The first of six Premier League matches this weekend takes us to the Bet365 Stadium as Stoke play host to Leicester in the lunchtime kickoff. Both teams picked up very welcome wins last weekend as they managed to put some daylight between themselves and the bottom three.
And they will look to continue their rise up the table by getting some more points on the board in just a few hours time, for Leicester boss Claude Puel he got his stint in charge of the Foxes off to the perfect start last Sunday with a well earned win over Everton.
Demarai Gray was instrumental in that win and in the week he has finally to put to bed any rumours about his long term future as he signed a new contract with the 2015/16 Premier League champions, Gray did not get as much playing time as he would have liked under previous bosses but the hope will be that things finally change under Puel.
Claude Puel will no doubt want to continue the 100 percent record that he currently as Leicester boss and they travel to Stoke in preparation to face a team that came away from Vicarage Road with all three points thanks to Darren Fletcher’s first half strike.
That goal sees Mark Hughes’ men move up to the relative safety of 14th in the table but they cannot afford to rest on their laurels as it only takes a couple of defeats in a row and you can be sucked back into the struggle below, it may be too early to talk about relegation dogfights but Stoke will not want to be looking over their shoulders.
A win however could see them move into the top half of the table depending on how other results pan out, it would certainly take them above Leicester who currently find themselves in 11th. A win for the East Midlands outfit away from home could see them move up to 8th, once again depending on results.
Leicester already looked rejuvinated with a change of manager but Claude Puel has to make sure that the result was not just a flash in the pan and one in isolation, he needs to build momentum and like Stoke make sure they continue their rise up the table.
It is fair to say that there are teams with lesser quality in the Premier League this season and you would not necessarily put these teams in your three to go down but you could also that from 8th to 20th everyone is all a much of a muchness and it is only wins that will pull you out of the group of teams looking to keep their heads above water.
Leicester travel to Stoke with the record of scoring the most goals of all the teams in the bottom half of the table, unfortunately for them they have conceded just as many as they have scored with 14 goals at either end, you could also say that they have a reliance on Jamie Vardy and Shinji Okazaki.
Of the 14 goals that Leicester have scored this season, Jamie Vardy and Shinji Okazaki have a combined contribution of 10. This means the two of them have scored 71% of their club’s top flight goals this season but it has got them to 11th in the table as of now so maybe that reliance is not something that they should complain to much.
As for the result Stoke will have a slight edge what with being at home but Leicester will still be riding the wave of Claude Puel’s arrival and I have a feeling that their additional goal threat will be the difference to see them earn all three points. An away win for me.
Here is what social media thinks will happen
Time for some weekend scientific polls now
— Dan Tracey (@dantracey1983) November 4, 2017