyed a start as bright as the weather in an early spell that saw them force three corners, before Mahrez cut inside and curled a shot just wide of the left hand post.
But the game soon descended into a midfield scrap, punctuated frequently by free kicks.
The 17th minute brought a rare moment of quality when a Mahrez turn left two Stoke defenders looking bewildered, but the visitors were defending very deeply and snuffed out the attacking move.
Diouf was then booked for a clattering challenge on Mahrez as City struggled to turn possession into chances against a red and white striped wall.
After Shaqiri mis-hit a free kick on the half hour City broke upfield, but Mahrez missed the target again from another cut-in and shot.
Everything was going through Mahrez at this point, but it was a little too predictable and Stoke were defending solidly.
The game appeared to be drifting towards a goalless scoreline at the break, when Stoke took a 44th minute lead.
Shaqiri took a pass from Allen, 40 yards out, and was given far too much room to charge forward, lining up a low shot to Schmeichel’s left that gave the keeper no chance.
The goal came after Ndidi had needlessly lost possession, something that had happened far too often for City in the half.
City pressed forward early in the second half and Albrighton had a shot blocked by Martins Indi. But too often City resorted to high balls into the box that were gobbled up by the Stoke defence.
City almost fell further behind in the 56th minute when Schmeichel collected a ball out by the touchline, but fluffed his clearance upfield. Allen fed Shaqiri who attempted a 40 yard shot with Schmeichel still racing back towards goal, but missed by a couple of yards.
Claude Puel made a couple of changes just after the hour, with Diabaté on for Gray and Iheanacho on for Simpson as City converted to three at the back.
Stoke boss Paul Lambert then had to make a change of his own, swapping his blue top for a white one after Schmeichel complained that it was clashing with the City shirts.
City then enjoyed a big slice of fortune, equalising in the 70th minute. A fine pass from Mahrez sent Albrighton in down the right and he belted a cross over. Butland, possibly distracted by Vardy flashing across his eyeline, failed to gather at the near post and the ball bounced off his arm and into the net.
Butland made amends seven minutes later when a corner was headed clear to Mahrez on the edge of the area. His well struck shot was brilliantly saved by the Stoke keeper.
City threatened again soon after this, when Maguire burst into the area, rounded his marker and fired in a shot that Butland touched onto the near post.
With time running out City hit the woodwork again. A wayward header from Adam sent Mahrez in on goal, but he hesitated with his shot allowing a combination of Butland and Zouma to clear for a corner.
From the short flag-kick Albrighton’s cross was headed against the post by James, with Stoke eventually able to clear from the resulting goal-mouth scramble.
That was City’s last chance, and in truth neither side had done enough to earn three points.
Claude Puel admitted: “Not enough to win today. We could have, but we could also have lost – so perhaps a draw is fair. Their goalkeeper made some good saves, but we also conceded chances.”
Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, (Iheanacho 62), Morgan, Maguire, Chilwell, Ndidi, James, Mahrez, Gray (Diabaté 61), Albrighton, Vardy.
Substitutes: Silva, Dragovic, Jakupovic, Iborra, Fuchs.
Stoke: Butland, Bauer, Zouma, Martins Indi (Adam 74), Stafylidis, Cameron, Shaqiri, Allen, Ndiaye, Choupo-Moting (Johnson 84), Diouf (Campbell 64).
Substitutes: Pieters, Jesé, Sobhi, Grant.
Referee: M Oliver. Attendance: 31,769.
PHOTOS: Simon Kimber.
We are producing a Limited Edition (75) print of the FiftySomething strip from The FOX Summer Special 2016 – celebrating City’s Premier League title win.
The A3 sized print will be available from next Thursday (25th Jan) , but you can pre-order one now.
They will be posted to you rolled in a cardboard tube.
The prints cost £6.50 and post & packing is £3.45. (UK only)
You can pay online via Paypal HERE